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Ski sickness / Hausler's

mahgnillig

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Does anyone else have issues with nausea when skiing that are unrelated to altitude? I don't think altitude is the issue as I live at 4800ft and never have these issues when hiking the same mountains that I ski.

For some reason this has got steadily worse over the years for me... it seems like it started several years ago when I got caught in a whiteout at the top of the mountain in an area where there were no trees. I thought I was turning left but fell over on my right side, at the top of the run, going like 1mph (and I wasn't the only person who ate it in the same place). Since then it seems that quite often I get nauseous while skiing, even in bright conditions, but more often when it's cloudy or flat. I detest the feeling, and it's making me less enthusiastic about skiing .

Just wondering if anyone else experiences similar symptoms and if so, what do you do about it?
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I get quite nauseous as I get older while skiing in flat light. And yes, it has taken the fun out of those days for sure. I try to get near trees, however, where I ski there are not a lot of runs densely lined with trees so my choices become very limited.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
My husband does. He doesn't have an official diagnosis but he gets nauseous especially in poor light. This only started about 5 years ago (we are in our 50s). We live in WA state so don't ski at much elevation. He takes Less Drowsy Dramamine and that helps a lot. It's considerably worse in the beginning of the season and he ends up taking a lot of breaks and leaving early. It gets progressively better throughout the season for some reason.
 

brooksnow

Angel Diva
I also take meclizine (the ingredient in Less Drowsy Dramamine) to combat nausea in flat light. I always have some in my pocket just in case. Sometimes there isn't much distinction in the terrain even when it's bright out because of the angle of the sun or consistent shade. When the light is flat I take a pill just in case. As an instructor skipping flat light times is not an option.

Following someone closely helps too.
 
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MaineSkiLady

Angel Diva
This is usually a vestibular (inner ear) issue. Inner ear is responsible for balance and all sensations thereof.

Why it seems to worsen with age and time is that there are crystals inside the inner ear that are held in place by tiny hairs. If/when the tiny hairs get worn away or misplaced, so do the crystals. Then – let the games begin : (

There are medications that help (meclizine cited, a former frequent user here), also some curious lying down-to-sitting up-rotating head exercises (google “Eply maneuver” - not sure if Eply or Epley). They do work.

If you have no underlying disease, this will probably be an isolated condition. If, however, you have something underlying like Meniere’s disease, as I did, it will worsen and eventually, effectively cause deafness. (Typically in one ear - for a while.)

Keep track of it - and try the exercises.
 

mahgnillig

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Wow, from the responses it looks like I'm not alone... sorry all of you are going through the same thing, it really sucks!

MaineSkiLady, following your response I may go and get checked out by an ENT, just in case. I have no other dizziness type symptoms and I've only noticed this issue when skiing, but it's probably worth having someone look in my ears to make sure I don't have misplaced crystals (I had no idea ear crystals were even a thing).

I only figured out the motion sickness thing by googling skiing and nausea after I about threw up on a run a few weeks ago. It had happened prior to that a few times, the worst when I struggled down an easy but long run last season in a snow storm thinking I was having a heart attack or food poisoning or low blood sugar or who knows what. I'm glad I at least know what it is...

I'm going to try wearing my sea bands while skiing to see if that helps. They work well for me with air travel so it's worth a shot.
 

mustski

Angel Diva
Yes. I have it. It seems once you have a really bad event in a treeless environment that you get hit bad and then it keeps coming back. I had my inner ear checked and it’s nothing related to regular vertigo. This is actually ocular and, sadly, part of aging. Most people report that medication helps. I can’t speak to that because I can’t take anything with a side effect of lowering BP. My normal is ridiculously low. When it’s bad, the only thing that helps me is following another person closely and watching their skis.
 

MaineSkiLady

Angel Diva
MaineSkiLady, following your response I may go and get checked out by an ENT, just in case. I have no other dizziness type symptoms and I've only noticed this issue when skiing, but it's probably worth having someone look in my ears to make sure I don't have misplaced crystals (I had no idea ear crystals were even a thing).
A physical ear exam will only see to the eardrum. What we're talking about is in the inner ear. The external exam could easily be done by your primary physician, who then might or might not recommend an ENT. The only true way to see the inner ear is via MRI.

In the interim, treatment is by symptoms, and there are many meds, including OTC, that are quite helpful.

Also, that exercise I mentioned above, Epley maneuver -
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/home-epley-maneuver - does help when done correctly.

Either way, I don't think you have to worry too much about this, in terms of pursuing specialty care at this point, unless you are experiencing regular, protracted nausea and vomiting.
 

Beckster

Certified Ski Diva
My husband has always suffered from motion sickness but didn’t have problems skiing when he was young and on the Swiss Team. Skiing in blind light started making him sick in his early 30‘s. By the time he was 40 he was getting sick skiing on the most beautiful days. He used non-drowsy Dramamine in the US. Now he uses a natural product here in Switzerland he finds more effective.
It seems to run in the family as his 2 nephews started experiencing the same nausea in their 30‘s.
I think we all know it’s an inner ear problem, but now I will share some of this new and interesting information some of you have explained with my husband. I’ll look into these head movement therapies.
 

skinnyfootskis

Angel Diva
This is usually a vestibular (inner ear) issue. Inner ear is responsible for balance and all sensations thereof.

Why it seems to worsen with age and time is that there are crystals inside the inner ear that are held in place by tiny hairs. If/when the tiny hairs get worn away or misplaced, so do the crystals. Then – let the games begin : (

There are medications that help (meclizine cited, a former frequent user here), also some curious lying down-to-sitting up-rotating head exercises (google “Eply maneuver” - not sure if Eply or Epley). They do work.

If you have no underlying disease, this will probably be an isolated condition. If, however, you have something underlying like Meniere’s disease, as I did, it will worsen and eventually, effectively cause deafness. (Typically in one ear - for a while.)

Keep track of it - and try the exercises.
Also see https://vestibular.org/
I have MdDs and skiing is ok until I stop….then I rock. I went to bed at 9 pm every night in Utah.
Great exercises on Veda.
 

KathrynC

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I've certainly experienced nausea in whiteout conditions, on those days where you think you are turning into the fall line and then suddenly find yourself facing up the slope.

Thankfully, so far, I haven't experienced this in good visibility.

I do generally have problems with nausea in situations where my ocular and vestibular input don't quite align anyway though. I get motion sick in almost any vehicle, even when I'm driving, and I also experience nausea in the cinema or while playing video games.

I frequently feel like I'm still skiing for several hours after I have stopped, and I get this sensation after travelling by air or sea as well.
 

skibum4ever

Angel Diva
Just rereading this thread.

I have developed balance issues. My skiing and even my walking is affected.

I am going to get a prescription for PT to work on balance. I should probably get my inner ear checked out as well. What type of specialist would I see to look into this?
 
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santacruz skier

Angel Diva
Just rereading this thread.

I have developed balance issues. My skiing and even my walking is affected.

I am going to get a prescription for PT to work on balance. I should probably get my inner ear checked out as well. What type of specialist would I see to look into this?
ENT - Ears, Nose, and Throat
 

skinnyfootskis

Angel Diva
A physical ear exam will only see to the eardrum. What we're talking about is in the inner ear. The external exam could easily be done by your primary physician, who then might or might not recommend an ENT. The only true way to see the inner ear is via MRI.

In the interim, treatment is by symptoms, and there are many meds, including OTC, that are quite helpful.

Also, that exercise I mentioned above, Epley maneuver -
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/home-epley-maneuver - does help when done correctly.

Either way, I don't think you have to worry too much about this, in terms of pursuing specialty care at this point, unless you are experiencing regular, protracted nausea and vomiting.
Epley is wonderful. Have your crystals in your ears checked too.
 

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