Why Am I Always Hot? 7 Reasons You Might Feel Like The Roof Is Always On Fire
Is it hot in here, or is it just you? No, really, that was a serious question for you and the hordes of people who are always hot. You're the ones who are always asking your friends to jack up the air conditioning, the ones who have worn shorts in the winter for reasons besides winning a bet, the ones who show up for work in a tank top while your coworkers are wrapping themselves in slankets and crawling inside tauntauns just to stay warm inside your icy office. If all human bodies supposed to be the same basic temperature, why does yours always feel like it is somehow set to "tropical"? Why are you like this? Is there something horribly wrong with you?!
While technically, yes, all human bodies are programmed to be 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the reality is that most of us experience small deviations from that temperature in either direction, for a wide variety of reasons, from diet to health disorders. There are also times when we may feel hotter or colder than usual, even though our actual core body temperature remains steady. Often, this has to do with how hot or cold our extremities are — the temperature of our hands and feet often determine how we perceive our body's entire temperature to feel. Women in general tend to feel colder than men, for example, even though our cores are often warmer, because estrogen can keep our blood from properly circulating through our hands and feet. I know, I know: Yet another example of how the patriachy has it easier. Sigh.
But there are plenty of reasons why a woman — or anyone — might feel a little bit steamy all the time. While some are linked to worrisome health problems, others are nothing to be worried about — and some are actually signs of good health. How can you tell the difference? Check out our seven reasons you might always feel hot below; then wring the sweat out of your shirt for the fourth time today, and figure out which ones applies to you.
1. You Have Hyperthyroidism
Why Does It Make You Hot? Your thyroid produces some of the hormones that regulate your body's metabolism and temperature, among other things — and when you have an overactive thyroid, it can produce too many of these hormones, causing all of your bodily systems to speed up. Putting all your physical systems on fast forward like this can leave you feeling sweaty and overheated all the time, no matter what you're doing. And hyperthryroidism isn't a rare disease — 2.6 million Americans currently have thyroids where the switch has been flicked to "overdrive."
What Are Its Other Symptoms? Irregular heartbeat; irregular periods; insomnia; anxiety; diarrhea or frequent bowel movements; hair loss; high blood pressure; muscle weakness.
Should I See A Doctor? Yes, absolutely! Untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to really serious and scary long-term health problems, like osteoporosis and heart problems. But the treatment for hyperthyroidism is simple and far from scary — almost all thyroid problems can be easily solved by taking some thyroid-balancing medication prescribed by your doctor. So if you think your thyroid might be off, run to the doctor's and get your thyroid levels checked out.
2. You're Ovulating
Why Does It Make You Hot? During our monthly reproductive cycles, certain hormones form a tag team of sorts, switching out at different points to support different functions of our reproductive system. In addition to all the other functions that these hormones serve, they can also mess around with our internal thermostat. Estrogen, which can make us feel colder, is in charge for the first half of our cycle; but as we ovulate mid-cycle, progesterone tags in. Progesterone, which often raises our body temperature, becomes a more prominent hormone in our systems during the second half of our cycles, and can leave us feeling a bit overheated.
What Are Its Other Symptoms? Light cramping; breast pain or tenderness; increased desire to do it.
Should I See A Doctor? Nope — getting a little bit sweaty during the second half of your cycle is a totally normal bodily process. If you find that it happens every month, invest in a fan, some ice packs, and other things that will help you literally chill out while the monthly miracle plays out inside your body.
3. You're Stressed
Why Does It Make You Hot? Your hypothalamus regulates your body's temperature. However, when you're phenomenally stressed out, your hypothalamus can sometimes start slacking off on the job. Stress can also trigger your body's fight-or-flight response, which draws blood to your core — and can make you feel hotter (this response can, however, also draw blood away from your extremities, which can make some people feel cold when they're worked up).
What Are Its Other Symptoms? Headache; fatigue; stomach or chest pains; anxiety; inability to focus.
Should I See A Doctor? If you feel so stressed out that you're literally burning up with rage or anxiety every day, consulting with your doctor about ways to make your life less stressful — including possibly seeing a therapist or seeking other kinds of mental health help — isn't a bad move.
4. You're Pregnant
Why Does It Make You Hot? When you become pregnant, your blood volume increases — sometimes by as much as 50 percent. How does your body handle this sudden traffic jam on its blood freeways (a.k.a. your veins)? Your blood vessels will usually dilate a bit, which can make you feel hotter.
What Are Its Other Symptoms? Missed periods; nausea; breast tenderness; fatigue.
Should I See A Doctor? Consulting with a doctor on the regular during your pregnancy is always a good idea, but you probably don't need to make a special appointment to discuss this very common side effect of pregnancy (unless you're finding it really physically unbearable).
5. You're Menopausal
Why Does It Make You Hot? For many of us, the idea of "hot flashes" is pretty much all we know about the process of hormonal rebalancing known as "menopause." Though three out of four menopausal women experience hot flashes, people are not entirely certain why bodies that have reached the end of their reproductive years tend to experience hot flashes — many think it has something do with hypothalamus, which regulates the body's temperature, and often becomes more sensitive to small changes in temperature after menopause when the body stops producing estrogen at the levels that it once did.
What Are Its Other Symptoms? Vaginal dryness; night sweats; sleep problems; thinning hair.
Should I See A Doctor? You don't necessarily have to see a doctor just because you're going through menopause — but if you find that the side effects of menopause (including hot flashes) are proving to be a major pain, a doctor or other medical professional may have some ideas about how to cope.
6. Too Much Caffeine Or Spicy Food
Why Does It Make You Hot? Though you may not have had smoke literally shoot out of your ears after consuming a bowl of five-alarm chili, the facts are that hot-tasting foods can make us feel like we're standing close to an open flame. Spicy food stimulates the same receptors in our skin that normally process physical heat, and thus eating it can result in us feeling physically overheated and sweaty. Similarly, consuming caffeine can increase our body temperature overall, especially if we then go on to do something active after consuming our iced latte or soda.
What Are Its Other Symptoms? Mouth pain and burning (spicy food); feeling all jacked up and jittery (caffeine).
Should I See A Doctor? Nope — just stop eating chili and chugging coffee all day long, you maniac! Side note: you cut down on that, I'm sure you'll also be much more pleasant to sit next to at work, if you get my drift.
7. You're In Great Physical Shape
Why Does It Make You Hot? Being in good physical shape — and especially having built significant muscle mass — raises your resting metabolism, which can raise your overall body temperature.
What Are Its Other Symptoms? Endurance during workouts; lower resting heart rate; ability to take the stairs at work without becoming insanely winded.
Should I See A Doctor? If you're so hot you're burning up, yes, you might want to check in and see if there is something afoot health-wise besides you being a perfect physical specimen. But if you're frequently just kind of warmer than everyone else, there's no need to worry — consider not having to carry a hoodie during this spring weather just another fringe benefit of being physically fit (you know, besides that whole "improved health and generally feeling good" thing).