How to tell Someone you have Hyperhidrosis

Hi All,

I know that telling people about your HH is really difficult and scary. Sweat is a taboo subject at the very least, but it has also proven to have negative connotations in society. So, we hide, conceal, disappear, and avoid doing what we love.

HH creates a physical disability, but also a social one. One day, I hope that HH is a commonly known condition. One way we can help the cause is by telling people about HH.

Every person you tell is one more person with understanding and awareness. Knowing this gives me a little boost of courage. I tell people about my condition for the HH community.

Here are a few ways I have told people about my HH:

1. I find the most effective way to tell people about my HH is in person. Usually, I will wait until I have visual example to show the person, ie. Excessively sweaty hands. I don’t tell just anyone. At this point in my life, I am only telling people who I have known for a while and trust/care about a lot. After some time, I know I can trust my relationship with the person to remain the same even if I open up about HH.

Sometimes, the opportunity will present itself. Maybe the person will notice and ask about it, or you’ll experience an embarrassing situation where there is absolutely no way to hide, or it’ll be really hot out and you are sweating much more profusely and noticeably than they are.

I usually start by saying, “I have a medical condition called Hyperhidrosis. It’s difficult for me to talk about, but I struggle with it every day and I’ve had it my whole life.”

When telling people about your HH in person, you are able to answer questions and have a dialogue about it. You are also able to make sure they fully understand all aspects of the condition and how it impacts your life. Understanding the full impact is very important, as we all know that HH is NOT Just a Little Sweat.

Last, when telling people in person, you are able to see their facial expressions and gauge their reactions. When I email people about my HH, and they don’t respond right away, I can never be sure what they are thinking. By telling people in person, you have a much more immediate and honest reaction.

2. You can email/snail-mail people you trust about HH. I have done this several times. Sometimes it’s just easier to hide behind the computer. I have emailed and sent Facebook messages to some of my closest friends. Some members of my quintet found out about my HH through email. I have also emailed co-workers and old college friends.

I try to write a very open and honest letter describing HH and what it has meant for me to live with it every day. I also mention how important it is that I can be open with them about it from now on. This does not mean that I need to talk about HH all the time. I just don’t want people to be quiet about it and treat it like some secret that I want hidden. That’s not the point. The point is to start feeling normal with our condition.

3. If you want to stay anonymous but still help the cause, tell someone by blogging about HH! That’s how I started. I wrote this blog anonymously for a really long time.

Blogging was and is very therapeutic for me. I used to be so angry about HH, but recently am focusing my efforts more positively. As a result, this blog has helped me and others.

Please feel free to add any other tips for telling people about HH. Have courage and good luck to you all out there!

Caryn

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11 thoughts on “How to tell Someone you have Hyperhidrosis

  1. Personally, I struggle with telling people about my palmar/plantar hyperhidrosis and I usually just resort to saying (if they touched or noticed my hands) “Sorry my hands are so sweaty” or sometimes, oh sorry, I have really sweaty hands!” I know the second comment at least gets some people to see this is something I have often but, for the most part, people in my life don’t know.

    I understand how it can be easy to tell people, but even like you mentioned, I just don’t feel like telling everyone. Sometimes it’s just because I’m not close enough to the person, other times it’s because I don’t have time to explain it all, and a lot of the time I know they (especially younger friends) will just think it’s kind of gross or laugh about it. But MAINLY, my reason for not telling people is because I feel they won’t understand it completely. I’m not sure about you, but it seems like even if I explain how it is an actual medical condition, show my hands, and explain howwww much my hands can sweat on a daily basis, they still don’t understand how big of a deal it is. I can tell a lot of people are understanding, especially good friends, but I can also tell they just think it is an inconvenience and don’t understand that it IS a big deal that I’m even just telling them.

    Maybe it is partly my fault,I usually do a pretty good job at hiding how big of an issue it is in my life.

    I’m a dancer (contemporary, hip hop, ballet, etc.) and in dance class I always have trouble with my palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis. Whether it be having to hold hands, or just touch someone else’s bare skin, or floor work that I slide around with because of my sweat, it is extremely difficult. Besides that, my sweaty palms come up in everyday life and often in school with dampening my papers. So even though I try and hide it, it is a big deal– something I wish more people could understand.

    So yes I agree, I would love love love if this condition was more widely known! At least then, understanding the condition would be out of my hands…

    • Hi Lauren,

      Thanks so much for your comment! I agree with you- I don’t feel like telling everyone about my HH either. Usually, I will only tell people if they are very close to me, or if telling them would somehow make my life a little easier (When I told my old boss, for example). It does take a lot of effort to explain the condition, and sometimes it’s not the best time for it.

      I give you a lot of credit being a dancer! I am so impressed and can totally understand your difficulties. I was a dancer in middle and high school and always ran into problems with touching people’s bare skin or having to hold hands. Once, in a tap class, we had to form a train and put our hands on each others shoulders. My sweaty hands would soak through the cotton material of the person’s t-shirt in front of me. I still remember how embarrassing this was for me, and this was over 10 years ago. This past February, I started dance lessons again (Irish Step) and I’m anxious a lot, wondering if this week will be the week I’ll have to touch someone. So far, I’ve been lucky…but for how long??

      Thanks again for reading and for your comment!
      Caryn

  2. Hello,

    Excellent blog. I really liked your blog and how you are taking your hyperhidrosis in its stride and the practical tips you are offering to fellow patients. Keep it up.. I look forward to your posts.

    You probably already know, but I recently featured your blog on a Hyperhidrosis community managed by me (hyperhidrosisnetwork.com) as a top 3 blog on Hyperhidrosis… I really believe it is!! 🙂

    Please let me know if you’d be interested in guest blogging for my website… I am sure your perspective will be valuable to hyperhidrosis patients community at large.

    In any event, keep it up!
    R

    • Hi Robert! Thank you so much for featuring my blog on your website: hyperhidrosisnetwork.com
      I am so honored to be featured and thank you for all the work you are doing with your website for the HH community. I would be happy to write a guest blog entry for your website 🙂
      Thanks again,
      Caryn

      • Hi Caryn,

        You are welcome.. I will be glad to feature your blog post on my website. Let me know how you’d like to do that (i.e. you can register on my site and write a blog, or give me a blog that I can post and credit to you).. I am fine either ways, whatever works for you.

        Looking forward,
        RM

  3. Hello, I read the posts and everyone’s experiences, feelings and situations are quite similar to me. I was also able to get through college having Hyperhidrosis. I’m proud of that though it was truly depressing. I would like to ask a question just in case you could answer. Do you think it’s a good idea to tell my supervisor about my condition. I will tell her because I need to quite my job and my hyperhidrosis is the reason.

    • Hi Antoinette, thanks for reaching out. I’m so happy you found my blog. What is your job? Don’t let HH keep you from something you love. Please tell your supervisor either way. HH is not something you should be ashamed of. Brainstorm with your supervisor to make adjustments in your job that would make it easier for you. Just have a conversation first. I suggest not quiting just yet. Disabilities can be worked around. There are creative ways to make small changes that could really help you. Right now, your supervisor has no idea that you are struggling. Let this person help you. Please be strong and remember the proud feeling you have when you overcome HH. Good luck and please keep in touch.

  4. I struggle with hyperhidrosis also. Being a high school student, I stress about it a lot which probably doesn’t help. I can’t wear the things I want and I constantly worry that someone will find out. My mom doesn’t understand how much it affects me everyday. I just wish I could make it stop. Telling people isn’t easy for me. I worry that they will find me repulsive so I usually keep it a secret.

    • Hi Caitlyn- Thank you for your post. I hope you had an enjoyable holiday season and good start to the new year! I am sorry to hear about your struggles with HH. High School is a very difficult time to have this condition. I understand how hard it is to tell people, and please don’t think you have to. I barely told anyone back then. My family understood, but that’s mainly because HH runs in my family. My aunt and cousins have it. From what I’ve seen and experienced, people with HH seem to get really good at hiding it, and I’m sure that people at your school have no idea. Just try and breathe through the daily frustrations. You are not repulsive. You are a good person. Also, if you haven’t spoken to a dermatologist yet about treatment options, you might want to check it out. I’ve tried a couple topical creams and also a medication called Glycopyrrolate. Currently, I am using an Iontophoresis device. I’m still a little sweaty, but I’m doing better.

  5. Thank you so much you have helped me how to get an idea for telling some people. I had hide it for 15 years now since someone found out and started telling people when I was 15 and I started to lose a lot of friends. I dont want to have but some people seem like its a choice. I stopped telling people bc the more I told the more I lost. Thanks anyway Ill be sure to try your methods.

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