Chances are, you know somebody who “runs hot.” Maybe you are that somebody. And while some people really do sweat more than others, being hot all the time isn’t a normal thing and can actually indicate something happening beneath the surface of your health that needs to be addressed.
Before you resign to having your AC running 24/7 in the dead of winter, check out some of these common culprits behind having an unusually elevated temperature—and how you can turn down the heat.
1. You’re Going Through Menopause
Menopause, which often begins between the ages of 45 and 55, is one of the most common causes of elevated body temperature in women. “As your hormones begin to shift, you can experience hot flashes, in which you might feel flushed, notice increased sweating, and experience sudden surges of extreme body heat,” explains NOW Wellness Expert and functional medicine practitioner, Dr. Will Cole, D.N.M., D.C.
“While your hormones are naturally meant to go through this transition, you can mitigate the side effects with proper hormone care via dietary changes and natural lifestyle tools,” Cole says.
One of the best ways to support hormonal balance is to show your liver some love: “Our hormones are regulated largely by our liver, so supporting our liver by avoiding toxins, eating organic foods when possible, avoiding alcohol, and decreasing exposure to toxicants called endocrine disruptors (which are often found in fertilizers and pesticides) supports the body during this time,” suggests naturopathic doctor Kathryn Firisin, N.D., Medical Director of Coastal Natural Medicine.
Certain supplements can also promote hormonal health during menopause. A few to note: black cohosh, red clover, and vitamin D, suggests Cole. Consult with a naturopathic doctor to determine which supplements (and in what amounts) might benefit you throughout this hormonal transition.
2. You Have Anhidrosis
Not to be confused with hyperhidrosis—a condition in which your body produces too much sweat—anhidrosis occurs when your body doesn’t sweat enough. “Since sweat’s main responsibility is to help control your body temperature, not sweating enough could result in overheating,” Cole explains. Thus, you may experience other symptoms of anhidrosis and heat intolerance as a result, which include fatigue, drowsiness, and brain fog.
If you struggle with anhidrosis, you’ll want to focus on increasing blood flow and improving hydration levels. “Ginger and foods rich in antioxidants, like pomegranates, are great for increasing blood flow, as they help to open up blood vessels and facilitate better circulation,” Cole notes. The easiest way to stay hydrated is to consistently refill your water bottle throughout the day. To take your hydration game a step further, Cole recommends adding an electrolyte booster—which will help you maintain a healthy ratio between fluids and electrolytes—to your water.
3. You Take One Of These Medications
According to Cole, excessive sweating and increased body temperature are common side effects of a variety of different medications, including:
- Blood pressure medications
- Diabetes medications
- Hormone therapy medications
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Migraine medications
- Stimulatory medications (eg. Adderall and Ritalin)
“Any medication that has a stimulatory effect, such as Adderall or Ritalin, can increase body temperature, in part due to a decrease in blood flow to the skin,” Firisin explains. “Blood flow to the skin is one way we release heat, and without this circulation we retain heat and our body temperature can rise.”
You should also note that thyroid medications, which are meant to stimulate thyroid function, can increase body temperature if they aren’t well managed. So, if you’re taking thyroid medication and notice any changes, Firisin suggests consulting with your prescribing doctor about adjusting your dose.
If you’re feeling hot-hot-hot after starting a new prescription, you may be able to switch to a different medication or lower your dosage in order to find some relief and cool off. In some cases, working with a functional medicine practitioner may support you in restoring health so that you can ultimately nix certain medications completely, says Cole.
4. You’re Chronically Anxious or Stressed
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a conversation around stress or anxiety today that doesn’t mention the concept of the “fight or flight” response and all of the ways it affects your body. Interestingly, one of the downstream effects of your nervous system being in threat response mode is feeling hot.
“This happens when your sympathetic nervous system kicks in and releases hormones for you to stay and fight or run away,” Cole explains. As a result, your body temperature rises and you may begin to sweat.
Read More: Top Tips For Easing Stress From A Neurologist And Herbalist
“While this can be a healthy response from your body, the issue occurs when the threat doesn’t go away,” Cole notes. So, if you regularly feel stressed or anxious, your body continues to respond to that by kicking into “fight or flight,” bringing with it irritating symptoms like excessive sweating and feeling too hot.
Finding ways to minimize stress is the ticket here. Healthy habits that promote relaxation and center the mind and body can be incredibly effective in fighting chronic stress and anxiety, says Cole. A few of his go-to’s: meditation, journaling, physical exercise, and breathwork, all of which can be done anywhere and for short durations.
5. You Have an Overactive Thyroid
“Overactive thyroid—more commonly known as hyperthyroidism—increases your heart rate and puts your metabolism into overdrive,” Cole explains. Since your metabolism is responsible for regulating body temperature, people with hyperthyroidism are likely to experience excess sweating and body heat.
One everyday way to support healthy thyroid function: your diet. “Selenium and zinc can be helpful,” says Firisin. “It’s also worth noting that too much iodine can impact thyroid function, which is why avoiding iodine-containing foods, such as iodized salt and seafood, is recommended for individuals with hyperthyroid.” As for herbal remedies, lemon balm has been shown to have antithyroid effects and can be consumed as a tea, as well as in capsule and tincture form, to promote balance for those with an overactive thyroid, she says.
Of course, while all of these tactics could be helpful, it’s important not to pursue them willy-nilly. “Thyroid conditions should not be treated without consulting a naturopathic physician or without medical supervision,” Firisin warns. Always speak with your physician before trying any protocols for your thyroid.
6. You Drink Beverages or Eat Foods That Trigger a Temperature Spike
According to Cole, certain food and drinks—specifically alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods—can all raise your body temperature. While you may not be eating mouth-numbingly hot foods on a regular basis, tracking your caffeine and alcohol intake and taking note of your symptoms can help you identify if they’re messing with your temp.
Read More: 6 Ways To Conquer The Midday Slump Without Caffeine
“Just two or three cups of coffee have been shown to increase thermogenesis or the production of heat in the human body, so simply reducing caffeine intake will keep the body from producing excess heat,” Firisin explains. If you love the coziness of a warm cup of tea or coffee, swap caffeinated sips for herbal teas or decaf java.
You may also want to skip happy hour. “Alcohol temporarily increases body temperature by dilating or widening blood vessels, specifically those closest to the skin, which can give you that warm, toasty buzzed feeling,” Firisin explains. “Interestingly, this phenomenon is short-lived as the body loses heat with increased blood flow, ultimately leaving you feeling chillier.”
While everyone’s body temperature varies, being hot all the time isn’t normal. If you’re uncomfortably warm often, it’s worth speaking with a doctor or a holistic health expert to get to the root of the problem by identifying and treating whatever underlying lifestyle factor or health issue is at play.