As I write this week’s column, summer has arrived with a vengeance. If temperatures, currently at 30 C (86 F), go any higher, all that will be left of me is a puddle and some bushy eyebrows. I am the human equivalent of an abandoned ice cream scoop on a hot sidewalk. I am disintegrating like the Wicked Witch of the West.
Madrid, where I currently reside, is so hot that birds are fanning themselves. It is so sweltering that even my sun-devoted dogs search for shady areas from which to stare at me with accusatory eyes that ask, “Why did you bring us to hell?!”
Personally, I can’t blame them. Jarvis is especially grumpy, and no amount of frozen banana is going to change that. I do love the hot weather, the lighter clothes, and the excuse to wear sunglasses all the time. And few things are as blissful as a walk on a golden summer evening. The problem is that my endometriosis-ridden body can’t cope with the heat.
So, other than eating all of the dairy-free ice cream, what does one do when hormonally challenged and very, very hot?
Set reminders to drink water
This is the time of year when I get migraines at the drop of a sun hat. Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more is my rule. I try to avoid sugary drinks as much as I can, which isn’t easy. Ultimately, simple water is what keeps my migraines away, with a bonus superpower of aiding my digestive troubles.
Goodbye heating pad, hello TENS machine
As much as I love clutching my hot water bottle, during the hotter months, this is a big no-no. This is when my gadget for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, works best at easing any pelvic pain.
Naps whenever, wherever
I suffer from chronic fatigue often, and it worsens during summer months. My limbs feel heavy, and my brain is foggy. So I nap at stupid hours.
Today, I took a nap at 11 a.m., right before my dogs’ midday walk. I don’t even argue with my brain. If it says, “Close your eyes,” I simply do.
The issue is not a lack of sleep, as my fatigue will still be there after sleeping. But a power nap of no longer than 30 minutes acts as a refresher — while my body may still ache, I get back some precious focus.
Turn my warm drinks into cold ones
Endometriosis can bring on early perimenopause, which often comes with symptoms such as hot flashes. In the summer, these can become unbearable, and my favorite way to cool down is to turn my usual hot drinks into frappé versions. Tea turns into iced tea, and the same applies to coffee and my morning matcha latte. I just add a ton of ice to everything, use an empty jar as a shaker, and happily sip away.
While I can’t fight my body’s reaction to the heat, I can manage it. Yes, I spend most of the season in the shade, covered in sunscreen, preferably under a giant hat, and behind huge sunglasses. After all, I’ve been a creature of darkness since birth, way before endometriosis turned me into a grumpy one.
Summer is an opportunity to be kinder to ourselves. It is a season that calls for spending time outdoors. The heat can be draining, so learning to set boundaries and enact plans that prioritize our health is not only OK, it is essential.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.
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