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The Difficulties of Showering When You Have MS.

The Difficulties of Showering When You Have MS

MS has a profound impact on so many aspects of the lives of those living with this condition, both big and small. While the “big” stuff is talked about more frequently, like treatments, doctor appointments, etc, the “little” stuff is just as important. One of the contributors at MultipleSclerosis.net, Devin Garlit, recently wrote an article about the unexpected perils of showering with MS. The simple act of showering can really be taken for granted when you don’t think about all of the factors involved. Between slippery surfaces, temperature changes, and even needing the energy to stand up for an extended period of time, showering with MS is not simple, nor easy. Our community members really identified with Devin’s sentiments, and they even shared their own thoughts and experiences with us. Here are some of the highlights from the feedback from our community on Devin’s article.

Showering and MS

Read Devin’s article here.

Comments

  • bstraiton
    9 months ago

    Having problems showering was one of the first things that happened after my diagnosis. For about the first year I just delt with it by showering at night. Didn’t like that bc I had very long thick and curly hair and would always look terrible by the next morning. After that wasn’t enough and being sick of frizzy flat hair I decided I needed to change my shower routines to accommodate my new lack of energy. I only washed my hair once a week sometimes 2 but since I’m half black I never washed my hair every day. My long hair was the 1 thing I refused to let MS change or take away from me for many years. Basic routine was rinse w lotion soap daily, well most of the days. Some I’d be too worn out from work to do anything. Then every other was shave underarms and every 4th day shave legs and by day 6 or 7 I’d be ready to wash my hair. Once I stopped working bc of the MS I was very depressed and not taking care of myself very well. I spent almost an entire year living my few waking hrs in my room in bed. It took me a long time to accept my diagnosis and attempt to move on. I got lucky with getting a new job in an office instead of a kitchen. Excelled like never before for 10 mo(most of which I was getting high dose iv steroids every other week). I absolutely loved it til one day I broke down crying at my desk mid call and went home. Never ended up being able to go back. That killed me. The workaholic who can’t work…thats me. Fast forward a couple years and I was pregnant ready to have a baby. Within days of her birth I went into the worst relapse I’d ever experienced at that point. Add on post partum depression and being a stay at home mom and taking care of myself was out the door. All I could muster was just enough to keep my baby happy and healthy. Before I knew it she was a year old and I looked at myself thinking what have I done to myself. We had been in a house with benches in both shower stalls for 6 mo yet hadn’t cared. New years eve 2017 after weeks of attempting to save my hair I chopped it off. It was terribly sad yet freeing at the same time. It was my last bit of myself left after MS had taken so much from me. Cutting it off meant a new me for a new year. Ever since I’ve gone back into my showering routine and have kept my hair short for easier care. We just moved so time to buy a shower chair again!

  • Alina Ahsan moderator
    9 months ago

    Wow, bstraiton, thank you so much for opening up and sharing your experiences here. The amount that you have been through and overcome is nothing short of incredible! Not being able to work when it’s so important to you is just one of the worst things that MS can take, and I’m so sorry you had to experience that, along with the awful relapse and postpartum depression. I know that with everything else you’ve had to deal with, cutting your hair might seem like a small thing, but I completely understand what a difficult decision that must have been. I’m so glad that it felt freeing and has made your showering routine a little easier. Taking care of yourself is so important, but with everything else that MS throws at you, it can seem like the first thing to go! I wanted to share this article about finding that balance from one of our contributors, Dianne, with you in case you’re interested: https://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/keep-little-bit-yourself/
    Take care, and I hope I continue to see you around the community!
    -Alina, MultipleSclerosis.net

  • Lauraed613
    10 months ago

    I just got my shower chair and it was the best investment I’ve made yet! I actually had the energy to blow dry my hair after my shower.

  • amy5677
    10 months ago

    Definitely closing my eyes makes challenges and so does the hot water. I used to LOVE steaming hot showers. Now, if it’s too hot, I can barely walk after. My body tingles and I go very weak and have problems walking. It’s worse after a stressful day at work.

  • Estelle
    1 year ago

    I wash my hair in the kitchen sink and have my sink to hang on to. My balance is way off. Walk with a limp to balance myself if I have nothing to hold me up. Still take my dog for a walk but slower than before. He counts on me. This MS has taken a huge toll on my life. When I took care of my lovely home and huge property I count on my youngest son and his son to mow my lawn and take care of my beautiful gardens. He sprayed the wooded area today. I cannot imagine what people with MS do without someone to care.
    I have three other children that abandoned me years ago. I think they were afraid I would use their time. No way.

  • kefranklin
    1 year ago

    I bought a shower stool a few months ago and it was worth every penny. Some days I don’t need it, but I’m pretty sure having it has prevented injury in several ways. At first, I felt I needed it because I have difficulty maintaining my balance when I close my eyes, but it is also much easier to shower when I am tired if I have access to my stool. An added benefit that I didn’t even think about before is that now, after I am finished showering, I can open the shower door and just sit there on the stool until my body equilibriates to the difference between the shower area and the actual bathroom. It makes a world of difference, not stepping right out of the shower and into the bathroom, as minimal as actual measurable difference may be in such a small space.

  • jennyb
    2 years ago

    I went from recovering from a broken leg to MS, so a shower chair is the way to go. It was a big deal when I could make it to the chair without help. ( hated having my husband see me naked and try to hold on to a slippery naked thing.

  • BillieLewandoski
    3 years ago

    Before diagnoses and even right after until I started my treatments, showers for me was pure torture. By the time I was done washing my hair and started shaving my legs, I was losing the ability to stay standing. I would end up sitting on the floor of the tub and finishing my shower sitting. The worst part was, I was now stuck and my 13 year old son now had to help me get out of the tub. My husband was in the US Navy and was out to sea at this time. I cried tears of joy when I finally was on my treatments and could take a whole shower with no problems.

  • Teri
    3 years ago

    Showering is going well for me except… To wash your hair you better close your eyes or shampoo will get in your eyes. That is when problems can start. Close my eyes. There goes the balance. Sometimes it is worse than others but with handrails and using one hand to wash hair…and/or use a chair, it can work.

  • Devin Garlit moderator
    3 years ago

    Closing my eyes for anything brings some balancing issues for me too. Having some hand rails sounds like it’d make it much, much easier (I kind of wish there were handrails everywhere!).

  • Theresa
    3 years ago

    I have cut back to showering every other day to conserve energy. I also must rest after showering. I have long hair that requires blow drying which also taxes my energy reserves. It can be frustrating but I’m too vain to cut my hair!

  • Azjackie
    3 years ago

    I have long hair and exhaustion after showering too. I leave my hair in the towel and lay down to relax after a shower until I have the energy to continue.

  • Bill in Montreal
    3 years ago

    I love your site and the daily posts are helpful.

    However, this particular post is a problem. I hate articles set up in this manner that require the reader to click a NEXT button to continue. Usually it is for no reason. It can be an unnecessary hardship for someone with MS affecting the fingers/dexterity. So to see a site devoted to MS do this seems very odd to say the least.

    Please avoid this style going forward. I would much rather have it all on one page that I can scroll down.

  • CaityTea
    3 years ago

    Showering leaves my whole body tingling for hours. It feels like there’s bugs crawling all over my body. It’s so uncomfortable!

  • Azjackie
    3 years ago

    I noticed I had that tingly feeling after a really good hot shower. For me I now start hot and take the temp down near the end. It has helped.

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