Like A River: The Sweats

Out of all the wonderful things I could've inherited from my Khalto: her smarts, her drawing capabilities, her creativity, her immaculate excellence in being responsible, her voluminous, straight, black hair..., I got - the Sweats.

I sweat out of my hands and feet. Excessively. I'm pretty sure every body of water in Lebanon is jealous of my body's ability to produce so much sweat from my hands and feet.

And, no. They don't reek of stinky smells. For all those wondering. And I know a loooot of you are.

However, they do break your phones. My phone slipped from my hands. Twice. In less than two weeks. And full-on smashed. Twice. Because of my sweaty hands. There.

Now seriously talking, though. Excessively sweaty palms and feet are known as Palmar and Plantar Hyperhidrosis in the med world. Usually, sweat glands perspire when you are feeling hot, feverish, exercising, nervous, anxious, or carrying out physical tasks. Once those factors are no longer available, naturally, the nerves that signal sweating are put on hold. However, people with hyperhidrosis experience excess sweating even when none of those factors are stimulated.

There exist two types of Hyperhidrosis; Primary and Secondary. Primary Hyperhidrosis is defined as “excessive sweating in the hands, underarms, face, and feet without any apparent reason”. While Secondary Hyperhidrosis is known as “excessive sweating all over the body or in a larger area of the body and can be caused by excessive heat as well as a medical condition or medication”.

I, unfortunately, suffer from Primary Hyperhidrosis which means that the Eccrine sweat gland is always overreacting. The Eccrine sweat gland makes up 2-4 million sweat glands in the body, mostly located on the palms, feet, face, and underarms of human beings. The overreaction of the Eccrine is what causes the breaking out of profuse sweating in those 4 main areas.

1-2% of the population who constantly drip sweat out of their palms can suffer from confidence issues, embarrassment, social anxiety, and are often stressed. People are very much disgusted or annoyed or even surprised when they touch a hyperhidrosis person's hand and feel the sweat. It's quite uncomfortable for the poor human being himself, having to put up with a very uncomfortable bodily malfunction, so you can only imagine how others would feel.

I kid you not, every time I touch or shake hands with someone who's not family or a close friend of mine, they end up wiping their hands on their pants, trying to keep a straight face while simultaneously attempting not to puke. I've had to apologize many times about that inconvenience. And trust me, it's embarrassing and uncomfortable for both parties.

Shaking hands is the least of my problems honestly. I can't even begin to describe how much my hands hurt when they sweat. It becomes unbearable sometimes to a point where I start crying uncontrollably. A lot of times, my fingers swell as well and I just can't fold them or close my hand altogether. As I am typing this right now, my phone is currently dripping with sweat. So is every copybook, book, paper, dollar bill - or anything in between - I touch.

Sitting in class or for exams is horrible. Sometimes I place my hands on a table, a leather car seat, mirrors, doors, walls, anything, and you'll find sweat-drenched handprints. Ya know how I roll, leaving my mark anywhere and everywhere. Wink. Wink. Cries.

You could imagine how it'd be for me with boys. Oh, God.

My feet - which talking about feels horrendously disgusting - are also fucking annoying. I keep extra socks in my bags at all times. At a certain point in my life, I couldn't wear sandals because my feet would slip. Even now with heels, it still sometimes happens. My socks are always two shades; the original sock color from the top, and a darker shade from the bottom. Needless to say, drenched in sweat also.

Almost everyone belittles this issue, but it honestly is very nerve-wracking. On all levels, personal, hygienic, and social. However, there exists a few different treatments for Primary Hyperhidrosis. One of the said easiest ways is Antiperspirants. I've never personally tried them, although I do have a few bottles. Those antiperspirants contain aluminum salts. When you roll them onto your skin, they technically form a plug that blocks perspiration. There are also 4 medical ways to decrease and stop hyperhidrosis: Iontophoresis, Botulinum toxin (Botox), Anticholinergic drugs, surgery.

*Anticholinergic drugs and surgery are said to have side effects.*

I've tried botox once two years ago, but it wasn't effective as it was not done properly. Though, it FUCKING HURTS. IT HURTS BADLY.

During my mum's check-up with her plastic surgeon last week, I inquired about the different procedures to stop hand sweat, and for him, Botox was the safest and also effective if done properly. Apparently, a little amount of Botox doesn't do the trick- which was the mistake my dermatologist made during my first Botox trial. Each hand requires atleast a full vial of Botox administered over 100 or so injections. Which hurts. A lot. It is supposed to last a time period between 5 months up to a year, depending on each person.

I might be getting this procedure done some time soon. I'll keep you guys posted on the process itself and the results I get. However, to those who suffer from hyperhidrosis, please remember to consult a specialist in case you are looking for a cure as I and the internet are not as well-educated and informed as a doctor when it comes to this or anything else.

It is good to research and listen to other people's experiences, but that is just not enough for safe, effective, and accurate answers and results for yourself.

I send too much love, patience, and strength to all the warriors who have to fight this misery. You guys are fantastic.

*cries again* Kimberly