Invisible but VERY Real: Heat Intolerance

By Alene Brennan

It’s been four years since I was diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting MS.

I remember the doctor asking me if I had a sensitivity to heat in that appointment.


Finally, I got validation for what everyone was telling me was just dehydration.

I would be weak and fatigued for days after a hot yoga class.

Everyone told me to drink coconut water or pickle juice.

I felt awful in a way that I couldn’t fully describe after sitting by a fireplace in the winter or in a hot tub in the summer.

Even getting in a car on a hot summer day would make me feel “off” and fatigued for the rest of the day.

While I knew it was something more than dehydration, I couldn’t connect the dots.

I didn’t know exactly what it was until the doctor asked that question… do you have a sensitivity to heat (among a long list of other symptoms he rattled off).

“That’s MS.”

Since then I’ve learned that the first “test” to diagnose MS was actually to put the individual in a hot tub and if their symptoms got worse, they were diagnosed with MS.

So, while I love summertime, I don’t love the limitations of the heat.

But, like it or not, it’s part of MS, so I sought out ways to best manage it.

That’s why I lean on my essential oils even more in the summertime.

Peppermint essential oil can help to regulate body temperature.

So, I like to carry a roller bottle in my purse with me at all times, but especially if I’m out for a walk or at the pool or beach.

I like the roller bottle because it’s diluted with fractionated coconut oil so it’s gentler on the skin, and just as effective. I find the pulse points to be the best place to apply the oil because it helps to circulate it throughout the body.

I also love to add about 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to a body or face mist, store it in the fridge and spray it on my body either before I got outside and/or when I come home from being outside.

Essential oils are just one of the many tips I use to manage my heat sensitivity in the summer.

I’ve become quick savvy over the years having tried out many strategies, vests and other products to be able to find what works best for me.

If heat sensitivity is something you struggle with as well, I’m happy to share more on the tips and resources I found to be most helpful.

Download my free copy of Overcoming Heat Sensitivity with MS at

*Alene Brennan works with individuals living with MS and other autoimmune diseases to create a diet and lifestyle that will support their healing and disease management. She holds four certifications: nutrition coach, yoga instructor, personal trainer, and natural food chef. You can learn more about her work and follow her blog, recipes, and more at Check her out on Instagram and Facebook, too!

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About MSAA

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring educational videos, webinars, and research updates; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; safety and mobility equipment products; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; MS Conversations blog; a clinical trial search tool; podcasts; and more. For additional information, please visit or call (800) 532-7667.

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