Sunday, February 7, 2016

Showers Are My New Enemy

To shower or not, that is the question.  This is something that is ridiculous and a quote that I never dreamed of saying.  But, showering has become my enemy.  Because of my Orthostatic Hypotension or POTS, taking a shower now ruins my day.
Showers

Four years ago I noticed that after my shower, dizziness would many times cause me to go to the floor as soon as I got out.  I would have to lay there until I felt the dizzy spell pass.  This was a short spell four years ago.  But, as time has passed the spells have grown longer and longer.  
Now, the dizziness includes such weakness!  Many hours are often involved in resting after my shower.  I never know how long I would be out of commission.  I’m just helpless to this problem and it’s so annoying.
I’ve been diagnosed by my GP with Orthostatic Hypotension, but not with POTS.  Most people with Ehlers Danlos have POTS.  When I asked my GP about POTS, he said “What is POTS?”.
Showers Blood Pressure


Signs and Symptoms of POTS
While the diagnostic criteria focus on the abnormal heart rate increase upon standing, POTS usually presents with symptoms much more complex than a simple increase in heart rate. It is fairly common for POTS patients to have a drop in blood pressure upon standing, but some POTS patients have no change or even an increase in blood pressure upon standing.1 
POTS patients often have hypovolemia (low blood volume) and high levels of plasma norepinephrine while standing, reflecting increased sympathetic nervous system activation.3 Approximately 50% of 
POTS patients have a small fiber neuropathy that impacts their sudomotor nerves. Many POTS patients also experience fatigue, headaches, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, exercise intolerance, nausea, diminished concentration, tremulousness (shaking), syncope (fainting), coldness or pain in the extremities, chest pain and shortness of breath.
1,3,4 Patients can develop a reddish purple color in the legs upon standing, believed to be caused by blood pooling or poor circulation. The color change subsides upon returning to a reclined position. (http://www.dysautonomiainternational.org/page.php?ID=30)

This webpage from 
Dysautonomiainternational.org explains the symptoms so well.  POTS can take so much out of a person.  After my shower, I feel: fatigue, lightheadedness, palpitations, shortness of breath, and nausea.  
Showers Chest pain

So, if I had plans to do anything at all, those plans are stopped.  It’s frustrating, but the treatments aren’t the best.  I do follow the plan, which is plenty of water and added salt in my diet.  My blood pressure is usually very low, so the salt isn’t a worry.  
Eating a healthy diet and compression stockings can also be beneficial.  There are some medications that are used to treat POTS, but I haven’t been on these.  

My next step is to measure my water intake, and try the compression stockings.  Then, find a doctor and see about diagnosis.  I have been getting much worse with this problem, and missing too much of life.  No one should be this afraid of a shower!

@2016, copyright Lisa Ehrman



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