If you're always asking yourself, Is it hot in here or is it just me?, you may be wondering if there's a reason your internal thermostat seems to be set to tropical temperatures at all times.
A higher-than-average temperature doesn't always mean there's something strange going on. "Everyone's body is different," says Deena Adimoolam-Gupta, MD, a New York City-based endocrinologist and internist.
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Sometimes what some consider "running warmer" is just your normal baseline. That may especially be true if you carry more weight or have obesity, per a 2018 review in the Handbook of Clinical Neurology.
But if feeling hot is a new symptom (or one of many symptoms), and it's affecting your quality of life, it could be a sign of an underlying issue.
Here, Dr. Adimoolam-Gupta covers the most common reasons you're always hot.
1. You Have a Thyroid Issue
If you frequently feel like a furnace, you might have hyperthyroidism, a condition where your body makes too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include excessive hotness, inability to withstand warm temperatures and/or increased sweating, Dr. Adimoolam-Gupta says.
"The exact reason for why excess thyroid hormone leads to these symptoms is unclear, but it may be related to a higher basal metabolic rate or an increase in hormones called catecholamines, which cause vasodilation [a widening of the blood vessels that leads to increased blood flow and a rush of warmth]," she says.
Other symptoms of an overactive thyroid include the following, per the Mayo Clinic:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Fast and/or irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations
- Feeling nervous, anxious or irritable
- Feeling tired and/or weak
- Increased hunger
- A tremor (shaking) in the hands or fingers
- More frequent bowel movements
- Problems sleeping
- Warm, moist skin
- Brittle, fine hair
Keep track of your symptoms and make an appointment with your doctor, who can run tests to make a diagnosis. If you are diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, your doctor may prescribe certain medications to help manage your symptoms and you'll likely have regular follow-up visits to monitor the condition, per the Mayo Clinic. Surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid gland is also a treatment option for some people.
2. You’re Under Stress
Sometimes stress is the source of your sweltering. When you experience a stressor, your body flips into "fight or flight" mode, and your adrenal gland secretes catecholamines (specifically epinephrine and norepinephrine), Dr. Adimoolam-Gupta says.
Catecholamines, which prep your body for the fight-or-flight response, both enhance your mental alertness and muscle strength while increasing your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate, which results in a warmer body temperature, she says.
Healthy ways to deal with stress include the following, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Take care of yourself by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep (that's seven to nine hours a night for most adults) and taking breaks when you need to
- Practice deep breathing, meditate or stretch
- Talk to someone you trust about your feelings and concerns
- Avoid excess alcohol, tobacco and substance use
- Seek help from a mental health counselor or therapist
3. You’re Ovulating
Ever noticed a spike in sweating during your monthly cycle?
"During the time of ovulation, there is an increase in the hormone progesterone, which leads to an increase in temperature," Dr. Adimoolam-Gupta says.
Indeed, shortly after ovulation, progesterone spikes basal body temperature between 0.5 to 1 degree Fahrenheit, according to a July 2020 peer-reviewed article in StatPearls.
While one measly degree might seem like an insignificant amount, it's still enough to make a difference in your comfort level.
Sweating due to ovulation will likely go away on its own, but if it's really becoming a problem, there are different treatment options including hormone therapy and non-hormonal medications, per the Mayo Clinic.
Try keeping a cool environment, especially when you head to bed, to avoid night sweats.
4. You’re Going Through Menopause
"Hot flashes and night sweats occur before and during menopause because of changing hormone levels, including estrogen and progesterone, which affect the body's temperature control," Dr. Adimoolam-Gupta says.
Estrogen tends to increase temperature mainly by way of vasodilation (causing more blood flow to the skin and other organs) while, in this case, progesterone lowers your body's thermostat.
"It's the imbalance between these hormones that leads to hot flashes," Dr. Adimoolam-Gupta says.
Natural remedies for hot flashes include drinking cold water, getting more sleep, practicing deep breathing and limiting alcohol.
You can also talk to your doctor about hormone therapy and other medication treatment options, per the Mayo Clinic. But keep in mind that hot flashes usually go away on their own once your hormones balance out.
5. You've Had a Lot of Caffeine
Believe it or not, your cup of coffee could be the reason you feel hot. Yes, caffeine can make you sweat.
Caffeine stimulates the release of catecholamines (the same hormones involved in the "flight or fight" response), Dr. Adimoolam-Gupta says.
Again, catecholamines boost your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate, which can all make you feel warm.
6. You’re Pregnant
Morning sickness isn't the only unpleasant side effect of pregnancy — feeling hot is also a common symptom when you're expecting.
For starters, "estrogen is at its highest levels during pregnancy," Dr. Adimoolam-Gupta says. Remember, when estrogen is released, it widens the blood vessels and generates more blood flow to the skin, which will warm you up.
Pregnancy also leads to an increase in blood volume, which makes the heart work even harder (by the eighth week of pregnancy your heart rate is 20 percent faster), Dr. Adimoolam-Gupta says. And with this sped-up pulse comes hotter body temps.
And if all that weren't enough, your body also absorbs the heat that the baby produces, Dr. Adimoolam-Gupta says.
Feeling hot while you're pregnant is totally normal, and unfortunately there's not much that can be done to avoid it. You can take steps to stay cool by wearing loose clothing, keeping your room cool and taking cold showers to bring down your body temperature, per the National Health Service UK.
7. You’re Taking Certain Medications
Many types of medications can predispose you to heat-related issues, including the following, according to the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health (NCCEH):
That's because drugs can interfere with your body's normal thermoregulation. For example, some medications affect the hypothalamus (the region of the brain that sets normal body temperature) while others can disrupt your capacity to sweat (which impedes the body's ability to cool itself), per the NCCEH.
If a medication is causing you to feel overheated or to profusely sweat, contact your doctor to possibly change the dose or prescribe a different drug.
If that's not possible, other treatment options include prescription antiperspirants, Botox injections and additional medications, per the Cleveland Clinic.
8. You Drank Alcohol
If you've ever noticed you start to get a little warm as the alcoholic drinks flow throughout the day or night, it's not just in your head.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, alcohol causes your blood vessels to dilate and send more blood to your skin. This causes that "flush" look and feeling you might get when you drink.
This can make you feel like you're getting warmer the more you drink and can even cause hot flashes after drinking alcohol.
If you want to decrease how warm you get when you drink, try drinking less alcohol. If you continue to feel hot even when drinking a small amount of alcohol, it could be a sign of alcohol intolerance, per the Cleveland Clinic. In that case, avoiding alcohol altogether will help you stay cool.
9. You Ate Something Spicy
When you turn up the heat on your plate, you turn up your body temperature, too.
Foods like jalapenos, hot peppers and cayenne and chili pepper contain a chemical called capsaicin. Capsaicin can trigger heat receptors in your skin, causing your nervous system to believe you're overheating, per the Cleveland Clinic. Once that starts to happen, your body tries to cool itself (enter: sweat!).
10. You Have Hyperhidrosis
If you're always hot and excessively sweat regardless of exercise or heat, you may have hyperhidrosis.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it's a condition that causes episodes of heavy sweating that can be disruptive to daily life.
Hyperhidrosis could simply be the result of overactive sweat glands, or it might be a symptom of another condition, such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, an infection, a nervous system condition or certain types of cancer.
If you suspect you have hyperhidrosis, see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Treatment options include prescription antiperspirant, creams, medications and possible medical procedures, per the Mayo Clinic.
Your doctor can also determine if hyperhidrosis is a symptom of another condition and help you get the treatment you need to address it.
11. You Have Heat Exhaustion
Heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heat stroke happen when your internal temperature rises to dangerous levels, according to the CDC.
Heat exhaustion can be serious and is the body's natural way of reacting to losing water and salt, per the CDC. In addition to feeling hot, symptoms include headache, nausea, thirst, dizziness, heavy sweating and weakness.
Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which is the most severe heat-related illness. In this case, you may actually stop feeling hot and feel cold and clammy instead. Other symptoms include being disoriented, profuse sweating, losing consciousness, seizures and extremely high body temperature. It can be fatal if it isn't immediately addressed.
If you're experiencing heat exhaustion, remove yourself from the heat right away and take steps to cool down and hydrate. If you have symptoms of heat stroke, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
1. Why Do I Sweat When I'm Cold?
Cold sweats are different from the kind of sweating that happens when you exercise or on a hot day. According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, sweating when you're cold could be a sign of physical or mental distress.You may be reacting to severe stress, anxiety or having a panic attack.
Cold sweats also happen when your body is fighting viral and bacterial infections, like the flu.
2. Is It Normal to Feel Hot Every Day?
Feeling hot every day could be a normal response to your environment — especially if you've recently moved to a warmer climate — or it could be a sign of an underlying condition, per the Cleveland Clinic. Whether or not it's a concern depends on what's causing you to feel hot.
Try tracking your symptoms and when they happen, then see a doctor for further testing and diagnosis.
3. Why Is My Body So Hot at Night?
Night sweats can be an uncomfortable symptom of menopause or a sign of a serious condition like an infection or diabetes (especially if your sweat smells sweet), per the Cleveland Clinic. Overheating at night is usually related to hormone changes that make it hard for your body temperature to regulate.
If night sweats are regularly disrupting your sleep, make an appointment with your doctor, who can help you find relief based on the cause.
When to See a Doctor
If feeling hot is a new symptom that's getting in the way of your everyday life, it's worth setting up an appointment with your doctor, who can run tests based on your other symptoms and lay out your treatment options.
- StatPearls: "Physiology, Ovulation And Basal Body Temperature"
- National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health: “Drugs”
- Canters for Disease Control and Prevention: "Heat Stress – Heat Related Illness"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Having a Cold One Out in the Cold? 5 Safety Tips"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Here’s Why Some People Sweat More Than Others"
- Cleveland Clinic: "The Health Risks of Eating Extremely Spicy Foods"
- Mayo Clinic: "Hyperhidrosis"
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: "Cold Sweats: Is it the Cold or Flu?"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Why Am I Always Hot?"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Night Sweats"
- Mayo Clinic: "Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)"
- International Hyperhidrosis Society: "6 Ways to Control Stress Sweat"
- Mayo Clinic: "Hot Flashes"
- National Health Service UK: "Common Health Problems in Pregnancy"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Diaphoresis"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Tips for Coping With Stress"
- Handbook of Clinical Neurology: "Obesity and Thermoregulation"
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.