I love the sunshine as much as the next guy – especially as it tends to appear somewhat randomly in Scotland. That said, the past week seems to be further proof that anything taken to excess usually ends up kicking you in the ass! For example, this week has seen temperatures consistently around the 25 degree Celsius mark with humidity levels getting to around 96%. My point here is not to moan about the weather. My point here is that excessively warm/hot/humid weather can wreak havoc with the symptoms you may normally experience with Crohn’s Disease.
One of the big learning points that Crohn’s Disease has taught me is that my body works best when there is some sort of natural rhythm to the day. Call it habit, routine, regularity or predictability if you will. My body knows that I tend to get up around the same time every morning. It knows that I will exercise. It knows that I will feed it with stuff that will not aggravate it. It knows that I will be doing my best to keep stress levels low. It knows that I will go to bed at roughly the same time every night. It also knows that the external environment (aka: work, weather etc) will be fairly consistent.
However, when the variables in the equation of life fall out with what your body expects – or can tolerate – there is usually some sort of price to be paid. After all, we know what excessively stressful situations, eating the wrong foods or not getting enough quality sleep can do to exacerbate the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. Weather is another such variable that most people tend not to think about – and quite rightly so. Even the weather has natural cycles and rhythms that your body will come to know and adapt to. When we have a fierce cold snap in winter or a bit of a heat wave in summer (basically whenever the temperature goes nuts) your body is essentially hit with an unexpected situation and it may react in unfavourable ways. Personally speaking, in the case of excessively hot/humid conditions, this usually means that I feel waaaay more lethargic than usual. My concentration and co-ordination suffer. Bowel movements can be considerably looser and the bowels themselves tend to cramp up more. My allergies go mental and my joints can give me all sorts of grief too. Any of this sounding familiar? I also tend to find that cold weather is not really an issue for me as I can keep warm a lot easier than I can keep cool.
Just be aware that when the proverbial mercury heads north, the symptoms you can experience with Crohn’s Disease may seem/feel a bit worse than at any other time. So, aside from doing the usual Crohnie thing of just sucking it up and getting on with it, the options for keeping cooler when unexpectedly excessive hot/humid conditions strike are fairly limited. Fans, ice packs, light clothing, cool/cold showers, lowering activity levels, keeping well hydrated and the glories of air conditioning all play their part. As always, you have to do whatever works best for you. Hopefully this post has been of use and given you a wee insight as to why you should keep an extra-vigilant eye on the weather report at this time of year