It is a biological process.
This is your body’s way of cooling itself. The nervous system triggers the sweat glands when your body temperature rises.
However, did you know that sweating in excess can be embarrassing? What starts as a glossy sheen on the palms, can grow into beads of sweat and later they begin dripping when a friend stretches a hand for a handshake.
It is an anxious moment.
Sometimes fond friends and loved ones extend a hug but a person who sweats a lot will keep a safe distance. Persons who have this medical condition have challenges even holding a pen. Taking notes can be tough when the sweat drips and fills the entire page.
This condition is known as hyperhidrosis.
Martin Kimamo has had hyperhidrosis since childhood but he had always deemed it as normal until he observed that other family members, classmates and friends didn’t sweat buckets like he did. But the worry grew when he could no longer shake hands without a grimaced face from the next person. He is the founder of Hyperhydrosis Awareness Kenya LTD (HAK LTD), a group that raises awareness on how to manage excessive sweating. “Our mission is to restore hope and confidence. We are dedicated to provide solutions to excessive sweating through the provision of topical treatment,” Martin says.
Martin shares his story.
“It began from early childhood. I was unaware that it was a medical condition until I watched it on the Tyra Banks talk Show,” Martin adds. It is a daily struggle that can take a toll on the patient, he notes.
Martin Kimamo is the founder of a support group of persons who experience excessive sweating. Photo by Gallery Khately
Having successfully managed the sweating episodes, Martin remains particularly sensitive. “If you sweat excessively, we tend to camouflage it so we do not attract unnecessary attention. Today Martin has also taken time to create awareness on this condition through, The Perfect Imperfection Campaign, where he cycles with a couple of friends from one town to another.
“On May 26, 2018 I cycled from Nairobi to Kisumu and shared my personal struggles with hyperhidrosis. I make it clear that a person can leave a normal and productive lifestyle by learning to control sweating,” Martin added.
What are we dealing with?
The condition is known as hyperhidrosis.
Consultant dermatologist at Kenyatta National Hospital, Dr E.N Kamuri, describes it as a case of abnormal and excessive sweating in the hands, armpits and feet. Dr Kamuri further notes that whereas the exact cause remains unknown, this condition is hereditary which means that it can run in families. “In most cases, it occurs when the nerves responsible for signaling your sweat glands become overactive,” Dr Kamuri clarifies that persons who experience heavy sweating do not have more sweat glands than the next person, it’s their glands that are oversensitive hence the overproduction of sweat.
What are the available types of this sweating condition?
Dr Kamuri classifies this condition in two categories;
- Primary hyperhidrosis- usually inherited and begins in childhood.
- Secondary hyperhidrosis- occurs later in life a may be triggered by another health conditions or behaviours such as diabetes, gout, menopause, alcoholism or nervous problems.
The following areas are affected;
- Face & Scalp
Cycling to create awareness. Photo by Gallery Khately
Did you know that excessive sweating is referred as per the area it occurs? For example, if it occurs in the hands, it is known as palmar hyperhidrosis whereas in the armpits it is referred to as axillary hyperhidrosis. If the sweating is on the feet, it is known as plantar hyperhidrosis.
Martin further explains that for persons who sweat heavily on the palms, they are particularly affected when operating phones or any touch technology gadget. The use of biometric system of identification, can also be a challenge, including other tasks such as driving, shaking hands, voting, airport clearance and engaging in activities that include bodily contacts such team building.
For heavy armpit sweating, Martin notes, that such persons cannot wear brightly coloured clothes. “With this type of sweat you’re restricted to only wearing black or dark coloured clothing to hide the sweat. It’s uncomfortable walking around wet,” he says. Sweating on the buttocks and groin area can also be embarrassing for example when they arise from a leather seat, leaving a mark of wetness.
There are various ways of beating excessive sweating. This includes using anti-perspirant that are considered the first line of line of treatment. It works by reducing sweat production.
Botox injections- are another form of treatment that works by temporarily blocking the chemical that stimulates the sweat glands.
Lasers have also been used to target and kill the underarm sweat glands. In some cases, A procedure called thoracic sympathectomy may be considered as a last resort.
Martin has also adopted a lifestyle change which manages his sweating. “I am frequently in the gym and I am also a biker,” he says.
All for a worthy cause; Photo by Gallery Khately
He advices other ways to manage the heavy sweating;
- Wear light, breathable fabrics such as cotton and silk
- Shower or bathe every day using an antibacterial soap to control the bacteria
- Limit on drinking hot drinks and alcohol
“Excessive sweating is a slow death characterised by the social psychological trauma that comes with it, ” Martin concludes.
He offers a solution. Refer.
Do you know someone who sweats excessively? Have a chat with Martin through his contacts below.
Phone: 0717 225707.
FaceBook: @HSKenya (https://www.facebook.com/HSKenya/?ref…) I
Instagram: @hyperhidrosiskenya (https://www.instagram.com/hyperhidros…)
Twitter: @AwarenessKenya (https://twitter.com/AwarenessKenya)