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Why Am I Always Cold With Hypothyroidism?

Why Am I Always Cold With Hypothyroidism?
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Originally published on 14th April 2016 
Last updated on 27th February 2019

Cold intolerance is often related to thyroid function i.e. hypothyroidism.

What is Cold Intolerance?

Cold intolerance is defined as feeling very sensitive to cold temperatures and it is more severe than the normal feeling most people get when they are feeling cold. So, if you have it, you probably feel too cold when everyone else feels ‘just right’ or even too warm.

Ever find yourself layering up when others aren’t?

The Thyroid Connection

As the main purpose of thyroid hormones is to run the metabolism, people with an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism (and often not optimally treated) may have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism, such as cold intolerance.

The thyroid gland has to be functioning properly to burn calories and create heat and fuel. This is your metabolism. Creating heat and fuel is obviously very important, in particular for your body heat and energy level.

The , located in the brain, regulates our body temperature by speaking to the pituitary gland, which in turn tells the thyroid gland (via TSH) to increase or decrease the amount of thyroid hormones it is producing, which manages our metabolism. The two main hormones your thyroid produces, T3 and T4, are important in this process.

If there is a problem with this sequence, e.g. too little or too much thyroid hormone is being produced, our metabolism being affected can result in cold or heat intolerance.

More Symptoms 

Feeling cold intolerance increases your body’s need for more thyroid hormones, which can make you feel more hypothyroid. Which is why you may have increased hypothyroidism symptoms when exposed to the cold, such as fatigue and brain fog.

This can cause your TSH level to rise and your Free T4 and Free T3 levels to drop.

Tests 

If you are often colder than those around you, you should check your thyroid function. Cold intolerance is not an illness, it is a symptom of an underlying condition, such as poorly treated hypothyroidism. Most people seem to feel best with optimal thyroid levels, as opposed to just being ‘within range’, so getting your thyroid levels optimised could really help improve cold intolerance.

People with normal thyroid function can produce more thyroid hormones to generate more heat. Those who rely on daily thyroid medication can’t do this. So some thyroid patients find they need to increase their thyroid medication dosage slightly at colder times of the year (though this should always be done by a doctor, not by yourself).

Have you experienced cold intolerance with hypothyroidism?

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.

About Author

Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial and influential contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate" and "You, Me and Hypothyroidism".

2 Comments

  • Louise Hart
    November 13, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    Have 6 nodules of which 1 is quite large
    Was advised by 5 MD’s over 10 years to have thyroïdectomie which i turned down after fine needle biopsies which could not
    ascertain that I had Cancer
    my last thyroid blood work indicated that thyroid was still functioning but on the lower end. Now at 71 years of age find myself very cold temp 95f to 97 and have chills. other times I wake up in a sweat
    Help
    louise

    Reply
  • Paul K. Suh
    October 21, 2020 at 3:19 am

    1. many year go when I worked undergraduate laboratory, I worked with radioactive matter
    2. about 15 year later, health doctor found my thyroid was swallowed
    3. after doctors examination, the thyroid specialist operated to remove the swallowed part of
    my thyroid.
    4. I then continued to feel cold throughout the year, first mild, now severely.
    5. I now suffer other ailments through out the body.
    6. I now need your expert help to recover my health.
    Thank you or your help.

    Reply

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