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Diseases > Raynaud’s Phenomenon (RP) > What is it going to do to me?

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Raynaud’s?

Raynaud’s Phenomenon is often triggered by cold temperatures or in stressful situations. When this happens, you may experience an “attack” of the symptoms where the blood flow to your fingers and toes is reduced. The areas where blood flow is reduced can be quite painful and a burning feeling may be present as the areas re-warm. These attacks vary in duration – some may be very brief lasting only a minute or two while others may be much longer lasting up to several hours. That said, most attacks last around 5 to 10 minutes. It is also possible to have more than one attack per day. The areas that are most commonly affected by Raynaud’s are the fingers and the toes. Less commonly the nose, ears, lips and nipples can also be affected.

For secondary Raynaud’s if the condition is severe, it can cause painful ulcers on the finger tips.

Work and Raynaud’s

Certain jobs that involve repetitive motions or vibrational tools could be made more uncomfortable by Raynaud’s. Working in cold environments can also be unpleasant for people with Raynaud’s. If you have been diagnosed with Raynaud’s you may need to make certain accommodations to avoid attacks (e.g., wear protective gloves if you work in a cold environment, or avoid using vibrational tools). It is also important to keep your body warm. That way your hands and feet will stay warm as well.  Wear a warm hat (toque), scarf, and gloves in the colder months.

Travel and Raynaud’s

Traveling is still possible when you have Raynaud’s. In fact, your travel plans shouldn’t be too drastically affected unless you’re planning trips to colder areas such as the North Pole or Antarctica since cold environments can trigger attacks. It is best to be organized prior to your trip to ensure a smooth, comfortable, and enjoyable time. See our travel check list.

Sex and Raynaud’s

If you have been diagnosed with Raynaud’s, you and your partner can take comfort in the fact that this disease shouldn’t have much effect on either sex or intimacy. However, if the Raynaud’s is secondary to a disease like scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) then sex might become a problem for men as they are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Pregnancy and Raynaud’s

Primary Raynaud’s occurs most often in young women in their 20s and 30s.  However, being diagnosed with Raynaud’s shouldn’t be cause for any concerns. For women with secondary Raynaud’s who have an underlying autoimmune disease, pregnancy can be more complicated. Depending on the autoimmune disease or syndrome, women with secondary Raynaud’s may be at risk of multiple miscarriages.

For the most part Raynaud’s doesn’t affect a woman’s ability to breastfeed. The one exception is if the nipple is the area affected by low blood circulation.

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