Excessive sweating condition causes woman to take 6 months off work

Aug 5, 2015 at 7:05 p.m. ET
Image: Christine Schneider/Cultura/Getty Images

Everybody sweats, especially in this summer heat wave that's gone on for way too long. However, some people sweat more than others, which can be a major stressor, especially in social situations.

High levels of stress tend to make you sweat more, so if you're already predisposed to sweating excessively, the psychological reaction just creates a vicious, sweaty cycle. No doubt that's what Esme De Silva, a high-powered PR executive, was experiencing on a daily basis before she made the decision to take an extended leave from her job.

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De Silva, 25, has been suffering from hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating syndrome, since she was a teen. It has always given her trouble, but as an adult in an incredibly stressful job, the problem has gone from bad to worse. However, she says the real stress wasn't from the job itself, but from the embarrassment she felt in the workplace because of her condition.

A lot of it had to do with her own paranoia over what she feared people were thinking about her. She told Daily Mail, "I was a nervous wreck at work. I felt like I couldn't do my job to the best of my ability. All I could think about was whether or not people were staring at me. I was so paranoid the sweat was visible through my clothes and on my hands and face."

She tried to take care of her condition by seeing several doctors and trying various armpit shields and deodorants to absorb the excess dampness, but nothing worked. She became depressed, and her relationship at the time suffered and eventually unraveled. At that point, De Silva knew it was time for a change. So she made the bold decision to take a six-month sabbatical from work and reassess her situation.

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The thing that sticks out here is how many men I know who suffer from the same (or at least a similar) sweating condition and don't feel the least bit embarrassed about it. For the same reason that women seem to be judged for gaining too much weight, or not taking care of problem skin or wearing flattering clothing, this condition seems to be far more debilitating for women.

Even De Silva admits the majority of her stress over it comes from the judgments she expects people are making about her because of her excessive sweating. This shame is sadly still one of the major causes of depression in women, and as long as society continues to hold us to these ridiculous physical standards, it will continue.

Thankfully for De Silva, the time off gave her perspective and allowed her to actually find a perspiration solution that seems to be helping. Through a friend, she discovered an overnight antiperspirant called Odaban that has significantly reduced her sweating episodes. She has also opted to work freelance for the time being, which is likely helping to lower her stress levels.

She's even engaged to 26-year-old Anthony, who proposed to her while they were on vacation in Cuba. Now will come a whole different kind of stress in the form of wedding planning, but at least that culminates in something fun and wonderful and, frankly, worth a little bit of sweat.