“Why am I always so cold?” This question — “Why am I always cold? — you’re more likely to hear from women compared to men, those with thyroid and circulation-related issues, and people who are underweight — all of whom may have a low body temperature for a variety of reasons.
Some experts describe abnormal sensitivity to cold temperatures as “cold intolerance.” Sometimes feeling chilly all the time also comes along with other symptoms, such as changes in circulation, menstrual cycles and moods.
These symptoms can indicate possible underlying conditions, such as hypothyroidism, anemia or hormone imbalances. So what can you do about it?
Below you’ll find tips for staying warm and cozy, plus symptoms to look out for that may pinpoint why you might be feeling cold all the time.
Why Am I Always Cold? (Causes)
Is it normal for a person to always be cold? Not exactly.
It’s “normal” and expected to feel cold when if you’ve recently spent time somewhere where the temperature is very low, especially if your skin is also wet. If you feel cool and have goose bumps when it’s “room temperature” and other people are comfortable, however, then this a is a sign that something may be wrong.
The average/normal body temperature ranges between 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36.1°C) and 99°F (37.2°C). Having a body temperature below 97°F can lead to you feeling cold even when your environment is comfortable.
If your body temp falls down around 95°F (35° C), this is a dangerous situation called hypothermia — however that’s only likely to happen when you’re exposed to extreme cold.
Some potential causes of always feeling cold can include:
- Thyroid disorder called hypothyroidism — When the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, body temperature can fall, and one’s metabolism can slow.
- Poor circulation — If enough blood isn’t flowing to all parts of our body, especially your feet and hands, you might feel cooler than usual. Impaired circulation can be due to health factors such as blockages in the arteries, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes. A condition called Raynaud’s syndrome can also be the cause, since this causes blood vessels to narrow, cutting off circulation to the extremities.
- Dehydration —Hydration is key to regulating your body temp, so not drinking enough fluids or being ill and dehydrated may make you shiver or feel unusually cold.
- Low body weight — The more body fat you have, the warmer you’ll feel, since fat produces heat and can even raise your metabolism by contributing to a greater body mass. (Muscle can too.) People who are underweight (BMI of 18.5 or under) due to an eating disorder or those who lose body fat due to illnesses (such as inflammatory bowel disease or cancer, for example) may be prone to feeing chilly more often.
- Calorie restriction/dieting — Severe calorie restriction lowers your metabolic rate, which means your body produces less heat. Eating can also make you feel warm because your body produces heat through thermogenesis after you eat as you digest, so if you’re hungry you may feel colder.
- Slowed down metabolism — A lower metabolic rate means your body produces less heat.
- Hormone fluctuations — This can include changes that occur before a woman gets her period, as drops in certain hormones such as progesterone can lower your body temp.
- Being tired — Although it’s not exactly clear why, being deprived of sleep and exhausted can cause coldness because it impairs normal thyroid and hypothalamus function and causes a decline in your metabolic rate.
- Anemia — This is a blood disorder, sometimes caused by low iron intake, that causes too little healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. Anemia can impact thyroid function and metabolic health.
Women vs. Men
Why am I always cold, and why do I feel cold more than others? If you’re a woman, it may have something to do with your gender.
Women are more likely to feel chilly than men and often prefer being in higher-temperature settings because of differences in body composition and also the way that blood is directed in the female body.
- Women tend to have smaller body frames than men, which means there is less body heat being produced.
- In women’s bodies, more blood flows to the organs than the limbs, hands and feet. This means that women may feel color in their extremities more easily.
- Women may also feel cold due to hormonal changes that occur with their menstrual cycles. Some women feel colder just before or during their periods when their body temperatures actually drop slightly.
- Women who were recently pregnant or those who are over age 60 are also more likely to feel cold at odd times.
- Additionally, women are prone more to developing hyperthyroidism or a sluggish metabolism.
What to Do About It
Chances are if you wonder why am I always cold, you probably also wonder how can I stop feeling cold? The solution comes down to first determining what’s causing your cold intolerance.
After you’ve identified potential causes, try taking the steps below to help bring your body temperature back into the normal range:
- Maintain a healthy/normal BMI. If you’re below a BMI of 19 and often cold, try increasing your calorie intake to bring your body weight up a bit. The best way to go about this is to eat whole, healthy foods that contain lots of protein, healthy fats and complex carbs, such as avocado, coconut, nuts, seeds, meats and whole milk yogurt.
- Have your thyroid tested. This can be done with a blood test. You may need prescription medications if you’re found to have hypothyroidism, or you can discuss lifestyle changes with your doctor that might help.
- Get enough sleep. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to support a healthy metabolism, mood and more. Try sticking to a regular sleep-wake schedule to support your circadian rhythm, meaning you go to sleep and wake up each day at roughly the same times.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and other hydrating fluids throughout the day, such as herbal teas, bone broth and fresh pressed juices.
- Exercise (but don’t overdo it). Do regular strength-training and cardio exercises to maintain a healthy weight, support circulation and heart health, and to add lean muscle to your frame, which actually helps boost your metabolism a bit.
- Take steps to prevent anemia. If you are deficient in iron, consider supplementing while also adding more iron-rich foods to your diet, including grass-fed meat and leafy greens. Also be sure to consume enough vitamin B12, which works with iron. B12 is found in foods like eggs, nutritional yeast, organ meats and eggs. Note that B12 deficiency is more common among vegans or vegetarians who avoid animal products.
- Lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease. These conditions can cause poor blood flow and neuropathy, which is a type of nerve damage that can sometimes trigger chills and tingling.
- Track your menstrual cycle. If you’re a woman and feeling cold because of hormone levels fluctuating, this isn’t necessarily something to worry about (assuming your menstrual cycle is overall normal). Try wearing cozy socks and more layers, and use a space heater if need be. If you’ve recently been pregnant or are going through menopause, fluctuations in body temps can be temporarily normal. To help balance your hormones, focus on moderate exercise, managing stress, eating well and sleeping enough.
When to See a Doctor
If you’ve tried the remedies above but still find that you’re asking yourself, “Why am I cold all of the time?” it’s smart to speak with a doctor.
Your doctor may decide to run tests to determine if you thyroid is working properly or if you possibly have an issue such as anemia or Raynaud’s disease.
While feeling cold often might not be a serious problem, if it persists and started suddenly, it’s best to get evaluated in order to determine what’s causing your symptoms.
Mention other symptoms you might be experiencing to your doctor, which can clue him/her to what may be wrong. These include symptoms such as:
- Thinning hair
- Dry skin or skin that bruises easily or looks pale, purple/blue
- Longer or heavier periods
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Numbness and pain in your hands and feet (a sign of neuropathy that can affect diabetics)
- Trouble sleeping
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue and weakness
- Mood changes
- Why am I always cold is a common question that could have any number of answers.
- So why am I so cold all the time? There are many possible reasons why you might have a low body temperature, including issues related to your thyroid, menstrual cycle, sleep, diet, circulation and activity level.
- Women are more likely to feel cold, and so are people suffering from issues like hypothyroidism, low body weight/calorie restriction, diabetes, anemia and other conditions.
- To help maintain a healthy metabolism and temperature, exercise moderately, eat enough (but maintain a healthy BMI), get good sleep, increase your intake of iron and B12, and avoid dehydration or exhaustion.