Health

Here’s Why You Might Be Hot 24/7

It's time to get to the bottom of that excessive sweating.

If you're hot all the time, it could be a sign of an underlying condition.
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Do you always feel overheated when everyone else feels fine? Are you constantly throwing open windows or demanding A/C? Has it gotten to the point where you often think, Wow, why do I get hot so easily?” If so, it might be a sign that you’re dealing with an underlying health condition that features sweating as a side effect.

Symptoms like hot flashes and excessive perspiration may point to an infection, a change in hormones, or even a systemic disease, says Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and chief medical correspondent at Certain Dri, a clinical strength antiperspirant brand. That’s why it’s worth it to get checked out, especially if you don’t feel well in other ways. If you start to feel hot all the time, or it interferes with your daily life, Dr. Garshick recommends letting your doctor know.

That said, feeling hot isn’t always a big deal. Once you know a medical condition isn’t to blame, you can make a point to regulate your body temperature by following a few quick tips to ensure you’re more comfortable. For starters, Dr. Garshick recommends sleeping in a cool environment. You can also avoid wearing clothes that tend to trap heat, like polyester, and opt for linen or cotton instead.

Drinking enough water is also key, especially since dehydration will only make you feel worse. “The rule of thumb is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces per day, plus more during exercise, elevated summer temperatures, and in times of illness,” says naturopathic physician Tricia Pingel, NMD. With these tips in mind, read on below for a list of health conditions that may explain why you feel hot all the time.

1

Hyperhidrosis

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If you can’t seem to keep your armpits dry, no matter how much antiperspirant you apply, it might be due to a condition called hyperhidrosis. Typically, hyperhidrosis causes extra sweat to form around the armpits, face, and palms regardless of how hot it is. “But rare cases of hyperhidrosis can occur all over the body,” Dr. Garshick says.

Your skin is covered in sweat glands that respond to signals in your brain that command the release of sweat. As it evaporates off the skin it cools you down. With hyperhyrdrosis, those signals go haywire and become overly active. If you sweat pretty much all the time and to an excessive degree, Dr. Garshick recommends asking your dermatologist about treatment options.

2

Anhidrosis

On the flip side there’s anhidrosis, a condition that makes it difficult to sweat properly. And since sweating helps your body cool down, if you can’t sweat your body overheats, says Dr. Annie Gonzalez, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology. “Possible causes of anhidrosis include but are not limited to damage to sweat glands from surgery, nerve damage caused by diabetes, or skin damage from radiation therapy or burns,” she tells Bustle. Besides not sweating, other symptoms include dryness of the skin, flushing, muscles cramps, and lightheadedness.

3

Anxiety

While we often think of anxiety as an emotion, it has a very real physiological component, says clinical psychologist Josh Klapow, PhD, tells Bustle. Anxiety can cause all sorts of unpleasant physical sensations, including a feeling of heat running through your body. You might also sweat when you’re nervous or having a panic attack.

When anxiety strikes, your heart will pound, your blood pressure will increase, and your muscles will tense up. As Klapow says, “You can absolutely feel hot, be hot, and sweat as a result. You’ll always want to rule out other medical causes for feeling hot, but anxiety is absolutely one possibility."

4

Stress

Stress can cause a similar side effects. “From the moment you feel emotionally stressed your body goes through a series of hormonal changes that create physical reactions,” Dr. Sherry Ross, M.D., an OB/GYN and women’s health expert, tells Bustle. “Adrenaline, known as the ‘fight and flight’ hormone causes an increased heart and breathing rate, pulse rate, and blood pressure.” And that can certainly make you sweat.

5

Seasonal Allergies

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If you tend to feel hot but have no fever — as in your temperature isn’t raised but you still feel warm or flushed — seasonal allergies might be to blame. “Allergies do not cause a fever but high levels of histamine in response to allergens dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow to the skin, making you feel warm,” licensed physician Dr. Leann Poston, M.D., MBA, MEd tells Bustle.

You might even start to sweat, Dr. Poston says, due to flushing — aka, that annoying sensation where it feels like your cheeks are getting hot and red. Ask your doctor about allergy medication and see if that helps.

6

Hyperthyroidism

An overactive thyroid can make you feel hot.

As Dr. Sapna Shah, M.D., a board-certified endocrinologist, tells Bustle, “People often compare the thyroid gland to the body's equivalent of a thermostat. The thyroid gland produces hormones that help regulate your body temperature through internal metabolic processes.”

If your thyroid function is compromised, possibly due to a disorder like hyperthyroidism, it’ll be hard for the body to maintain a stable temperature. In the case of an overactive thyroid, “you might experience symptoms that feel like the body is speeding up — for instance restlessness or a fast heartbeat,” Dr. Shah says. “Excessive sweating when you're not exerting yourself may also be a sign of hyperthyroidism.”

The only way to know for sure is by taking a trip to your doctor. “If you're worried about excessive sweating or other symptoms, consider testing your thyroid,” she says. It’s important to check since untreated thyroid disease can put you at risk for more severe problems like cardiovascular disease down the road.

7

Hypoglycemia

Hot flashes can strike if your blood sugar levels are out of whack, which may happen on a regular basis if you have hypoglycemia. It’s a condition that often goes hand-in-hand with diabetes, but could be a sign of other health concerns.

If you have hypoglycemia you might start to feel shaky, irritated, and tingly throughout your body. If it gets worse, you might even start to experience blurred vision or start to sweat. "This occurs when your blood glucose gets too low, which makes your body battle to keep up to pace," Dr. David Greuner, M.D., FACS, a double board-certified surgeon, tells Bustle. "This produces a surplus of adrenaline and results in excessive sweating."

8

Epstein-Barre Virus

A fever isn't an illness all on its own but a symptom of an illness. Usually, it’s a side effect of a virus and it will go away in a few days. If you're sick with the flu, for example, you can expect to have a high fever right along with other symptoms, like a cough and sore throat, as your immune system works to fight it off. "Your body naturally raises its body temperature in order to kick the white blood cells into gear and beat whatever is causing the fever," Dr. Greuner says.

That said, ongoing fevers may be a sign of another type of infection like the Epstein-Barre Virus (EBV), better known as the virus that causes mononucleosis. It’s a common virus that can make you feel rundown and feverish for weeks — and sometimes even months on end. Other symptoms of EBV include fatigue, swollen glands in the neck, and lack of appetite.

9

Menopause

Menopause is considered the natural end of the menstrual cycle. It occurs due to the depletion of follicles in the ovary, says board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Nwegbo-Banks, M.D. “This is diagnosed when you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual cycle,” she tells Bustle. Usually, it happens in your 50s.

As the ovarian follicles deplete, the amount of estrogen drops in the body. “This then affects the thermoregulatory centers in the brain,” Dr. Nwegbo-Banks says. “What this means is minor changes in temperature cause mechanisms to cool the body, including intense sweating or hot flashes.” It’s why you might feel hot for seemingly no reason.

10

Perimenopause

Hot flashes related to menopause can kick in about four years before your final menstrual period, Dr. Nwegbo-Banks says. So even if you’re too young for menopause, it’s possible to experience perimenopause, or the early onset of menopause.

“The menopausal transition, or perimenopause, includes various physiologic changes that include hormone fluctuations,” Dr. Nwegbo-Banks sayas. “This leads to hot flashes and night sweats along with other changes — menstrual irregularities, mood disturbances, and vaginal dryness.” On average, she says this transition starts around 47. But in rarer cases it is possible for some people to experience menopause symptoms as early as 35.

11

Various Cancers

Ever wake up sweaty in the middle of the night? If you sleep in a hot room, wear heavy pajamas, or tend to get tangled up in warm blankets, that might explain why. But if you have actual night sweats, it could point to something more serious.

“It is first important to differentiate night sweats, hot flashes, and excessive sweating in general,” Dr. Kristine Arthur, M.D., an internist, tells Bustle. “Night sweats are specifically at night and are drenching, usually to the point where a person would need to get up and change their clothes.”

“The most worrisome reasons for night sweats are infections and cancer,” Dr. Arthur says. “Examples include lymphoma, leukemia, tuberculosis, osteomyelitis (infection of the bone), endocarditis (heart infection), or HIV.” Don’t jump to conclusions, of course, but it will be worth it to let your doctor know if you always wake up drenched.

Studies referenced:

Bansal, R., & Aggarwal, N. (2019). Menopausal hot flashes: A concise review. Journal of Mid-Life Health, 10(1), 6. https://doi.org/10.4103/jmh.jmh_7_19

Dunmire, S. K., Hogquist, K. A., & Balfour, H. H. (2015). Infectious Mononucleosis. Current topics in microbiology and immunology, 390(Pt 1), 211–240. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-22822-8_9

Sources:

Marisa Garshick, M.D., FAAD, board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Tricia Pingel, NMD, naturopathic physician

Dr. Annie Gonzalez, M.D.,board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Josh Klapow, clinical psychologist

Sherry Ross, M.D., OB/GYN

David Greuner, M.D., FACS, double board-certified surgeon

Dr. Sapna Shah, M.D., board-certified endocrinologist

Leann Poston, M.D., MBA, MEd, licensed physician

Dr. Nwegbo-Banks, M.D., board-certified OB/GYN

Kristine Arthur, M.D., internist

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