Sick From Showering (With Fibro)? This Might be Why.

It near never fails. I’m having a good pain/symptom day and am excited to get some things done. I hop in a shower and like clockwork, halfway through the symptoms start. By the time I finally manage to get dressed, I need to lie down. I’m dizzy, have vertigo, am light headed and nauseous, again. This isn’t a fluke, instead it’s more like one of the myriad of regular symptoms I live with, with Fibromyalgia. And once I’m down from one of these episodes, I’m down for hours.

I’m pretty accustomed, now, to living with a wide range of crazy, inexplicable and life limiting symptoms. Typically, we are never able to find a root cause, nor any successful treatment. Instead, we just add them to the list of limitations.

Enter my new Cardiologist. He has truly been a Godsend. After way too many Specialists, he was the one who finally diagnosed my Dysautonomia. So as we sat there, I decided to throw out the question: Why do I always nearly faint when I shower?

And, he had an answer!!! Oh my word!

So forgive the fact that I am neither a Clinician, nor as able to explain as eloquently as he, but here is what he told me:

One of the hallmarks of Fibromyalgia is the inability to regulate your body temperature. Dysautonomia is a dysfunction of the Autonomic Nervous System; which is also responsible for maintaining body temperature, but is also responsible for regulating breathing patterns, heart rate and keeping a steady blood pressure. (etc.)

Take two conditions that both make body temperature regulation a huge challenge and what do we do? We step into a hot, steamy, super humid shower.

The hot water hits and floods our body. So what does our body do? It pulls the blood from major organs and sends it to the skin, to try to regulate that change of temperature to the skin. With less blood flowing to the heart, lungs and brain, those feelings of faintness, nausea, dizziness and lightheadedness set in.

While he couldn’t necessarily explain the reasons why it takes me several hours to recover, my own theory is that it’s just another way that the Fibro affects us; either slowing down the recovery time or making the very incident more profound.

Either way, finally armed with an answer, here are some of the things I now do:

  • Turn down the temperature of the water
  • Shorten the shower
  • Use a vent fan
  • Leave the bathroom door open
  • Leave the end of the shower curtain open
  • Open a window
  • Leave a shower for last, in case an episode does present
  • Use a shower chair or install safety handles
  • Shave outside the shower (Terri from Reclaiming Hope suggested a Flawless Legs shaver)
  • Get to the floor if an episode hits

I can’t necessarily say that I’ve eliminated the “shower effect”, by doing these things, but I can say it no longer happens every single time I shower.

Much like everything else we do, it’s not a fix, it’s about trying to better manage the symptoms we live with, to make life better. And I have to say that not needing 4 hours to recover from every single shower is better.

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Fighting with Fibro and Living With Purpose. Mom, Wife, Blogger and animal lover. Fighting with Chronic Illness on a minute by minute basis; sometimes winning.

21 thoughts on “Sick From Showering (With Fibro)? This Might be Why.

  1. Great post Space! I used to have the same problem with showering. I did some of the same things you did – turning down the water temperature, making sure the vent fan was on, and if I started to get woozy but couldn’t get out yet, I’d open the shower curtain a little. I now have a stool in my shower just in case I have issues. I also stopped shaving my legs in the shower, so that helped cut down on how long it takes me. Since I’ve started doing all these things I don’t usually have a problem anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know what I’d do with out my chair. Kinda happened by mistake. I was trying to get the soot of the wall above my tub that the candles I burn make when I’m in the shower. So I put a fold up stool /step in my tub to stand on. I have a major issue with light Brite white . I left the stool in the tub and was going to pull it out when I thought wonder if I can shower and sit on the stool to shave. I loved it . I also have arthritis everywhere and my body especially my legs lock up I have bad knees and I’m only 55 next week. The highlight of my day is sitting in the steamy shower at the hottest setting and shaving my legs ,brushing my teeth , scrubbing my feet ECT inhaveba little routine. When I get out I’m 100 percent pain free. You don’t realize your always in pain you just don’t know till you have none for about 20 to 25 min. Every night I’m free.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like you’ve created the perfect little haven in your shower. I think that’s great! Especially given it gives you freedom from the pain. And let’s face it, freedom is Heaven!


  2. Insane right? I thought I was losing my mind. I actually never knew this was part of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Stacey you were the first one who mentioned this previously and I’m so very glad you did as I was relieved to know it wasn’t my mind playing tricks on me. I now for the past 2 years leave the door open and the shower curtain as well. I also love hot water but go back and forth with changing it so I don’t over heat. I also don’t stay in as long as I used to. As always Stacey I thank you for sharing your experiences with us as it definitely makes us feel connected and united with our fibro struggles. 🙏🏻❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sandy, I’m so glad you liked the post!! I was struck down for hours yesterday (after showering) and decided it was time for that discussion to become a post.
      And that’s exactly it, Sandy….I have had so very, very many symptoms that just don’t make sense: from my fingernails all lifting off (not a fungus 😉), to my hair breaking and falling out, to my eyesight suddenly becoming so blurry I can’t see.. I go to the Doctor and either they’re dismissed, quickly labeled as “part of it” or I go through a multitude of tests to arrive at no answers. It leaves me feeling like an unintelligent hypochondriac sometimes. So when I feel like this, I imagine so are other people “like me”. That’s why I share. It can be a very frightening and isolating life to live. So if I go through something, I throw it out there, because I never know who may be going through what I am. So as you have said several times: we’re stronger together ❤️ I hope you are having a manageable day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I so rebate to everything that you share. You are probably the one who has given me more Information in what I have and experience than any of the drs I’ve seen. You have no idea how much you have helped me. His bless you. Praying for you and hoping today is a better day!


  4. Interesting…..I shortened my showers and always open the bathroom door as soon as I step out. Like I can shower in 3 minutes, I timed myself! I would feel weird after a hot shower, but I never connected it to my fibro.


  5. Crikey, Stace, that’s not fun to experience, and very dangerous too. I’m glad you had a specialist to figure it out and you’re right about how it’s a case of trying to find new ways around health issues and problems, like a challenge we need to think outside the box for. A portable seat in the shower can be great for a lot of people, too, and the rest of your suggestions of what you’ve been trying are fantastic for those who experience similar. I think there should be an asterisk by leave the door open* though – only when there are no guests in the house 😂
    Caz xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Caz, how chronic illness keeps us on our toes! Oh, well actually, for this post, maybe not. Although as you suggested, maybe a shower chair might help keep me on those figurative toes (instead of my tush). I am going to update the post now. A few people have suggested that and it’s a really great idea. Bravo on adding the asterisk. While I’m most often alone, other people may not be, so I’d hate for there to be some awkward surprises. LOL. By the way, I just finished the book you recommended: This Is Going To Hurt. It was great!! Thanks for that! I absolutely love to read, but have a hard time finding great books. I really enjoyed that one.


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