How I’m Trying to Cope with Hot Weather and IBD
I blogged a while ago about summertime and IBD. For some of us, it’s the time of year when we’re happiest: our vitamin D is topped up and our stomach is calm. Yet for many people, like myself, hot weather and IBD is a nightmare: leading to fatigue, awful stomach symptoms and just generally feeling awful! And it’s not just in our heads; studies have proven heat waves increase your chances of a flare-up.1
Today, as Britain is in its second week of a heatwave, I wanted to share the small things I am trying to do to cope. I’m well aware (and praying for the fact!) then when this post is actually published, Britain may be back to its traditional rainy ways-but I know many of you reading this live in countries where the heat waves go on for months at end! So, where you are from, I do hope my experiences of coping with Crohn’s in hot weather is useful (unless you’re from Antarctica-in which case, can I come and live with you?)
Hydration, Hydration, Hydration!
I’m desperately trying to stay hydrated in this heat and have resorted to all sorts of ways to get my H20. Water is an obvious one and I’ve invested in a water tracking bottle to ensure I’m drinking as much as I think I am! However, it’s not just about water. In fact, when we’re dehydrated we can lose vital electrolytes like sodium and potassium (especially true if you have a stoma). So I’ve been making sure I add sugar and salt (yep I said salt!) to my smoothies! Of course, if you are dehydrated; electrolyte replacement mixes are your best bet-but salt and sugar are two things are body can lack when we’re dehydrated; so it can be a good preventative.
I’ve also turned everything I can possibly can into an ice lolly (or a popsicle for our US friends). I’ll make morning juices and smoothies and pop into ice lolly moulds; knowing I have some refreshing and hydrating for later.
Coping with not wanting to eat
I really don’t want to sit down and eat proper meals. Not only because my stomach is protesting but because of the effort it takes to cook and heat-related nausea. I’m trying to make sure what I do eat is nutritionally sound; so having juices and smoothies for breakfast are a great way of getting some nutrition without having to eat much.
Unfortunately, salads and plates of fresh fruit sound delicious-but they’re not at all suitable for my stomach. Anything raw and uncooked is a no-go for me! But lighter dishes like grilled fish and chicken work well with cooked vegetables such as sweet potato. This is where my freezer has come in handy. Not to sit in it (Although, that would be nice)but I’ve stocked up on easy to cook, straight-from-the-freezer foods such as sweet potato fries, ready-made smoothie mixes and marinated fish.
There are many things to consider with clothing. Are they bloat-friendly, do they have a tight waistband and, let’s be honest, do they have lots of buttons making it impossible to navigate when dashing to the loo? Of course, the heat means I also need to find something that is loose and covers me up-since the downside of immunosuppressants is increased sensitivity to the sun. Harem pants are the best thing ever invented and I’m living in them and floaty empire-waist dresses at the moment.
A cooling pillow was one of the best things I’ve ever purchased for evenings and I’m now considering buying some bamboo sheets as I’ve heard these have cooling properties too. I don’t go anywhere without my handheld fan either.
To be honest, I’ve kind of accepted now that Crohn’s+heat are NOT a good combination. It’s frustrating because it’s out of our control but I’m hopeful this too shall pass: the nights will get colder, my stomach will get calmer and I’ll feel as if I’m actually functioning again. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take too long…