A BASINGSTOKE woman who said her life has been “destroyed” by severe sweating is raising awareness of the illness.

Caroline Carter was diagnosed with hyperhidrosis eight years ago after initially thinking the hot flushes were down to the menopause.

The condition, which affects between one and three in every 100 people, causes sufferers to excessively sweat either from their whole body or certain areas such as armpits, hands or the groin.

For 49-year-old Caroline, the sweating is on her face, meaning it is impossible to hide.

The mother-of-two, of Loggon Road, Cranbourne, suffered so badly that she quit her job as a support worker in 2008 after receiving insensitive comments from her boss.

She said: “He told me that he was going to take me to the North Pole. I didn’t have the confidence to get another job.”

Caroline said the sweat pours from her and described feeling a “burning sensation” during each attack.

She said: “I can’t take myself seriously so I don’t see how anyone else can. It means I’m imprisoned in my own home. When it’s humid and there’s no air it’s constant. I look like a freak and people look at me. I feel humiliated and I feel very small.”

Caroline previously received botox injections for the condition, which she said dramatically improved the symptoms for a year.

But when the sweating returned and she went back to her GP, she was distraught to discover that she was not able to access any further botox treatment on the NHS.

Caroline looked into paying privately for the treatment, and was told by the clinic she approached that she would need a referral from her GP.

She said: “Some days I wake up feeling so depressed I don’t want to do anything. I don’t have a life. It’s ruined me, everything I was is gone. I feel like I’m climbing the walls. It’s soul destroying.”

Information from the charity Hyperhidrosis UK – the charity which supports those suffering from the condition – states that botox is only offered at a few NHS hospitals. For those not able to access NHS treatment, to pay for botox privately costs between £300 and £700.

Richard Haynes, head of communications and engagement for North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, told The Gazette that it does not have a policy of limiting funding for botox treatment for severe hyperhidrosis to a single treatment.

He added: “If the view of a GP is that their patient has a clinical need for the treatment they can refer them for it as an NHS patient.”

However, Caroline said she has been told that because the hyperhidrosis is on her face, any treatment is considered cosmetic which is why she is not allowed any further botox on the NHS.

For more information on hyperhidrosis visit hyperhidrosisuk.org/.