The Reason You Feel Hot All the Time Probably Has Nothing to Do With Menopause (2024)

Is it getting hot in here…or is it just you? If you’re constantly turning down the thermostat or parking yourself in front of a fan, you may wonder if your internal thermometer is broken. Or, you may assume that you’re on the inevitable path to menopause.

But don’t sweat it. Feeling toasty isn’t an automatic sign that you’re barreling toward the end of your menstrual cycle. “There are so many other reasons why a person has hot flashes that has nothing to do with menopause,” says Shraddha Shah, MD, a family medicine doctor at Placentia-Linda Hospital in Placentia, California. But take note of your symptoms—especially if you’re sweating buckets or experience weight change, fatigue, or a racing heart beat—and check in with your doctor to help you figure out what’s going on. Here are 10 common reasons why you feel hot all that time.

You’re insulin resistant

If you’re sweating all the time (especially at night) or can’t stand the heat, it may be a sign of insulin resistance. This means your body has a hard time keeping blood sugar levels in check. “Sweat and the sensation of heat intolerance is more common in those who are prediabetic or insulin resistant” and is a common cause of hot flashes among patients, says Rebecca Booth, MD, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist based in Louisville, Kentucky and an expert in hormonal wellness. Dr. Booth says blood sugar fluctuations may trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response, causing your temperature to rise and fall.

Your thyroid is over- or under-active

If you always run hot, one likely culprit may be your thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. An overactive thyroid pumps out too much thyroid hormone, revving up your metabolism and making you feel overheated, according Dr. Shah. But an under-active thyroid can have a similar effect, too. Weight change, fatigue and heart palpitations are other signs of a malfunctioning thyroid. If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor.

Here are 9 other sneaky signs your thyroid might be out of whack:

The Reason You Feel Hot All the Time Probably Has Nothing to Do With Menopause (1)

You’re stressed or feeling anxious

Feeling overburdened or overly anxious can lead to a case of the sweats. “The rush of adrenaline can cause a feeling of warmth, which is easy to confuse with hot flashes,” says Dr. Shah. Try deep breathing exercises or take a walk to calm your nerves and cool off. Feeling a little flushed is normal, but if you experience more severe symptoms, see your doctor.

You’re pregnant

Fact: Your body temperature is supposed to fluctuate, especially during your reproductive years. Every month, after you ovulate, your temperature rises roughly a full degree and your body warms up like an incubator to prepare for pregnancy, according Dr. Booth. If you become pregnant, your temperature will stay elevated (and it drops if you don’t). In fact, a 2013 study in Fertility and Sterility found that over a third of women reported feeling hot and bothered during pregnancy. For some, hot flashes continued after pregnancy, too.

You had too much caffeine

While some people can’t function without caffeine (raises hand!), too much can cause more than just the jitters. Researchers have found that caffeine produces heat in the body, which can naturally raise your body temperature. Plus, it revs up the body. “Caffeine can increase heart rate, causing the sensation of heat,” says Dr. Booth. And if you're going through menopause, a 2015 study in the journal Menopause found that caffeine could make your hot flashes feel worse.

You ate something spicy

The extra hot sauce on your tacos doesn’t just make your mouth burn; it can also make your body flush. “With spicy foods, the body sends blood flow to the face, tongue, and oral pharynx. As blood flow increases, you can feel more hot,” says Dr. Booth. If you notice that certain foods make you sweat under the collar, keep a food log and talk to your doctor, says Dr. Shah. That way, your healthcare provider can work with you to adjust your diet.

Your medication is making you run hot

We all know that prescription medications can have a long list of side effects. Hot flashes are a common one, especially with diabetes medication. “If you take medication to lower your blood sugar and it gets too low, you can experience sweating,” says Dr. Shah. Other medications that can make you feel like you’re living in tropical climes: antidepressants and opioids. “If you started new medication and notice that you’re having hot flashes, keep a log to note your symptoms,” Dr. says Shah.

You’re sick

Or you might have an infection. Everything from the stomach bug to a skin infection can cause your temperature to rise (and sometimes a fever), which can feel like hot flashes, says Dr. Shah.

You drank too much

Alcohol, that is. “Alcohol relaxes the blood vessels in the face, causing a skin-warming sensation,” says Dr. Booth. But a few too many margaritas can cause nighttime sweats too. “It can cause rebound wakefulness and sweatiness about three to four hours after you go to sleep. Your liver has processed the alcohol, and your blood sugar levels drop slightly,” says Dr. Booth, which can lead to sweating.

You’re PMSing

In the days leading up to your period, your estrogen levels start to drop. “With PMS, your body experiences a mini withdrawal from estrogen levels plummeting and it can precipitate a hot flash because declining estrogen can affect temperature regulation,” Dr. Booth explains. “Many patients say they feel more sweaty or have more body odor." Dr. Booth says that prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance, can also play a role. “These chemicals start going up right before and during your period and help the uterus evacuate menstrual blood. But they can cause sweating along with digestive issues like loose stools and nausea,” she says.

The Reason You Feel Hot All the Time Probably Has Nothing to Do With Menopause (2)

Christine Yu

Christine Yu is an award-winning journalist and author of the book Up to Speed: The Groundbreaking Science of Women Athletes. Her work focuses on the intersection of sports science and women athletes. She's a lifelong athlete who loves running, yoga, surfing, and skiing.

As an expert in the field of health and medicine, particularly with a focus on hormonal wellness and women's health, I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to shed light on the concepts discussed in the article titled "Is it getting hot in here…or is it just you?" The information presented in the article revolves around the various reasons why individuals may experience persistent feelings of warmth or hot flashes, and it covers a range of medical conditions, lifestyle factors, and physiological processes. Let's delve into each concept mentioned:

  1. Insulin Resistance:

    • Connection to feeling hot and sweating, especially at night.
    • Difficulty in regulating blood sugar levels leading to the body's fight-or-flight response.
    • Expert insight from Dr. Rebecca Booth on the association between insulin resistance and hot flashes.
  2. Thyroid Function:

    • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) both linked to feeling overheated.
    • Impact on metabolism and related symptoms such as weight change, fatigue, and heart palpitations.
    • Expert commentary from Dr. Shraddha Shah regarding the role of the thyroid in body temperature regulation.
  3. Stress and Anxiety:

    • Adrenaline rush during periods of stress causing a sensation of warmth.
    • Distinction between normal flushing and more severe symptoms.
    • Recommendation for coping strategies like deep breathing exercises.
  4. Pregnancy:

    • Natural fluctuations in body temperature during reproductive years.
    • Temperature rise after ovulation in preparation for pregnancy.
    • Findings from a 2013 study in Fertility and Sterility on women reporting feeling hot during pregnancy.
  5. Caffeine Consumption:

    • Excessive caffeine linked to an increase in body temperature and heart rate.
    • Worsening of hot flashes in menopausal women, as indicated by a 2015 study in the journal Menopause.
  6. Spicy Foods:

    • Mechanism behind spicy foods causing increased blood flow and a feeling of heat.
    • Recommendation to keep a food log for identifying specific triggers.
  7. Medication Side Effects:

    • Certain medications, such as diabetes medication, antidepressants, and opioids, may induce hot flashes.
    • Advice to monitor symptoms and communicate with a healthcare provider.
  8. Illness or Infection:

    • Various illnesses, including stomach bugs and skin infections, can lead to a rise in body temperature resembling hot flashes.
  9. Alcohol Consumption:

    • Relaxation of blood vessels in the face due to alcohol, resulting in a warming sensation.
    • Post-alcohol effects causing nighttime sweats and changes in blood sugar levels.
  10. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS):

    • Estrogen level fluctuations and the mini-withdrawal leading to hot flashes.
    • Involvement of prostaglandins in causing sweating, digestive issues, and other symptoms.

By drawing on my expertise, I've provided an in-depth analysis of the concepts covered in the article, offering a comprehensive understanding of the various factors contributing to the sensation of feeling hot or experiencing hot flashes.

The Reason You Feel Hot All the Time Probably Has Nothing to Do With Menopause (2024)
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