Too Hot? Too Cold? Could be Thyroid Hormone

hot_flashesHoly Hormones Journal:  Thyroid – such an important organ – and so overlooked.  Hot flashes, night sweats, sweater on, sweater off…. we attribute this to menopause. However, we need to dig much deeper. Thyroid imbalance.  Afflicts millions of women.  Especially women on synthetic hormones. All of the endocrine organs regulate our body functions – pretty much whether we feel like we stepped into a sauna or a freezer.

Not surprising that women experience cold sensation in their extremities – especially as we age. Now that we understand that our sensitivity to temperature is due to thyroid dysregulation or hormone imbalance – we can so something about it – instead of ruining the bed sheets – or wearing socks to bed.

Thyroid Hormone Key Part in the Vascular Regulation of Body Temperature


Sep. 16, 2013 — Researchers at Karolinska Institute have discovered a reason why people with disorders of the thyroid gland may be more sensitive to environmental temperature. According to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a previously unknown link has been found between the effects of thyroid hormone on blood vessels, and how this in turn affects body temperature.

Patients with hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) or hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) often feel that they are too hot or too cold, respectively. The cause of this phenomenon has so far been attributed to the thyroid hormones’ general effect on the metabolism in the cells themselves.

The thyroid produces hormones that can influence how much the blood vessels dilate and therefore how much heat can escape.

“Our study shows that the temperature sensitivity experienced by thyroid disorder patients might be due to vascular effects, and this knowledge may help future treatment of these patients who are particularly affected,” says Dr Amy Warner, researcher at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, and the paper’s first author.

The researchers studied mice with a defective type of thyroid hormone receptor, meaning that they are hypothyroid in certain tissues, including in the smooth muscle of blood vessels. It was known from previous studies that these mice have an overactive metabolism, caused by the energy needed to generate heat from brown fat, which might seem contradictory given their impaired thyroid hormone function. When the team behind the study took infrared images of the animals, they noticed that they were losing a considerable amount of heat through their tails. Their conclusion was that mice with defective thyroid hormone receptors are unable to properly regulate the constriction of their blood vessels.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.