Why is my POTS worse in the summer?

Woman with sunglasses and tilted head in a green tank top.  Caption reads
Woman with sunglasses and tilted head in a green tank top.  Caption reads "Why is my pots worse in the summer?" with the NormaLyte Oral Rehydration Salt logo

I walked outside, said to myself, “Nope” and then walked right back inside.  It’s basically summer now.  Okay, it might technically still be spring, but it is way too hot for my dysautonomia.  Which begs the question.  Why is POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) and other forms of dysautonomia harder in the hot summer months?

For a lot of people, warm weather means relief from whatever ailments they have.  Look at all the snow birds that travel south for the winter.  But for people with POTS warm weather can make your symptoms worse!  Possibly putting you into a flare that doesn’t seem to stop until the weather turns again.  Don’t book your one way ticket to Alaska yet.  (After all, the summer months have temperatures in the 80s on average too.)  

WHY IS MY POTS WORSE IN THE SUMMER?

Warmer weather means more relaxed muscles.  This also means your blood vessels are relaxed or widened.  This causes your heart to need to work a little harder.  For someone with POTS, this can send you into a flare of symptoms.  It will mean that your heart rate is going to pick up causing an even more rapid heart rate upon standing.

HEAT INTOLERANCE AND POTS

People with dysautonomia often have heat intolerance, and sometimes it’s not commonly discussed in the community.  Have you ever experienced any of these symptoms?

Excessive sweating.  With dysautonomia, your body can sometimes find it difficult to regulate your inner thermostat.  This may mean your body is reacting to the warm temperatures outside by causing you to sweat more than normal.  Don’t be embarrassed by excessive sweating.  

Feeling nauseated or throwing up.  It may seem strange, but these can be symptoms of dehydration.  For someone with POTS nausea can be a daily part of your life, but in the summer months it may ramp up as things get heated up.  

Feeling faint.  I hear you.  This is your everyday symptom!  Does it happen more in the warmer months?  Or have you noticed that you're not just feeling faint, you’re actually fainting!  It could be the heat exasperating that particular symptom.

POTS CAN BE MANAGED IN THE SUMMER MONTHS

There is hope.  You can manage the symptoms of POTS that come with the summer months. Watch cues your body is giving you.  It may be as simple as using an oral rehydration salt (or ORS).  Ensuring your electrolyte intake is well managed can make the symptoms of POTS in the summer months managed as well.  Using oral rehydration therapy has a 33% reduction in the need for IV therapy.

NormaLyte is a medial grade oral rehydration salt that has been clinically proven to manage symptoms of POTS.  It’s in stick powder form which means you can take it with you anywhere you want.  This makes it easy to use when you’re on the go during the warm months.  Ensure you get lots of electrolytes to manage flares in the summer months.  Talk to your doctor and determine if you need to increase your sodium needs in the warmer months.