Wednesday, March 28, 2007

From Pete: "I may joke around ... but I'm really in pain."

Thanks, Pete, for sharing your story. He is thinking about getting Botox treatments, but at $1,200 every six months, it's really a blow to the wallet -- and for many people, simply not within their means. But the cost of not treating the HH is even higher.

Now my rant: Why are dermatologists not offering iontophoresis, a non-invasive highly effective treatment option when used correctly and with the right equipment? Kudos to the International Hyperhidrosis Society for offering a $25 discount on R.A. Fischer iontophoresis units. You must have a prescription from your doctor, however.


Now, Pete's story:
I dont know where to start. Since 13 I have had hyperhidrosis on the palms. In social situations, you can shake my hand and get drenched. I wore a T-Shirt the other day that said "Bring Soap" on one side. The other side said "FREE SHOWERS". I amused myself in many ways but I try many ways to escape social situations by avoiding meeting people, going to parties and get-togethers. I will only go when I can't help it. The worst is that I'm in sales and run my own business. I'm always wiping my hands. I like meeting people outside when it's cold because palm sweat is less but meetings are held outside, I wish they were.

I may joke around writing this but I'm really in pain, hurt and sadness. I feel like I'm closing up to the world.


Sam said...

I know it can get really hard in social situations (I've been--and still am-- going through all that anxiety), but look at things in retrospect: you feel like you may be closing up in the world, but it sure doesn't seem that way. You run your own business, you continue to interact with people... that doesn't seem to be any where near "closing up"!

If someone negatively judges you because of your sweaty hands, his/her judgment means absolutely nothing. That person knows nothing about you and the kind of person you are. The fact that they are judging shows something about THEM-- that they are ignorant. Are those the kind of people you want to associate with?

Don't give up. I understand it can get really hard at times, but things could be worse. Remember that there are people out here (including myself) that can totally relate to your situation. You're not alone and there are people that care.

I wish you the best of luck and the same to all my fellow HH endowed!

"I gotta keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows that the tide could bring?"
-from the movie, Cast Away

Anonymous said...

I'm 36 years old now. I've been a HH sufferer for probably 25 years. Two years ago, I started on a quest to find a solution to this daily problem.

Topical treatments didn't work. Beta blockers didn't work for more than a week (a pill that dries your system out). I didn't like the notion of the frequency of needles for Botox.

I was almost going to have ETS until I googled the doctor + malpractice and it opened up a whole world of blogs and links that I had missed before. I canceled my flight and appointment (even though insurance was going to pay for the $7K USD procedure.

Too many people regreted their decision to do the ETS procedure:

So, I got insurance to cover Botox attempts. And it did have circles of dryness on my hands. Problem is, that it would take about 50 injections per hand to give sufficient coverage (if you submerge your hand in water about halfway, that is the required treatment area: huge!)...and it only lasted about 2 months for me. Not to mention the icing of the hands before and the needle injections all lead to a painful 30 minutes.

Since I also suffer from sweaty feet, I knew I needed another solution.

So I wrote another letter to the insurance company's pre-approval department to get coverage for an Iontophoresis unit for home use (I was not going to sit in the docs office for all those sessions!).

Now, not all Iontophoresis devices are created equal. Having very large treatment areas on both my hands and feet, I needed a device that I could submerge as much of the treatment areas in water as possible. Fortunately, there is a manufacturer that has the right device:

At about $650 USD for infinite, repeat uses, it is pretty cheap.

The way it works, is you put one foot and the alternate hand in plastic trays full of tap water. Living in Colorado, there are minerals in my water, so I don't need to add anything else.

I sit down to watch TV to pass the time while I do treatments. It's all done in 40 minutes plus about 10 minutes of setup and put away time.

There is a little stinging initially and you can feel the electricity pulsing through your hand and lower arm. After a minute or two, it settles down. Sometimes if you put your fingers too close to the electrical connector, it can sting your fingers more. Its a balance, since the closer to the electricity, the more effective. Since I can't get my entire foot submerged, I wear a cotton sock and pour water on it from above the ankle on down. The electricity will conduct to the wet parts of the sock that are above the water line. My foot surface area that needs treatment goes above the ankle bones. I generally have to wear socks all the time because the touch of smooth fabrics cause immediate sweaty feet (and by proxy, sweaty hands).

The results: WOW. After 25 years, I finally have dry hands AND feet. I can get home from work and pull my socks off from the tips with one simple pull -- those of you who know what I'm talking about should be amazed.

My keyboard at work isn't crusted in dried saltly sweat. My palm rest for my keyboard isn't wet (just try having someone 'show you something' using your keyboard and you freak out because you know what is coming next.

Dryness begets confidence which reinforces the dryness.

Effectiveness: I would say, probably 90% for the hands and 100% for the feet. I took a web-based exam yesterday at my desk and had slight sweat on parts of my palm and a finger or two. But, I've been experimenting with how long to go in between treatments and it had been three days. I'm about 1 month into the treatments and have performed them mostly every other day with about three times where I stretched it out to two and three days in between.

Side Effects: you hands and feet are DRY. I have to put moisturizer on them a couple of times a week (of course, this is the dry part of Colorado). One thing I noticed: how dry your feet are affects how try your hands are. Kind of weird, but one day I put some high powered moisturizer on my feet before going to work. My feet essentially 'felt' sweaty and it reduced the effective dryness of my hands. I went home, washed my feet, put some new socks on, and my hands were fine after that. Following that episode, I only use the high powered moisturizer when I'm sleeping (I put socks and cotton gloves on to not put the moisurizer oils on the sheets. But I only have done this a couple of times so far. Just wash off any excess in the morning.

Some people complain that it is too much work. Dude. This is nothing compared to the emotional stress that we've all endured with this condition.

I still cannot believe that such an easy solution has such a large success rate. I would have considered my HH severe (although I have no skin peeling like some of the pictures I've seen).

You all know what job interviews are like and when the 'big boss' comes by and you need to shake some more hands! Ugh!

Well let me tell you: Last week, we entertained about a dozen people who report to the heads of government Cabinet level posts. Really BIG wigs...and I found out that I had to present. Without the Iontophoresis treatments, I would have been in deep water -- heh, no need to dwell on that pun!

Like a champ, the hands and feet were awesome! Only a *slight* dampness on parts of a hand, but so little that it evaporated quickly.

Now I'm gearing up for likely promotion interviews as the new contract is going to be announced soon and I'm gunning for it with confidence and dryness!

Try it. It works like no other treatment.

-- Rocky Mountain High

Tiara said...

Hi, thanks so much for your comments about the iontophoresis. I am happy that you were able to find a non-surgical solution to your HH!

Can you please give us some more details about how you got the iontophoresis treatment? My problem is that I can't find a doctor who prescribes it and would get me started. All of the dermatologists in my city (a large metropolitan area nonetheless) offer Botox but not iontophoresis.

Specifically, can you give us:
1) more details on how you got the insurance coverage
2) what kind of doctor did you get the prescription from?
3) did the doctor train you in how to use it?

Thanks so much--really helpful comments!


Kaya said...

Hi, My name is Jahkaya. Im currently in 9th grade going to 10th inn 14. I've found out I've been diagnosed with hyperhidrosis when I was in 6th grade age 11. I didn't really care in 6th grade because I thought it was normal so I got to 7th and 8th and saw I would have large pit stains and I sweated through my underarms so it was pretty nasty and I didn't stink at all but I wore sweaters in the Summer time because I was embarrassed an when I was in 9th grade I wore short sleeved shirts but I would always keep my underarms tight an people could see but I couldn't do anything so my school was transferred to a uniform school an I wore all black cuz u could wear whatever color as long as its uniform an yeah u we're able to see the sweat but not as much but hey It doesn't stop me from dating an being social but yeah I feel insecure and scared because im afraid someone might see an yes I tried different antiperspirants an even maxim anall the others an it didn't work but im going to try "drysol" this week hope it works :/ and by the way they have this tea called Hushed sea tea an its suppose to cure hyperhidrosis idk I'm going to try it soon anyways good luck !