Challenges With 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, 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’s what they had to say:

Balancing in the shower is a real challenge

  • I can’t close my eyes to wash and rinse my hair unless I’m hanging on for dear life! I close my eyes, I fall! I started showering at night so that all I have to do is get ready for bed. A morning shower will destroy my entire day.
  • Washing my hair scares me. I get so dizzy.
  • Thank God for the three grab in my shower. Closing my eyes and looking up makes me dizzy, so I have to hold on.
  • Thank goodness for shower chairs, grab bars, and hand held shower heads. Still taking showers can be exhausting. I miss my baths. I loved laying and just soaking in the tub.
  • Balancing is such a challenge. I’m not glad that anyone else goes through it but I’m glad to know I’m not just loosing my mind. I thought it was just me. Even looking up at my son’s drone flying around in the sky I must find something to hang on to.
  • I do the swaying thing and usually fall backwards. I’m thankful for a small shower as when I fall back I end up just leaning on the wall.

I make adjustments to cope with the struggles of showering

  • I too have resorted to every other day and shower the night before if I have plans the next day. We adapt and adjust. Thank you again. Blessings and positive vibes to you.
  • MS made me give up baths 10 years ago and had to give up showers 3 years ago. Sponge baths are all I can manage. MS is an evil thief.
  • I’ve had to start showering at night and I hate it! I’ve also scalded myself when my brain fog had me turning off the cold water before the hot, ouch!
  • I started using a shower stool about 2 years ago because it helps. It’s hard to stand long enough to shower.
  • ‪ I have learned to work with this by only showing in early evening in case it increases the fatigue. Important not to shower unless someone else is home – safety first.
  • I sponge bathe, and shower once a week. Showering takes so much out of me, the heat, the slipperiness, the drying off. If I need to do something the next day, I shower the day before, and sponge bathe the next morning to freshen up.
  • I’ve got an anti-slip mat & grab bars in our P-shaped shower-bath.

Showering can be painful

  • Sometimes the water hurts or feels like it’s burning hot and it really not. When I take a shower I need 2 hours after to rest then I can get ready. I so hate MS.
  • It’s amazing that the water from a shower can actually be painful – people who don’t have MS just don’t understand.
  • It is very hard to explain to people why showers cause me pain and make me so tired that I often cancel plans and need to lay down.
  • I have burned my skin from not being able to feel how hot the water gets. I definitely can’t stand to shave my legs anymore or I will end up outside the shower on the floor.

Showering is exhausting

  • It is so frustrating to have to rest after a shower. I do use a shower chair, and luckily we have sliding shower doors. Though not supportive, it helps to have something else to steady yourself with other than just a shower curtain. I used to love soaking in a hot bath, but I haven’t been able to do that in years. I still have a shower every day, but it’s a struggle some times.
  • It’s exhausting! I’m considering a shower chair, but it’s hard to accept that I might need that. Balance, brain, fatigue – it’s hard to believe this is my reality.
  • I have issues with getting very weak with showers and nearly passing out before I am done, barely making it to the bed to lay down sometimes. I take lukewarm showers too. I also have repeated steps as well.
  • The shower has been an issue for me ever since I had my first child. It’s so frustrating having to rest after taking a shower. I feel like I spend my whole day resting between every little thing. I would shower at night but I sweat so much in my sleep it’s pointless.
  • Showering is an Olympic event…all the hurdles are exhausting.

What about you? Is showering a challenge? Do you have any tips to make it easier? Please, share your thoughts with us in the comments!

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  • Ana says:

    I too get super tired after showering & for about an hour all I feel is needles everywhere or constant itching.

  • Lani says:

    My issue is falling down. I can’t get alone & my husband is over 70 so of course I don’t like burdening him. But, all I can do to get up after falling. This is really a burden – can’t take a shower anymore ????

    • Angel Blair says:

      Thank you for reaching out, Lani. I’m very sorry to hear about the challenges you’re having with falling. Have you talked with your doctor about this? Do you use any type of assistive devices to help with mobility around your home? MSAA has an Equipment Distribution Program that offers products including walkers, canes, shower chairs and grab bars, if this can be of help to you please see our website for the program information and application, Your doctor may also have additional suggestions to help. Your safety is important and hopefully they can find ways to help manage this issue. If you have additional questions please feel free to email Thank you again for reaching out and take care. Angel, MSAA Client Services Specialist

  • Jody says:

    I would KILL to be able to take a BATH again! But, unfortunately, I can’t lift my legs up, to get into the tub. Nor do the bathtub has any type of grab bars, or bath mats (for slippery surfaces).
    I do have a walk-in shower. But, it’s a 3ftx3ft area, that really doesn’t have a whole lot of room, for a shower chair!
    Showering is just exhausting for me and, I just dread it!
    I probably wouldn’t mind it so much, if I was able to get a little bigger shower, that would be big enough for a shower chair! And, a handheld sprayer…
    Being a homebound widow, on disability, it’s VERY hard for me to try to replace this 🙁

  • Sabrina wyatt says:

    It’s a challenge to shower, people dont understand nor wont unless they go through it.

  • Narelle Chamberlain says:

    I’m effected too with showering, having the hyper sensitive type MS the water is like larva the first seconds but I can’t have cold or even cool showers this temperature stop’s me from being able to move properly if at all and I would rather have a shower once a month if it was ethical but every time being really painful and knowing if I have a shower before I need to go out with carer my mind is like total fuzz and trying to figure things out is 😖🥺

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