I really think that more people need to be informed about heat-sensitivity in those who have MS. Increased heat and humidity temporarily worsen all of my MS symptoms.
The simple task of taking a daily shower is an excellent example: if I have the water too hot, I will inevitably experience decreased sensation in my legs. Sometimes, this numbness is accompanied by temporary difficulty with walking.
Prior to having MS, I used to run in the summer, no matter how hot or humid it was. I enjoyed going for long bicycle rides, too. I really miss those carefree days, before my body betrayed me.
Now, I have to be extremely careful about how much time I spend in hot weather. If not, I risk having blurred vision, increased fatigue, numbness, impaired coordination, and dizziness.
Obviously, this heat sensitivity has always been very challenging. The difficulties increased exponentially when I entered perimenopause within the past year!
Having profuse hot flashes is uniquely miserable, as any given middle-aged woman will tell you. Experiencing a sweltering hot flash when you have heat-sensitive MS is nearly unbearable.
This past June, such hot flashes induced total numbness in my legs, resulting in two serious falls. The first time, I fell face-forward, on concrete! Facial abrasions, increased pain, and spinal misalignment followed.
This necessitated increased rest, pain medication, application of ice, multiple chiropractic adjustments, as well as a cortisone injection in my lower back. Two such falls, in less than 10 days, urged me to discuss the option of hormone replacement therapy with my primary care physician.
No longer were my hot flashes simply uncomfortable, they were downright unsafe. I’m happy to report that I have had excellent results since I started hormone replacement therapy; although I still have hot flashes, they are not as frequent, nor are they as severe. Ladies, there are definitely effective options for dealing with “personal summers.”