Advances in the Treatment of Hyperhidrosis - Episode 3

Addressing the Negative Stigma of Hyperhidrosis

Brittany Estrin: Emotionally, it was really embarrassing growing up with this condition because, being so young, I didn’t know that I actually had a condition. I just thought that I sweat a little bit more than normal people. So, I didn’t know how to go about talking to people about it. I just kind of tucked it away and tried to cope with it as best I could. I would always wear like really thick hoodies to try to cover up the sweat. And I would avoid getting close to people as much as possible. It just made my teenage years much more harder than they had to be. So, up until now, I would say that it was really embarrassing, and I was uncomfortable a lot of the time. And it’s always in the back of your head. It’s always something you’re thinking about: Am I sweating? Can people see it? Do I smell bad? And then thinking about it just makes it that much worse.

About a year ago, maybe two, when I actually got my diagnosis, I felt a sense of relief. I had felt that there was an actual condition wrong with me, and it wasn’t just all in my head. So, that was kind of relieving to know that there’s actually something wrong with me and I’m not just going crazy.

To get through high school and middle school, once I started showing symptoms, I would just tell myself, “You know, things aren’t that bad, I can get through this,” and there are different things I can use to cope. I can wear different clothing; I can try to avoid situations that make me uncomfortable. And then throughout the rest of high school, I would try to explain to people who didn’t understand. If they did notice that I was sweating, I would just say, “I don’t know what it is, but I just sweat, you know?”—and try to make it less awkward for myself and for other people, because that kind of makes other people uncomfortable too.

So, throughout high school, I would just try to explain and try to avoid people who were mean about it. I did get bullied through high school a little bit, but I made sure that I hid it from everybody. So, the really big bullies who picked on me no matter what, even without knowing about my hyperhidrosis, I would hide it from them so that they didn’t know. So, I just avoided everything altogether. That way they never knew about it. I just pretty much hid.