You can be easily overheated for many reasons. Causes can range from conditions like diabetes or thyroid problems to stress or anxiety. It can also be something that develops during menopause or in older age.
Bodies are unique, and some may just run a little hotter than others.
Exercise is a great example of this. Some people are dry after a cycling class, and others are drenched after a flight of stairs. It’s important to note that these personal differences have little to do with how in shape you are.
Still, feeling hotter than usual without any clear cause can sometimes be a sign of something else at play.
1. Stress or anxiety
Your sympathetic nervous system plays a role in both how much you sweat and how you physically respond to emotional stress. If you experience moderate to severe social anxiety, for example, you may be familiar with these fight-or-flight physical reactions when you’re faced with a big crowd.
You may notice fast heart rate and breathing, increased body temperature, and sweating. These are all physical reactions that prepare you to move fast — whether it’s to outrun a predator or the co-worker you can’t stand.
Emotional symptoms of anxiety include panic, fear, and worry that can be difficult to control.
Other physical symptoms of stress and anxiety include:
- clammy hands
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that produces thyroid hormones, which play a central role in your metabolism.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid is overactive. This can cause a variety of physical changes. Most notable will be unexplained weight loss and a rapid or irregular heart rate.
Hyperthyroidism puts your metabolism into overdrive, which can also result in feeling unusually hot as well as excessive sweating.
Other symptoms of an overactive thyroid include:
- heart palpitations
- increased appetite
- nervousness or anxiety
- slight hand tremors
- changes to your hair
- trouble sleeping
If you have symptoms of hyperthyroidism, contact your healthcare provider so they can run a thyroid function test.
3. Medication side effects
Some prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can cause excessive heat and sweating, including:
- zinc supplements and other zinc-containing drugs
- certain antidepressants, including desipramine (Norpramin) and nortriptyline (Pamelor)
- hormonal medications
- pain relievers
- heart and blood pressure drugs
Keep in mind that some medications tend to only cause hotness or excessive sweating in a very small percentage of people, so it can be hard to verify whether another medication you take could be to blame.
To be sure, ask your healthcare provider if any medications you take could be the root of the issue.
4. Food and drink
Sure, it makes sense that your body would warm up when you’re drinking hot soup, but what about an icy margarita?
Common foods and drinks that might raise your body temperature include:
- spicy foods
All of these can kick your body into overdrive, raising your heart rate and making you flushed, hot, and sweaty.
Spicy foods also usually feature hot peppers, which contain capsaicin, a natural chemical that raises your body temperature and causes you to sweat and tear up.
If you regularly feel overheated but produce little to no sweat, you may have a condition called anhidrosis.
Anhidrosis is a condition in which you don’t sweat as much as your body needs you to, which can lead to overheating.
Other symptoms of anhidrosis include:
- an inability to cool down
- muscle cramps
If you tend to feel hot but you don’t notice much sweat, see your healthcare provider so they can determine if you have anhidrosis.
The summer months can be challenging for people with fibromyalgia, a widespread pain disorder that wreaks havoc on the body.
People with this condition tend to have an increased sensitivity to temperature, both hot and cold.
If you have fibromyalgia, you may also experience an increased physiological response to temperature, which can include excessive sweating, flushing, and swelling in the heat. This likely has something to do with changes to the autonomic nervous system, which helps regulate body temperature.
Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- allover body pain that lasts longer than three months
- trouble thinking or concentrating
Sound familiar? Learn more about getting a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
7. Multiple sclerosis (MS)
If you have MS, you may be unusually sensitive to heat. Even a slight increase in body temperature can cause your MS symptoms to appear or worsen.
Hot and humid days are particularly challenging, but this worsening of symptoms can also occur after a hot bath, a fever, or an intense workout.
Symptoms typically return to baseline once you cool down. Less often, people with MS may experience what’s known as a paroxysmal symptom, such as a sudden hot flash.
Diabetes can also make you feel the heat more than others.
People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are more sensitive to heat than other people. This is particularly true for those with poor blood glucose control who develop complications, such as nerve and blood vessel damage.
People with diabetes also become dehydrated easily, which can worsen the effects of heat and raise blood sugar levels.
Other symptoms of diabetes include:
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- poor wound healing
- blurred vision
If you think you may have diabetes, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from your healthcare provider so you can come up with a management plan.
Older adults feel the heat differently than younger adults. If you’re around 65 or older, your body might not be adjusting to temperature changes as quickly as it once did. This means that hot and humid weather can take more of a toll than it used to.
Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause, occurring in as many as
Doctors don’t know why hot flashes are so common during the menopausal transition, but it has something to do with changing hormone levels.
During a hot flash, you may experience any of the following:
- sudden feeling of intense heat, particularly in your upper body
- flushing or redness in the face and neck
- red blotches on the arms, back, or chest
- heavy sweating
- cold chills after hot flashes
Menopause officially begins when you go 12 months without getting your period. The years prior to this are known as perimenopause.
During this transitional time, your hormone levels fluctuate without warning. When your hormone levels dip, you may experience symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes.
Other signs of perimenopause include:
- missed or irregular periods
- periods that are longer or shorter than usual
- unusually light or heavy periods
12. Primary ovarian insufficiency
Primary ovarian insufficiency, also known as premature ovarian failure, happens when your ovaries stop working properly before age 40.
When your ovaries aren’t functioning properly, they don’t produce enough estrogen. This can cause premature menopause symptoms, including hot flashes.
Other signs of ovarian insufficiency in women under 40 include:
- irregular or missed periods
- vaginal dryness
- trouble getting pregnant
- decreased sexual desire
- trouble concentrating
If you’re having menopause symptoms and you’re under age 40, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
PMS is the collection of physical and emotional symptoms that affect most females in the days before their period.
During this time in the reproductive cycle (after ovulation and before menstruation), hormone levels hit their lowest point. These hormonal dips can cause many symptoms, from cramps and bloating to depression and anxiety.
For some, the decrease in estrogen can lead to a symptom more commonly associated with menopause: hot flashes.
PMS-related hot flashes may show up in the week prior to your period. They feel like an intense wave of heat starting in your midsection and moving up toward your face and neck. You may also experience profuse sweating, followed by a chill.
Although hot flashes are typically associated with decreased hormone levels, they’re also quite common during pregnancy.
Hormonal fluctuations that occur at different times during and after pregnancy can affect the way your body regulates temperature, which can leave you feeling generally hotter and sweatier than normal.
Short, intense episodes of overheating during or after pregnancy are better described as hot flashes. Research suggests as many as
If you think you’re experiencing one of the conditions above, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
If you have always been someone who “runs hot” or sweats more than those around you, then there probably isn’t anything to worry about.
However, if you notice a recent change, such as the onset of hot flashes or night sweats, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider.
See your doctor right away if you notice any of the following:
- regular, unexplained night sweats
- dizziness or fainting
- unexplained weight loss
- irregular or fast heart rate
- chest pain
- severe pain