Do you sweat frequently at work? Does your sweating cause stress and anxiety throughout the day? You’re not alone. It’s estimated that more than 15 million people suffer from a condition called hyperhidrosis, which causes abnormal and excessive sweating that isn’t related to heat or exercise.
It’s common for hyperhidrosis to impact one’s work. A recent study of 1,300 people who have hyperhidrosis found that 93% worry about their sweating at work. Nearly half, 47%, said that their hyperhidrosis has impacted their work.
Excessive sweating can impact every aspect of your work day. It can be a distraction during a presentation. It can create a bad first impression with new clients or coworkers. If you have sweaty hands, the routine act of shaking hands could be a stressful, unpleasant experience.
Here’s the good news. There are steps you can take to manage your hyperhidrosis and minimize your sweating at work. While there’s no complete cure for hyperhidrosis, there are steps you can take to reduce your sweating. Here are a few things to try:
Wear Breathable Clothing and Use Layers
Your sweating usually starts with one of the first decisions you make each day – what to wear to work. Hyperhidrosis isn’t usually caused by heat, but being hot certainly doesn’t help.
You can reduce the heat you’re feeling by wearing breathable fabrics, like cotton and polyester. Look for clothing that is lightweight, especially for certain parts of your body that are more prone to sweating than others.
In colder weather, you may feel tempted to wear heavy, bulky clothing. Instead, dress in layers. That way, you can simply remove a layer if you’re feeling hot. You also may want to consider a thin, lightweight undershirt that can possibly absorb sweat before it reaches your outer clothing and creates stains.
Reduce Unnecessary Stress
For many people with hyperhidrosis, stress is a common trigger. There’s a certain level of stress built into most jobs. Stress is a part of the work experience. However, just because you have stress at work doesn’t mean you need to add onto it.
There are steps you can take to avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety. For example, leave for work and for meetings with plenty of time to spare so you don’t have anxiety about being late.
You can stay out of workplace drama and unnecessary conversations that may lead to stress. If there are individuals at work who cause you anxiety, you can try to reduce your interactions with them.
You can also look to alter aspects of your job that may cause stress. For example, if you get anxious standing in front of a crowd and presenting, you could ask if you could give the presentation seated at a table in a more casual manner.
Work in a Cooler Environment
This may not be possible in all work environments, but perhaps it is possible for you to work in a cooler area. You could sit near an air vent or possibly out of direct sunlight. You may be able to have a small fan at your desk or workstation.
It may be embarrassing to discuss your sweating issues, but it is a real medical condition. If it affects your ability to work, your employer should try to assist you in whatever way they can. There’s certainly nothing wrong with asking them for help as long as it is within reason.
Avoid Triggering Foods
For many with chronic sweating issues, food is a major trigger. They go to lunch, eat the wrong thing, and then sweat through their clothes the rest of the day.
You may want to start journaling your food intake and documenting how it affects your sweating. You will likely find that there are connections between certain foods. For instance, spicy food is a common trigger. Dairy can be a problem for some. So too can chocolate. Yours may be something that you hadn’t even considered.
See Your Doctor
If all else fails, it may be time to visit your doctor. There’s no cure for hyperhidrosis, but there are treatments available.
If the sweating is concentrated in a specific area, they may be able to treat the glands in that area with injections or even a process where they send a weak electrical current into the body. In severe cases, surgery could be an option.
Sweating at work is a serious problem, but there are steps you can take to address it. Follow these tips to see if things improve. If not, your doctor may be the next best step.