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Literally Sweating The Small Stuff

Literally Sweating The Small Stuff

Sometimes arthritis just stinks.

I’ve described before what it’s like to get stuck in clothes when you are at a store and in a fitting room, shopping by yourself.

But lately, if I’m trying to put a coat or sweater on, it takes extra effort.  I feel like I’m 80 years old.

I can’t get my arms that far behind myself.

Which leads to the next thing.

I have to ask my boyfriend for help putting my bra on.  It’s humiliating, although I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mind (wink wink).

But it’s getting a little ridiculous.

What’s the point of taking a shower in the morning when you end up working up a sweat just trying to put your bra on? 

When my boyfriend isn’t around, I either have to sweat it out until I am able to hook the bra, which involves throwing my arms back behind, grabbing each side of the bra as hard as I can, and then trying, mostly futilely, to get the hooks hooked.

Or I give up and opt for the much less supportive but much easier to maneuver sports bra.

Granted, I know there are bras out there with front closures.  An online search even suggests that there is a specific bra for arthritis that not only has a front closure, but it is Velcro.

The problem?  They’re just not sexy.  At.  All.  And they don’t have cute and creative names.  They have model numbers.  What am I doing?  Buying a car? 

I just want to be able to get dressed in peace.  I don’t want to have to ask for help when I can’t maneuver to hook my own bra.

And now that I’m approaching my 30s, it’s not even as much about the bra being pretty, although that’s a definite plus, it’s also about the girls needing some major support.

And steroid weight gain has done some interesting things.  My boyfriend likes my increased boob-age, but I just find it annoying, uncomfortable, and frustrating.

I know that in the grand scheme, there are other, more severe limitations that are present in my life because of arthritis.

But sometimes, you literally end up sweating the small stuff, like not being able to latch your bra.

And you just have to let it out to those who know will understand, because you know, my boyfriend’s not complaining.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Amanda Ford
    5 years ago

    Yes! I have this, it’s so stressful! I have to put my bras on like a t-shirt.

    Connie – I have a really nice mattifying moisture absorbing anti-bacterial moisturiser, from temple spa, which helps a little with the sweating.

  • Rose de Kook
    5 years ago

    Oh gosh thought the only sweaty person was me! Thought I was the only that needed a shower after I dried myself! Not glad that this happens but feel somewhat relieved that it happens to others.
    On the part of doing up my bra – I also looked into bras for people with arthritis – I am 57 this year and still like to look MY BEST. Not sure on valcro! Predisnolone + all the rest have added quite a few kilos on to me – I’m sure I’ve added a few of those kilos myself. Thought I might try maternity bras as most have front closures. Take care all

  • Kellie
    5 years ago

    Lucy is right about how to put your bra on. My mom taught me how to hook it up front then move the hooks to the back. I actually thought everyone put their bra on like that! It is much easier. With my shoulders the way they are there is no way I could hook in the back.

    Connie, could you be in menopause? I had early menopause at 38, sweated over everything. I have also noticed that the steroids make me sweat like crazy too. Hope you will find some relief.

  • Leslie Rott moderator author
    5 years ago

    The bra thing does not make that much difference to me. I usually just ask my boyfriend if I am struggling and he is usually available to help.

  • Connie Rifenburg
    5 years ago

    I can relate to all the comments voiced so far since I have exactly the same problem; stomach bloat from the steroids and shoulder limits due to a torn rotator cuff tendon. In addition to sweating when I am trying to dress, I sweat almost ALL the time.

    Oh, I sweat like most people when I exert myself, but it’s the sweats that come from NOwhere and overwhelm my scalp to the point that my hair looks like I just got out of the shower. No exaggeration. It becomes soaked to the point of dripping off the ends (my hair is about ear length).

    It is not only embarrassing because when it happens, I’m usually out at a store, or party, or even just sitting and talking with a few people. Pretty soon, I can feel the water begin to run down my scalp, and around my forehead, and if I don’t happen to have a washcloth with me, it will literally drip off my nose. Try explaining THAT to a person unfamiliar with your circumstances.

    Store clerks just think I’m a greasy haired person who needs a shower, sweaty, or who knows what, a drug addict needing a fix I suppose, as I stand in line dripping sweat from my face in an A/C store.

    It’s not as though I sweat in places that you could hide – armpits, hands — it has to be my head, face, neck… where people can stare and wonder where all that water is coming from. The more I get upset about it, it seems the more water I produce.

    I wish we knew what was causing this. I’ve read everything I can about scalp sweating, *yes..there is such a thing* and all I can come up with is it’s a combination of the meds I take and the RA disease craziness. But I will add here, that my son and grandson are also ‘heavy sweaters’ and my father used to drink hot coffee with a handtowel around his neck to mop his face. (as a kid I couldn’t figure that out…why drink hot coffee and sweat?)

    All 4 of us preferred cold temps in the house at all times, which makes others less than comfortable; but at least they can sit with a throw over them or a sweater on…we can only sit and drip if the temperature is over 68.

    I gave up wearing makeup not long after I was diagnosed w/RA, and these sweats began in earnest. The next thing was to purchase all cotton.. well, all cotton EVERYTHING. Underwear, bras, t-shirts, shorts, and never wear pantyhose again.

    These all seem like little things apart from one another, but for a makeup, plain-jane clothes, and dripping wet hair, is a real kick on your femininity!

    I never go anywhere now without a washcloth, it used to be tissues until one day, I sweat so much and was wiping it away with those little ‘purse’ tissue packs when someone mentioned I had “something” all over my face -go figure-little white bits of tissue stuck to my sweaty red face!

    Now…back to the bra thing… my solution? Sports bras – cotton, and at least 2 sizes around bigger than I would buy a bra. I discovered this when I had some skin tags removed and some of them were along my bra line and became infected (why? because I sweat ofcourse). So, being a 42-C/D, I couldn’t go braless, I found these wonderful bras at …WALMART… 3 to a pack. white, grey, black, or colors, and they are double lined in the front with cotton. I bought a 46 and a 48 to see how they worked. I could pull them up over my hips and slip in my arms, or I could actually pull them over my head like a t-shirt. Fruit of the Loom makes them, and I’m not saying they are perfect, because they don’t give that uplift of an underwire bra, but the also don’t smash you flat like some sports bras do.

    So I will throw this idea out there since these bras are 3 for $10 most times, so why not give it a try and see how they work for you with a favorite blouse on so you can tell whether they give enough support, etc.?

    I keep hoping that if I can lose some of the upper body weight (meaning…can I not have flares and have to go up on the steroids again and again) my choices will be less rigid about cotton, but I’m not counting my chicks… you get the picture… after 12 yrs of flares and sweats, it would take a miracle I’m afraid.

    As far as my “family” propensity for sweating…the only ones affected seem to be the males. So maybe I have a high testosterone issue in addition – since my sister doesn’t have this issue.

    I think I’ve tried just about everything on the market for “cooling”, none work on a constant basis. Some work for a while, but are either too costly, or don’t work enough to bother. The one bright side to this type of sweating, is it doesn’t have an odor. (oh thanks for one small favor). It’s not like I smell like a ditchdigger…so, altho I may LOOK like I’ve just run out of a shower, or pool, I don’t STINK!

    I guess I’ve used a lot of space to air my grievance..when I saw the title to this ‘sweating the small stuff’ I had to laugh and read it with a knowing smile.

    What else can we do, but keep a sense of humor about things like this. Boyfriends may like the steroid ‘growth’, but let him carry these things around for a month or so and I’ll bet he wouldn’t be liking them so much.

    Thanks for letting me rave on. I hope I have also offered some information on the bra solution that may help those who are having that problem. In fact, after I healed from the infection of the skin tag removal, I continue to wear these bras and all my underwires sit in a drawer gathering dust. (the girls are so much happier)

  • Wren moderator
    5 years ago

    I wear the same kind of cotton sport bras, Connie! Very comfortable and good for those sweaty moments. About that: have you considered menopause as the culprit? A recent study admitted that it can last for 12 years or more (I already knew that, as I’m working on Year 10 right now), and hot flashes are a very common, really miserable symptom. As I read your description of your sweats, I immediately thought of my hot flashes, which are exactly like your “sweats.” They come and go, affect mostly my head and neck, and send water dripping down my nose and off the ends of my hair…

    The only thing that has finally nixed the hot flashes are low-dose estrogen patches. I wear one and change it once a week. Within a week of starting them, my hot flashes faded away. I’ll still have one now and then–usually as the weekly dose comes to an end–but they’re not anything like they were.

    So. If you’ve already considered menopause and discarded it as a possibility, ignore all the above except the bra part. I LUV those bras! 😀

  • Lucy
    5 years ago

    I have trouble dressing daily. I cannot reach my arms around to the back due to major shoulder erosion from my RA. You can hook your bra in the front and spin it around and wiggle your arms into the straps – that might work. Also, prednisone has given me a huge middle, so clothes rarely fit. If I buy them in a large enough size to deal with the stomach bloat, they hang loose in the fanny and leg area. I try for elastic waisted pants, not very suave and sophisticated, but I just do not care anymore!

  • Helen Opczynski
    5 years ago

    This suggestion is what I have done since I was of age to wear a bra. I’m almost 45 and got diagnosed at age 8 with JRA.

  • Ella C
    5 years ago

    Just yesterday I got stuck trying on a swimsuit! I started to panic because I couldn’t get it back over my head and I had no one with me. I took a few deep breaths and tried several more times before I finally got out of it. I was sweating like a horse, hurting and fatigued. I ended up getting a two piece that ties (someone will be able to tie it for me), even though I’m overweight. I really don’t care anymore. After the incident in the dressing room, I am ready to go to the pool naked!! lol

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