Showering Problems in Fibromyalgia

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The burning water of a bathe can be calming, which is great when it comes to tight muscles and connective tissues. However, for those of us who deal with profound fatigue, it’s probably not the best thing for us early in the day, when we’re still fighting to wake up.

Both of these conditions can overlap with sleep disorders, including insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome. They also both involve unrefreshing sleep.  That can leave us extremely tired during the day. If you need to be up and functional, the last thing you need is to relax.

Hot shower water may demolish the natural oils in your skin, leaving it dehydrated and scratchy. It could also burn you and damage skin cells. These spots will almost certainly dry out completely while those dead cells are replaced with new ones. This is similar to what happens when you spend too much time in the sun.

While it is less common, some people’s skin is also sensitive to cold water and can develop tiny cracks in response to it. You possibly will think a blistering hot shower is doing curative good by relaxing your muscles, but a dermatologist would tell you to fix to the heating pads and keep the scorching hot water for your tea. Hot water is bad for two reasons, First, it removes too much of your natural oils, Second, hot water brings blood circulation to your skin which is why your skin turns red like a lobster.

With the flow come inflammatory structure blocks to create more prickle and even an irritation. Water temperature should be tepid, meaning skin temperature or just a little warmer especially if you have fragile skin that’s prone to dryness. While the burning water may feel fine, it can also get our temperature sensitivity going and get rid of homeostasis. When we get heated up like that, it’s a lot of work to cool us back down to normal. A number of us get so hot under the collar that we sweat plentifully after a bathe.

In some cases, temperature sensitivity can lead other symptoms to kick up as well, so it pays to be careful and avoid this symptom. Shower in warm, rather than hot, water. This serves many purposes. It prevents the skin from blazing, confines the amount of chlorine steam you breathe in and destroys fewer of your skin’s natural oils. Think of the water temperature you use when scrubbing greasy pans; scrubbing an oily surface with soap and near boiling water removes the oil quite effectively, but this is not what you want on your skin.

Dizziness and acidity of the soap

Think using soap only on vital areas similar to your armpits, genitals, hands and feet while just rasping the rest calmly with a washcloth or sponge. Alternatively, use less soap to decrease soapy residue, especially if your water is particularly acidic or alkaline. If abandoning soap doesn’t appeal, natural oils like coconut oil are useful due to their antibacterial properties. Avoid products with fragrances, alcohol, synthetic antibacterial ingredients, preservatives and additives.

These can all cause a worsening of eczema symptoms. It can be hard to part with products you’re used to, but if you’re using deodorant or antibacterial soaps, the harsh fragrances and ingredients are stripping moisture out of your skin. With age, the skin becomes thinner, and loses fat, sweat, and oil glands thus moisturizing washes are most important. Some recommended products for aging skin include Cetaphil.

We’re prone to dizziness, thanks to a symptom called orthostatic intolerance. Basically, that means we get dizzy upon standing up. It’s caused by an abnormal blood-pressure drop. The heat of the shower combined with the motions of washing (bending down to wash your legs, for instance) can have your body working overtime to keep your sense of balance. Dizzy spells in a hot shower? Very scary, especially when you consider where you’ll land if you fall!

Use a reverse osmosis filter

If you live in an area with groundwater or badly contaminated municipal tap water, don’t worry there are ways of eliminating heavy metals and other harmful chemicals from your shower water. A reverse osmosis filter, for example, can be installed on your main water supply pipe to remove impurities from the water. This filter pushes water through a semi permeable membrane that catches most non-water molecules.

Another effectively under-sink filter is the Energy Plus, which removes contaminants – chlorine, lead, fluoride etc in addition to infusing the water with beneficial minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium. The water produced by the Energy Plus also benefits from a higher pH than plain old tap water. If your water is high in heavy metals, buy a chelator gel to apply to your skin before showering.

It will entrap the metals on the outside of your skin, preventing them from piercing into the pores and exposure to air and injurious to the skin. We all want to be clean, but twice a day should be the maximum number of times you shower. Your skin must then re-moisturize every time you step out of the shower. Some people’s skin is just not capable of doing this too often.

Heightened nerve response

Especially in fibromyalgia, the pressure of water hitting your skin can get your nerves riled up. For some, it hurts while they’re under the spray. In others, it might not harm during the wash, but the incentive on their over-reactive nerves could get their bodies conveying mistaken pain signals and making them injure all over.

This incident is called allodynia, which is aching caused by something that wouldn’t usually hurt. There’s a thermal form of allodynia that may perhaps make the high temperature of a shower even harder to bear. Allodynia is almost widespread in fibromyalgia and a number of people with ME/CFS practice it, as well.

Also Read:

Epsom Salt Bath for Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

References:

  • Problems Showering With Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome By Adrienne Dellwo via Very Well
  • The Challenging Task of Taking a Shower With Chronic Pain by Merry O’Leary-Sahl via The Mighty

For support and Discussion join the group “Living with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness”

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