In an interview with People this week, one of the fan favorites from reality TV series Southern Charm, Cameran Eubanks, announced she’s teaming up with a pharmaceutical company to raise awareness about hyperhidrosis, an excessive sweating condition that she was diagnosed with as a girl. The 34-year-old, who gave birth to a daughter in November, said pregnancy exacerbated the sweating.
“Pregnancy definitely made it worse, and I was pregnant during the heat of the Charleston summer too,” she told People. “I had to wear sleeveless everywhere I went and there were times where I wouldn’t even leave the house because I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m just going to be a sweaty mess.'”
According to the Mayo Clinic, hyperhidrosis is a condition characterized as “abnormally excessive sweating that’s not necessarily related to heat or exercise.” People with the condition have an overactive cooling system that leads them to sweat four to five times more than the average person; often on their palms, underarms, face, and feet.
Although once considered to affect just 2 percent of the population, a study on its prevalence published in the Archives of Dermatological Research journal in 2016 increased that number to 4.8 percent of Americans—over 15 million people nationwide. While there is treatment available, the study revealed that in over 50 percent of cases, people with the condition had not discussed it with a doctor.
“The main reasons are a belief that hyperhidrosis is not a medical condition and that no treatment options exist,” the authors write. “However, current findings suggest that the severity and prevalence are both higher than previously thought, indicating a need for greater awareness of the condition and its associated treatment options among medical professionals.”
Without treatment, many people suffering from the condition are left trying to hide their sweating under loose clothing, or are forced to bring a second outfit everywhere they go. In 2016, researchers at the American Academy of Dermatology found evidence that individuals with the condition are more likely to suffer from both anxiety and depression, a result they found to be linked to the stress they experienced from the condition.
That’s where Eubanks comes in. With the new season of Southern Charm launching last month, she’s using the extra publicity to encourage other people to not only talk about it with their doctor, but seek treatment. “Excessive sweating is embarrassing, and I think people typically think it’s something that only happens to overweight men and not young women, but it does,” she told People. “I think it’s something a lot of people have and they don’t talk about it because they are embarrassed by it, but it really affects your everyday life.”
According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, there are many treatments available to improve the lives of those with the condition. On top of prescription antiperspirants, there is something called iontophoresis, which delivers drugs through the skin using electrical stimulation. In more severe cases, patients can try Botox, laser injections, or even underarm surgery (to cut out sweat glands).
To help people who may have the condition Eubanks and the pharmaceutical company Dermira (which has one experimental drug for the condition in the works), created a website called checkyoursweat.com. On it, users can dig further into Eubanks own journey through video testimonials, or take a “sweat assessment” to see if they have the condition themselves.
At the end of her People interview on the topic, Eubanks spoke directly to those who may feel they have the condition themselves. “If you think that you might have this condition, go to your doctor,” she says. “Don’t just stay quiet about this and think you have to deal with it.”
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