When "Hot Girl Summer" is Really "IBD Girl Summer"

For some people, summer is the most glorious time of the year.  School's out, the beach awaits, fresh foods are plentiful, and you just can't beat sitting on the deck sipping a cold one as the sun sets after 9pm.  It is pure paradise.

But for others, summer spells trouble.  Social obligations galore, family vacations to places that don't offer easy access to bathrooms, sweltering heat that leads to more dehydration, and the fear of wearing a bathing suit in public overrides the desire to sit by a refreshing pool or ocean.  It is the absolute worst.

If you fall into the latter category, this article is for you.  I was once a "I Hate Summer" team member who has since converted into team "Summer is My Jam".  Making some changes to the typical schedule and traditional activities of the season will allow you to exhale and just enjoy the summer months just as much as the other 9 months of the year. 

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Below are some tips to surviving summer as an IBD patient and making the most out of the hottest season of the year.

IBD summer tips

Hydrate properly

This may seem simple, but there are some hacks that can improve your hydration and how you feel when the temperatures rise.  Sticking with plain water can be just fine, but if you feel like you need a little more energy and if you have been in the heat while also suffering from diarrhea, your electrolytes may be low.  I have found that drinking straight Gatorade or Pedialyte is too sweet and can cause my stomach to feel more upset. So I make ice cubes out of Pedialyte or Gatorade and put them in my water bottles so that they slowly melt and infuse them with some flavor and the electrolytes I need.

You can also use the Pedialyte powder packets and sprinkle half of the amount of powder into your water bottle if you feel that the full amount is too sweet.  I always throw some powder packets in my beach bag, glove compartment, and purse so I can boost my electrolytes at anytime just by adding water.

Pack extras of everything

When traveling, always pack extra clothes and underwear, and don't be afraid to keep an "emergency kit" in your car should you have an accident before getting to a bathroom.  If you are going to a place where you are unsure of the bathroom situation, be sure to include extra wipes and hand sanitizer in the event there is no toilet paper or soap.  Knowing I have extra supplies on me relieves some anxiety of using public bathrooms, which can actually calm my stomach down since I am not worrying about the facilities.

Set boundaries

It is ok to say "no" to activities, commitments, and anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.  I have worked with clients who have passed on boating trips where bathrooms were not available, concert tickets in the General Admission section, and relying on someone else driving to an event so that they did not have to worry about needing a bathroom in an inconvenient time.  It took some practice to get them to say "no" to the events, but they always ended up pleased with the decision they made so that they could enjoy events without the worry of being stranded somewhere without a bathroom.  I have also passed on camping trips and long drives in other people's cars so that I could feel more secure knowing there were bathrooms when and where I needed them.

Get the most out of anything

You may not be able to enjoy every activity of the summer, but there surely are events and aspects of the season that you can enjoy, and should to the fullest!  Pick your favorite activities and do them as much as you can while the weather is warm, and use the extra daylight to do something special early in the morning and later in the evening when things quiet down and the sun isn't as hot.  Modifications during the hotter temps are expected, and once you find something that brings you joy, you will have something to look forward to in an otherwise challenging season.

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Question for the reader

What are some ways you handle the heat, activities, and social events of the summer?

Treatment results and side effects can vary from person to person. This treatment information is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor about what to expect before starting and while taking any treatment.
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