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Baths and Showers

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Ronan, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. Ronan

    Ronan Senior Member

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    Hey,

    Just wondering if anyone else has problems with baths, showers and washing hair? I have to limit myself to one shower a week as my symptoms flair up after washing. The water temperature doesnt seem to matter much although warmer showers are slightly worse. My fuzzy head gets worse and i get paler looking in the face, along with being tired more.

    Thanks!
  2. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Yeah, holding arms up to wash hair very difficult and pallor/weakness inducing. Also, bathing takes a huge amount of effort that one does not think about when well. You have to take of your clothes, turn on the water which includes bending over and standing up again a few times, reaching and touching all parts of body and doing repetitive arm movements, holding arms up to wash hair, getting down to wash feet and holding unusual position, standing up again and waiting for blood to reach brain... toweling off from hair to feet, putting clothes on again. It feels like cleansing Yoga to me now.

    Bathing requires many arm gestures, often repetitive and an enormous amount of energy. I find sitting down easier than doing it all standing up. Like you, heat makes things worse.

    thanks to you
  3. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

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    New England
    I find they take energy. Having to adjust to the temperature, getting undressed in a cold bathroom, standing under a shower that isn't adjusted with cold back draughts flying down my back, banging my elbows, forgetting what I need to bring into the stall, sometimes twice, getting the floor wet, becoming chilled again. Then out of the shower and banging my elbows on the door. Drying my hair in a cold apartment. Well, it is a workout, so I don't tackle it everyday. Two showers a week, only one of which is for washing hair--that works.

    Sing
  4. OverTheHills

    OverTheHills

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    Hi Ronan

    Like others, I find showers tiring especially hairwashing.

    But I also have a very specific wierd symptom which is like a really bad attack of hayfever after showering - sneezing, runny nose and sore eyes. In my case its not allergy to mould or products (it happens when I don't use any shampoo or soap, and in the sparkliest of mould-free showers) but it occurs to me you might be having an allergy to something which would worsen your symptoms. Worth checking out perhaps.

    And if anyone has a theory on why my post-shower hayfever happens I'd be happy to hear it.

    Regards

    OTH
  5. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Hi OTH,

    Given everything you have ruled out, I would think it may be fluoride. If not, you may be stimulated the nerves in your nose somehow.
  6. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    WIAT, do I mean fluoride or chlorine? Do we have chlorine in our water?

    ETA Exposing yourself to splashing in a swimming pool filled with water from your municipality would probably really help in sorting this out. I just googled "allergy to shower" and got lots of hits. Who knew!
  7. Dr. Yes

    Dr. Yes Shame on You

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    Hey folks.

    Showering is one of the most difficult things for me too. Oddly it did not use to be, i.e in the first two or three years of being sick (before the BIG crash), I had no problems showering. Sometimes I would shower twice a day to help with muscle pain, or just cuz I was bored!). Immediately after the crash I could hardly shower at all. Similar symptoms to what all of you have described. I have to sit down in the shower of course, and usually need assistance because of being too weak for the repeated upper body muscle exertions. Even then the PEM after a shower used to set me back a few days; now it's easier but I can't do anything else the whole day and have to eat lots of food (esp.) protein for the previous 24 hours. The hardest part is lifting my arms over my head (for any purpose, but esp. for rinsing hair). And, of course, drying off (easier when I had a hair dryer, but they don't allow em here!).

    The usual thinking is that these difficulties are from dysautonomia of some kind (mainly orthostatic intolerance), though I haven't heard much comment about why lifting your arms over your head is related to that; that sounds less like OI to me somehow and more directly cardiovascular, or maybe some other dysautonomia I don't know about. (Med. physiology is NOT my thing, though).

    OverTheHills, I've had the same problem with allergy symptoms after (or while) showering for ages. I don't remember if it preceded getting sick, but it definitely got worse afterward. Some of it really does seem like a weird nerve stimulation as Koan mentioned. But for me a lot of it also seems to be mold related; I've become way more sensitive to mold since getting sick (esp. around the same time as that first 'big crash'...hmmm) and moisture from showers prompts molds to release spores. I find it less of a problem when I just run a bath, btw, or lukewarm water (less humidity). A clean bathroom would help, but from what I'm hearing it seems like molds can be a problem even if you can't see 'em. I've also heard it mentioned that warm tapwater (esp. in a shower) releases more of the chemicals in the tapwater as gases; don't know how true that is but if so it might cause mucosal irritation and who knows what else. Anybody here tried the 'dry shampoo' stuff before? (I still can't quite grasp the concept..)
  8. glenp

    glenp "and this too shall pass"

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    I bought a hose for my showerhead in the bath, but the smell of the plastic when using hot water bothers me so am going to try and maybe get a rubber one. I have been finding my new routine much better - I just get in the tub, on my knees, stick my head under the tap quickly wash, then rinse with the hose. I have been finding that the hot water seems to be worse, I think that it causes more vapor and we breathe in more of the soap or other fumes, so colder water seems much better. I used to sit in there with the hot water from the hose against my back, but it seems the plastic smell plus whatever else is in the vapor makes me worse. I also try this in the evening, it seems to take 3 times the energy earlier on.
  9. flybro

    flybro Senior Member

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    pluto
    Yep, no more showers for me too dangerous.

    I bath 1 to 2 times a week, deoending on how energietic I am, and I am normally caput afterwards.

    I feel dead chuffed when I manage to have a bath. But I also put it off because I know it finish's me off for hours or days.

    I always loved to shower, water and sunshine were my fav times.

    Also the temp differences affect me greatly, cold air in the bathroomis painful.

    I don't use much in the bathroom as I'm intolreant of many chemicals.

    I also have recurring mold in the bathroom.
  10. Victoria

    Victoria Senior Member

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    OTH,

    have you checked that it's not the laundry powder/detergent which you wash your towels with?

    I have been having a soak in a hot bath every morning for some 10 years & I figure what I can't do in vigorous washing (bending in a shower) is soaked away lying in the bath.

    But after my lumbar back surgery in mid 2008, I had to have a shower for about 6 weeks (so as not to get the wound bandage or stitches wet). It was murder on my morning stiffness/pain levels (even though I had put soap, shampoo etc in a basket high up prior to the surgery so I didn't have to bend).

    The only thing wrong with having a bath is that a few times, I have had trouble getting out. One morning I thought I would not be able to get out, get dressed & go to work. Quite funny at the time. I wondered when my work colleagues would miss me. Obviously, eventually, I was able to push myself up & get out, but it was a bit scary at the time (as I live on my own).

    I can't bend to dry my feet, so have to haul each foot up to place it on the bath rim to dry them. For the first time in many years, I stayed with friends for 3 days in January & to my dismay they only had a big spa bath with shower over the top. I couldn't have a bath or raise my foot up to dry it. The spa bath was just that bit too high - we take our home creature comforts for granted sometimes.

    Even the pillow on the guest bed was too high & I ended up with a stiff neck each morning. Sore throat, eyes & loss of voice also followed because a previous guest had burnt some incense in the room. And although my friends are vegetarian & won't use harsh chemicals, the environmentally friendly washing powder used to wash the guest sheets was a problem for my MCS. Even environmentally cleaning products can affect individuals.

    So, all in all, I will continue to stay home in future. Sad, isn't it. My friends have a beautiful country 2nd home & despite the wonderful, invigorating country air, inside their house, is not a friendly environment for me.

    I kept quiet about these problems, although my loss of voice for the first hour or so for the two mornings I stayed with them was obvious. They had some bad mould in the bathroom (which they couldn't remove with their environmentally friendly cleaners) which was the reason I stated for my loss of voice - I am allergic to mould (spelt mold in the US, I believe).





  11. gracenote

    gracenote All shall be well . . .

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    Santa Rosa, CA
    Thank you all for responding to this thread. Showering is hard for me, too. I have to really plan for my one time a week wash-my-hair-ordeal.

    I have bath-tub envy. I wish I had one. Sometimes I fill the shower pan with water (all two inches of it) an sit in it. Slightly more satisfying than a sponge bath, but I have a small shower!

    Taking all my clothes off, getting chilled when getting out, having to put clothes back on again, especially since I have to wear so many layers . . . geeze. A LOT of work.

    Being bathing-challenged this is when it's good that I live alone!

    I'm sorry it's so hard for all of you, but I must say I feel better reading about your experiences. It's not just me!
  12. Dainty

    Dainty Senior Member

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    It's definitely not just you.

    I do not have a tub, so showers are the only option for me. Since I got a shower chair I've been able to sit in a curled position with my knees up, and that's really helped. I currently need to take multiple showers a day in order to warm up, but I gave up washing myself a long time ago. Not worth the energy, and not woth the reactions to the soap (yes, even organic soap with one ingrediant). Hair gets conditioner perhaps once or twice a month, and gets combed once a week or so on a good day. Otherwise it stays in a permanent bun that I only need to do once for it to stay as long as I need it to--weeks if necessary--without being re-done. about 85% of my showers I never get my hair wet, which means it's much less energy to dry off. No shower caps, I just dont put it under the water.

    And when it comes to shaving... hahahaha ahahahaa. Ha ha.
  13. gracenote

    gracenote All shall be well . . .

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    Santa Rosa, CA
    Shaving??? What's shaving?
    :scared: :ashamed: :tongue:​
  14. Machair

    Machair

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    I have not been able to shower since 1996 when I first became ill. I have to have a bath as I can't stand under a shower for long enough without going dizzy.

    In response to OTH post about hayfever symptoms after showering I think I can answer this for you. I have a book by Dorothy Wall which has a section by Nancy Klimas. She strongly believes that hot showers trigger orthostatic intolerance which in turn triggers cytokine production and hence flu like or allergy type symptoms. I have certainly found this to be the case.

    The only time I managed a shower was when I was given a disabled room in a hotel by chance. It has a shower stool and this was so much easier.
  15. fds66

    fds66 Senior Member

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    Yes, showers and baths are exhausting. I often put it off if I'm tired. I had a handle put on the wall to hold on to because I lose track of which way is up when my eyes are shut. Find hairwashing even more tiring. You are all right - just taking off clothes, getting wet, washing, arms up to wash hair and drying off and getting dressed are really a lot in one go. You can't really pace yourself that much either because I get really cold otherwise. I have noticed now it is cold that if (and it's a big if) I can get the hairdryer onto my hair and roughly dry it it stops me getting really chilled from having wet hair. I never used to bother but we've had a cold winter and I think it does make a difference. Play havoc with my arms though.

    I find baths tiring too - I think it is the temperature. When it is warm (can't stand it too hot) it soothes my aches but I find it zaps my energy afterwards.
  16. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

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    I'm thinking now that there is a lot of multi-tasking for our bodies in showering. The combination of responding to the temperature differences and sensations, as well as making all those movements, often standing and bending--that involves a lot of adjusting for the hypothalamus. Our HPA axis doesn't cope well and brain veers off with multi-tasking--Got to let the cat out!

    Sing
  17. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member

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    I have a shower every week or so when my husband can help me but usually I just use baby wipes morning and night.

    They had a donation drive locally to collect baby wipes for the marines in Iraq. If they are good enough for marines they are good enough for me :Retro smile:

    Mithriel
  18. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Hi Ronan (and all) - yup, I've got all these problems and have to make do with a flannel wash most days. I find it helped to have my hair cut! It used to be below shoulder length and I had it cut so it's maybe about three inches all over or so. Loads easier to wash because there's less of it and very little effort to dry (of course holding up a hairdryer is also tiring). If it's too much to wash myself and my hair at the same time, I do them separately a few hours apart (in which case I dunk my head in the sink rather than get in the shower with it). Pacing! It's everything!

    Incidentally I look loads better with short hair even though I didn't expect to so don't rule it out, ladies...
  19. Orla

    Orla Senior Member

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    I started a thread here about water free washing

    http://forums.aboutmecfs.org/showthread.php?2216-Water-free-washing-(hair-and-body)

    For people having difficulty with standing in the shower you can buy a shower seat, either with or without a back to it. They should not be too expensive. Some shower seats can be attached to the wall, and they fold up when not in use, but that would be more expensive as you would need someone to attach it and also it would probably need to be a solid wall etc.

    Personally I rarely dry my hair as it is too much effort. I just let it dry naturally. I also cut my hair shorter and this makes life easier.

    Orla
  20. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Showers bring on for me the same symptoms as exercise - hot burning muscles (and skin feeling) except all that is happening is water is splashing against my skin. I gave them up years ago. I'm not deconditioned etc., I don't have trouble lifting my arms over my head or anything - its a weird, weird reaction.

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