My story

Hi.  Just thought I would share my story for anyone out there going through hyperhidrosis.
I'm 32, male, live in Yorkshire in the UK, and from the age of about eight I can remember having extremely sweaty hands and feet.  I don't recall this being too major an issue in primary school, but secondary school was very different.  The embarrassment, humiliation and name-calling (once fellow pupils found out about it) was terrible, and had a big impact on me mentally, emotionally and socially.
By the time I was fifteen I'd had enough, and sought help from my GP.  I was prescribed a couple of different aluminium-based solutions (including Driclor aka Drysol) but these had no apparent effect.  I then saw a dermatologist who told me that there was nothing they could do (which I have since discovered was incorrect but hey ho), and so she referred me to a vascular surgeon.  Seeing surgery therefore as my last resort (of course it wasn't – in reality there was at least iontophoresis and medications to try, but I was never informed of these options by the dermatologist), I had ETS in 1999 and 2000, and then a lumbar sympathectomy in 2001.
What I am left with since then has been very dry hands and feet, but also with the operations have come many side-effects.  One problem if that the operations also stop you from sweating in other areas such as the underarms and face, making keeping cool extremely difficult.  Then there is the compensatory sweating (for me it affects my back, stomach, chest, sides and legs).  I've also had issues with low energy, lethargy, depression and dizziness, all of which I believe are effects from the nerves been severed.
So, my advice to anyone going through hyperhidrosis of the hands and / or feet (or even other areas like the underarms) would be to avoid surgery.  Though it does have benefits clearly, personally I find the negatives to far outweigh the positives.
More now than ever before I think there are some great non-surgical options out there, it's just a case of finding them.
In terms of coping with post-ETS side-effects, I just try to cover up as much as possible (for example wearing a tank top under a shirt to stop the CS showing through to the back as much as possible for example), and during the summer months I often use a prescription-strength anti-perspirant on my worst area (the back).  I also have acupuncture and do tai chi for the nerve damage, and just try to live a healthy / healthier lifestyle really.
Good luck to anyone experiencing hyperhidrosis, and don't give up hope.

JR31

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