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clairc

Severe Symptoms After Swimming

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Hi!

Does anyone else here get severe symptoms after swimming?

I went swimming with my family on Friday. I am in poor physical condition, I can only walk very short distances and several health professions have recommended swimming as being great for someone with joint hypermobility and POTS. The trouble is every time I go swimming I am hit with severe symptoms when I get out of the pool which last for a couple of days.

I went in the shallow teaching pool, the water temp was 32C (89F), I spent 30 minutes in the water just floating, holding on to the edge and floating my legs out and I swam a few of widths, no more than 50m in total with a breaks in between.

As soon as I got out of the pool I felt ill. The usual feeling that your body is ten times heavier out of the water didn't go away, I could barely put one foot in front of the other, I felt dizzy, incredibly weak, I found it difficult to talk and my speech was slurred. When I tried to get changed I realised I was shaking, I was also very pale.

I felt like this for the next 24 hours, My pain levels also increased even though I did very little exercise. 48 hours later I still feel pretty rough and I've been dizzy all day.

This happens every time I go swimming. I posted my experience on another forum and a couple of people suggestion it might be a autonomic dysfunction thing. I've been offered a few hydrotherapy sessions but I'm cautious about taking them. If I get so sick after 30 minute relaxing in the pool how could I cope with an hour of exercise?

Does anyone else get like this after swimming? Have you found anything that works to relieve the symptoms?

Clair

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I have had low Bp after getting out of a pool. I feel really good in the water though. I haven't experienced what you are dealing with.

Swimming has been good for me. I hope you are able to try again. I don't swim laps. I have taken swim exercise classes though.

I have a few thoughts.

Is is possible that the water is too warm? I swim in colder water. Even in the winter I swim in the "cold" indoor pool. What you described is similar to how I felt (before I was diagnosed) after getting into a hot tub. Cold water doesn't feel as comfortable but I know it's better for me.

Also could you be over exercising? When I first started water exercise I made myself sick by overdoing it. It felt so good to be in the water I didn't realize how much exercise I was getting. Over exertion make me very sick.

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If it's an indoor pool, then for me those are impossible to handle. It's too humid in those places, so no matter what I'm doing (sitting, lying down, in water), my HR is always too high and I feel sick.

The water can be too hot as well.

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I tend to have the same problem with swimming. I've found it interesting that some people w POTS find it helpful. My symptoms are typically mild but I get that very heavy feeling you are describing after getting out of a pool. I agree that a warm pool may be worse with this effect.

Floor exercises, like Pilates or yoga that could be done lying down or sitting helped me the most with regaining strength after being very ill w POTS.

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Thanks for the replies!

I didn't feel like I'd overdone it in the pool. I felt pretty good apart from being a little breathless, but I always get like that in humid conditions. As soon as I started to feel tired I got out, then it hit me. It was like being hit by a truck, my body and brain struggled to function and I felt dreadful.

I don't know what my blood pressure was when I got out of the pool but by the time I got home it was a little lower than normal. My temperature was also a little lower than normal. It's almost like my body can't handle the transition from water to land. I posted this on another forum and a couple of people wondered if it was the compression effect of the water and then the loss of it when I got out.

I am pretty deconditioned, I've been ill for 23 years, only diagnosed with POTS and joint hypermobility syndrome last year. Everyone wants to me exercise to improve my POTS but I feel like I'm in a catch 22 situation because my POTS symptoms are preventing me from exercising. What is the point of spending 30 minutes in the pool doing LESS than my physio wants me to do, when it makes me feel so ill I have to spend the next 2 days in bed recovering doing LESS than I normally would. That's not improving things, that's making them worse.

I have started private Pilates lessons but I am struggling with it. Being on the floor and the slow breathing makes me very light headed and dizzy and pelvic pain from adhesions makes it very painful to tighten my pelvic floor. I'm going to try and continue thought, at least it's doesn't make me ill like swimming does, or cause my knees and hips to flare up like cycling does.

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Hi Clair, I suspect it is the high temperature of the water. You were in for half an hour which is a long time in that kind of heat. I know I would feel all those things you mention if I spent even half that length of time in water that hot. My body just can't thermoregulate effectively and it takes a very long time to get over it. Do you have a similar experience after a bath? I suspect it is about how your body handles heat. It is so frustrating when well meaning people suggest things to help that trigger other issues.
Hope you find another solution.
R


I went in the shallow teaching pool, the water temp was 32C (89F), I spent 30 minutes in the water just floating, holding on to the edge and floating my legs out and I swam a few of widths, no more than 50m in total with a breaks in between.

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Considering I feel that ' very heavy feeling' just from standing around outside when it's warm, sitting in 89 degree water would definitely cause those symptoms to worsen! I would suggest a cold water pool for sure. I am curious about this though, b/c i am about to start swimming therapy to get into better shape, and was worried about the heat factor too. hoping the water is cold enough to counter the sun's effects.

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Thanks for the replies. Apart from a slight difficulty in breathing (which I get in high humidity) I felt great when I was in the water. It was only when I got out that I started to feel very ill.

I have hot baths to help with the joint pain and whilst they do flare up my POTS symtoms sometimes, they do not affect me in the same way. The bath water is hotter and I can stay in there for longer than 30 minutes so I don't think it was just the temperature of the water, although that may have been a factor.

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i suppose the posture change might have something to do with it. floating around horizontally, then standing up to get out of the pool might cause a blood pressure drop?

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The more I think about it the more I think it might be a sudden drop in blood pressure when I get out of the pool.

The water applies pressure to my body when I am upright, kind of like a giant compression body suit. As soon as I get out of the water that compression is gone and my body has to work very hard to cope with the transition, and that's on top of coping with a temperature change (warm water to cooler air) fatigue (having to work harder to move on land than in water) and trying to keep my balance walking with a stick on the wet poolside floor.

My POTS isn't really under control at the moment. I'm not on any drugs, just fluids and more salt in my food. My POTS nurse wants me to exercise more to improve my symptoms but I think swimming is not the best choice of exercise for me as it just makes the symptoms so much worse.

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NO.

Swimming is miraculous for me. The anti gravity and cold/cool water is great.

I highly suspect 89 is WAY WAY too high to cool your inner core.

I think you may be overheating.----basically a heat illness with your internal organs making you sick.

You might want to try a cold pool or lake and see if you notice an immediate difference.

Edited by corina
medical advice

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none of my business, but ive never heard of a POTS patient being helped by hot baths.

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@Spinner I have POTS secondary to Joint Hypermobility Syndrome. I have a lot of joint and muscle pain, and hot baths are very helpful im that respect, although they do temporarily worsen my POTS symptoms.

I don't do well in cold temperatures. My muscles go into spasm and it takes me a very long time to get warm again. I guess we're all different.

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For sure we're different, we can be cold/heat sensitive or both.

But Im wondering out loud, you feel good in the pool, but feel poor immediately after......

For one thing, usually an indoor pool is a hot area and highly humid. I get immediately out of there

into the locker room for a cool shower or I'd be very weak quickly.

Also, lactic acid may be building up in your muscles.

ALSO, you might want to look into periodic paralysis with an endo. Its an emptying of all

potassium into your bloodstream with exertion. I take potassium for this.

I dont know much about vasodilation, but perhaps your ANS is trying to make an adjustment and

youre going into a serious immediate syncope and then perhpas your bloodstream is flooding

with adrenaline???

Just throwing out ideas, we all know how complex these things can get---just everyday things

normal people never even think about.

In my case i cant stand being in temps above about 75 degrees, and if indoor, lower. It completely

dominates my life.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I guess I'm just trying to understand everything better. So many health care professionals have recommended swimming and they don't seem to appreciate how ill it makes me feel. They assume I am unwilling to attempt exercise or blame my problems on doing too much too soon. I don't seem to be able to improve on any kind of exercise I try, it just makes everything worse.

I recently saw a physio about my joint hypermobility syndrome and the only help they can offer is hydrotherapy but I'm reluctant to take it following my post swimming experiences. Unfortunately no-one is really interested in finding out why I get such severe symptoms upon leaving the water so I'm pretty much on my own here.

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clairc, before I started octreotide, I tried a rehab programme that included hydrotherapy. I was lifted in the pool (while seated in a special wheelchair). I could only be supine, floating around with floaters using my legs a little. They needed to get me out of the pool supine because as soon as I put my legs down (in the special pool wheelchair) I started fainting. It was great to be able to be in the pool as they had all the facilities to get me in and out but long term it did nothing for me.

Also, after they wheeled me out they had to get me dry and dressed and in my powerchair as I wasn't able to do that myself. This is not to scare you, just to let you know that you're not alone in having difficulties when leaving the pool!

After I started octreotide I was able to get into the pool myself and leave it walking most of the time. I still have problems now and then but things are much better than before! I love to go swimming at rehab once a week now!

Maybe it will help you to try the hydrotherapy as suggested. When you'll have problems at least there's someone with you. Just a thought!

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Thanks for the suggestions. I guess I'm just trying to understand everything better. So many health care professionals have recommended swimming and they don't seem to appreciate how ill it makes me feel. They assume I am unwilling to attempt exercise or blame my problems on doing too much too soon. I don't seem to be able to improve on any kind of exercise I try, it just makes everything worse.

I recently saw a physio about my joint hypermobility syndrome and the only help they can offer is hydrotherapy but I'm reluctant to take it following my post swimming experiences. Unfortunately no-one is really interested in finding out why I get such severe symptoms upon leaving the water so I'm pretty much on my own here.

At least we have dinet where there are people who can join minds and throw out ideas.

I guess we've all figured out no one can really understand unless they've gone down the path.

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Hi Clarc:

I can't believe someone else has the same symptoms when exiting the pool!  I get it in the bathtub as well. My legs feel like they have 50 lb weights on them when I get out of the pool.  It almost feels like I have had a support stocking on and then when I get out all the tissue is just hanging off my body. It makes it hard to walk like you feel like you have to like your legs up high to move.  Then my heart is pounding horribly to catch the blood up.  It almost feels like the blood is pooled in my calves.  

Thank you fro sharing so I can know I am not the only one.

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Hi Clair, persevere with the Pilates but politely tell the teacher that you have to modify your breathing to what suits you best. I've been doing Stott Pilates for 6 years now but can't do what I call the 'whoosh' breathing or I'd collapse. As long as you breathe in and out it doesn't matter! If teacher is funny about it, find one who understands. 

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I know this is an old post but it's the only thing I could find. I've tried to explain these symptoms to people and I just sound crazy! It's not water temp, or over exertion. It's not blood pressure or Sun exposure. I've tried many times to over come this by forcing myself through it only to feel worse in the end. My two younger daughter's have also explained they have the same issue. I feel like I weigh 500lbs once I'm out of the water. I just feel off like having the flu for the next 2 or 3 days after swimming depending on how long I've been in the water.  Water never gets in my ears, and it happens every time.  At least finding someone else that suffers from whatever this is let's me know I'm not crazy. 

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Interesting.... I used to find swimming helped because I could actually move without getting dizzy, but now being at a pool (even without going in) is really really difficult. It's like kryptonite. I am not sure why. Is it the noise? Humidity? visual stimulation of the moving water? I don't know, but now and then I force myself to go (thinking it's in my head because I can't understand it)... and invariably I end up a mess.... Any body else? Ideas? 

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The last time i had the same issues you described. I stumbled to the nearest table and fell asleep for 20 minutes. I felt good in the water. Did too much and went to get out. It was before my new meds though. So hopefully it will be better this year. 

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