Discomfort after sauna bathing
A sauna is an enclosed space where high temperatures are generated and delivered to perform dry or moist heat applications. The steam and high temperature relax the body and create a pleasant feeling. Even though some people report feeling unwell immediately after a sauna session, this is due to a variety of circumstances, which we will discuss later in this article.
Can you get sick in the sauna?
Proper sauna use does not in itself make you sick, but if your body is already suffering from health problems, a sauna visit may suggest, “The sauna made me sick.” Age-related changes in total body water content, a decreased sense of thirst, and impaired kidney function make older people more susceptible to dehydration due to these and other factors. People with diabetes are also more likely to be affected by dehydration.
People who are particularly susceptible to heat stress
Individuals who are more sensitive to heat stress may experience dizziness and nausea during prolonged sauna use. This is due to the overheating of the body. Even worse, a prolonged stay can lead to heat stroke, which can cause severe physical damage to the patient. It is also possible that sauna use results in low blood pressure, as the body sends more blood to the surface of the skin to cool down. This lowers blood pressure, which can lead to dizziness, nausea and fatigue, as well as blurred vision and, in severe cases, unconsciousness.
Three reasons why you feel sick after a sauna session
Reason 1: You are dehydrated
If you feel unwell after a stay in the sauna or steam bath, there is a possibility that you are dehydrated. Sweating is one of the side effects, if not the main purpose of regular sauna or steam bath visits. The risk of dehydration is therefore very high, which is why you should drink plenty of water both before and after taking a sauna to avoid dehydration.
Signs of dehydration
Signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, dark yellow urine when urinating or low urine volume when urinating, headache, muscle cramps, high heart rate, rapid breathing, dizziness, and a feeling of fainting or weakness. Illnesses that cause fever, vomiting or diarrhea can cause your body to lose large amounts of water and you should refrain from using the sauna during these symptoms to avoid dehydration.
How to avoid dehydration
Drinking plenty of water can prevent dehydration. When you drink water, some of it is immediately absorbed in your mouth, but most of it is absorbed when it is released from your stomach into your intestines. Depending on your genetic makeup and whether or not you have eaten anything, this can take anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes. When your stomach is empty, the water is more easily absorbed. Therefore, you should start drinking at least 45 minutes before going to the sauna, so that the liquid can be absorbed by the body.
Reason 2: The sauna is too hot for you and you have been in it for far too long
A regular sauna session should last between 10 and 15 minutes. Inexperienced sauna-goers should take it slow at first. If you are a beginner or you only sauna occasionally, it is recommended to start with a five-minute sauna session and then slowly increase. Even experienced sauna users may feel uncomfortable if they use the sauna for an extended period of time. If you sauna for 20 minutes or more and experience uncomfortable discomfort, you may have taken it too far. The greatest health benefits of a sauna session can be achieved in a 10- to 15-minute sauna session.
Adjust the sauna temperature
The temperature in a typical sauna should be between 60 and 100 degrees Celsius. The temperature of an infrared sauna is usually between 40 and 60 degrees Celsius. Even if your sauna is set at a reasonable temperature, you should lower the temperature if it is too hot for you. If you are using a public sauna and have no way to regulate the temperature, you can make up for it by taking a shorter sauna session than usual.
Heat is stress for the body
High air temperatures, radiant heat and high humidity are all factors that lead to heat stress. Problems with headaches or nausea after a sauna session are usually the result of excessive heat exposure. Due to high or low blood pressure, nausea or headache may occur when leaving the sauna. With a dehydrated body, there is always a risk of nausea and migraines. When taking a sauna, the body sweats excessively and extracts fluid from the body in the process. In this case, the body tries to cool the blood, resulting in improved blood circulation at the expense of lower blood pressure.
When you go to the sauna, you should always listen to your body. Watch for signs that indicate dehydration. If this is the case, drink plenty of water and give your body time to absorb it before going to the sauna. Make sure your sauna is set at an appropriate temperature and start with small sessions, slowly increasing the length until your body gets used to it. Don’t overdo it, after all you want your brain to release endorphins.