A woman wearing watermelon sunglasses sits in a pool while fanning herself and drinking a big bottle of water

Dealing With Summer Heat and Endometriosis

Summertime heat. It can be hard for everyone to get through, especially for those without a chronic illness. For me, I used to love summer and being outside. My sign is the crab, so I have always been a water lover. But when endometriosis and fibromyalgia started showing up, I began to hate being outside. It almost became a chore for me and sometimes, it even felt like a death sentence.

I know you are thinking, "Well, stay inside where it is cool then!". And while I would love to do that, it just is not possible - or healthy. It is important to get out and be outside. And for many of us, we have jobs to get to, errands to run, etc. Maybe even pets we need to let outside and take care of. And if you are anything like me, no matter how much the heat bothers you, you still love going to the beach or the pool.

So, what can you do to enjoy being outside and making it through the hottest time of the year?

Stay hydrated

And I don’t mean that delicious daiquiri or frozen drink you got your eyes on. I mean water. Be sure to be drinking a lot of water, daily. Especially when it is so hot. Doing so will help boost your body’s ability to regulate body temperature. Find water boring? Try sprucing it up with fresh fruits or make it bubbly (if your stomach can handle it).

Eat

Yes. You read that right.Eating can help you beat the summer heat. If you struggle with drinking water throughout the day, try eating it instead. Water-rich foods can help you stay hydrated on warm days. This can include celery, spinach, pineapples, watermelon, and strawberries, to name a few. However, it is important that you are also eating right. Stay away from foods that aggravate your symptoms. Common trigger foods for me are dairy, sugar and gluten. The more I aggravate my symptoms, the harder it is to handle the heat. Try to look for foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients to help keep your body energized; For me, the heat can definitely cause my fatigue to show-up.

Dress cool and plan accordingly

Try to plan out your days ahead of time. If you know there are going to be some warm days ahead but want to get out, plan indoor activities instead, like movies or bowling. Stick to your outdoor activities on days that won’t be as hot. The hottest part of the day is said to be between 3:00 and 6:00PM. Wearing loose, breathable clothing can also help. Flowing sun dresses are my go-to during the hot weather. There is plenty of room to air out and stay cool in them. Planning to be outside? Make sure you apply your sunscreen, wear a visor and sunglasses, or keep an umbrella to sit under. It is important that if you plan on being outside, you have options on how to get out of the sun for a little while to cool off. Near water? Jump in the pool or swim in the ocean to help cool yourself down.

Avoid things that are hot

This can include taking hot showers. Instead, opt for a cooler shower. Stay away from hair styling products like blow dryers and curling irons. For those with longer hair, if you are willing, maybe cut it for the summer time. This not only makes it easier to style but less hot on your neck.

Cool off

No matter what, leaving the house to go anywhere will cause you to become warm and hot. Try carrying a cooler with some icepacks that you can apply when you are feeling warm or lightheaded. Carry a small battery-operated fan to keep on you. Wear a cold wet cloth around your neck or find a sink where you can splash some cool water on you. And of course, staying in an air-conditioned place to catch your breath and cool down can be helpful.

Why this matters for women with endo

I know a lot of these seem like common sense to most, but it is so crucial that we understand how to take care of ourselves when it is so warm outside. I know for me, I tend to overheat, become fatigue, and get lightheaded very easily since my endometriosis diagnosis. My skin now burns easily and the heat gives me headaches. Making sure I am prepared ahead of time has helped me get through hot days, especially if they involve being outdoors. It is also crucial you speak to your doctor. Some people may need other tools to help them manage through the heat and being outside.

What are some of your summertime tricks you use to help beat the heat? 

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