6 Internal Heat Causes in Women Related to Hormone Imbalance
June 5, 2021
Updated Aril 2023
Internal heat can be a frustrating symptom of hormone imbalance in women. Discover the six most common causes and how to address them with this helpful guide.
Hormone changes could be among the common internal heat causes in women we know. Internal or body heat is a phenomenon that’s difficult to measure.
However, for many women, it is a fairly common complaint.
And often not linked to exercise, being in a hot environment, or being ill from an infection. You may have the same symptoms as a real fever – feeling extremely hot, sweaty and chills.
Other symptoms are burning, feeling flushed, overheating etc. But when you have a temperature check, the thermometer reading is around 36 to 37 deg C (96.8F to 98.6F), considered average body temperature.
So – what is going on?
With internal body heat, there is no ‘internal fever’, but a sensation of excessive heat or warmth even though:
This post considers the causes of internal heat in a woman brought on by hormones.
However, we know several causes of internal body heat unrelated to hormones – some of which we describe here.
Causes of internal heat may also differ from women to men.
We look at how specific hormones or changes in how they behave could lead to the development of internal heat. These hormone imbalances may also be related to other symptoms, some of which we mention here.
Hormones are special chemical messengers produced by certain organs in your body, also known as endocrine glands.
Following their production, hormones get sent into your bloodstream.
Here are a few examples of hormones and the endocrine glands where they are produced:
Adrenaline (Fight or Flight Hormone) – Adrenal glands (located above the kidneys)
Cortisol (essential for metabolism and immune response) – Adrenal glands (located above the kidneys)
Insulin (helps control glucose levels and other metabolic actions) – Pancreas found in the abdomen.
Your hormones help regulate the way your body works, for instance:
Sex hormones affect your sexual and reproductive development and other body functions. For instance, they are necessary for puberty, sexual desire and other forms of sexual development. In addition, they act in some inflammatory processes, influencing hair growth patterns and body fat distribution, among others.
Sex hormones in women include Progesterone, Oestrogen and Testosterone. (Yes, women do produce small amounts of Testosterone).
Oestrogen is likely the female sex hormone with which we are most familiar. Additionally, it has an essential role in women’s sexual and reproductive health from puberty, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and Menopause.
Additionally, Oestrogen promotes lower body temperatures by supporting the body’s removal of excess heat – like widening the blood vessels and sweating. (Relaxes and dilates blood vessels, so blood flow increases.)
The other well-known female sex hormone is Progesterone. In women, progesterone levels increase during ovulation and pregnancy. Progesterone is one of the hormone causes of internal heat in a woman. It promotes higher body temperatures.
Finally, Testosterone is popular as the male sex hormone. However, women produce small amounts of the hormone, which play a role in your sexual desire, menstrual cycle and fertility. It also affects muscle and bone growth.
Progesterone spikes during ovulation. Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovary. In the days leading up to ovulation, Oestrogen is the primary hormone.
However, just as ovulation happens, Progesterone levels go up very sharply – and remain up until the next period of your cycle.
Following ovulation, Progesterone helps prepare the body for pregnancy. If fertilisation does not happen, the egg and parts of the womb lining are shed as the menstrual blood in that cycle.
Thanks to the spike in Progesterone, some women experience a slight increase in body temperature and excess internal body heat. The feeling of being warmer can persist through the next two weeks till your period.
When a woman is pregnant, her body forms Progesterone, but so does the placenta. The placenta is the organ that arises after pregnancy that supports the baby’s development. Progesterone helps pregnancy to progress normally. But this also contributes to the rise in internal body heat some women may experience during their pregnancy. There is no sign of a high-temperature reading on the thermometer for many ladies, but that does not mean they do not feel flushed or overheated.
Menopause is the stage in a woman’s reproductive life is when her body stops making eggs and can no longer get pregnant. It tends to happen around the age of 48-50 years and over.
One of the main symptoms during Menopause is the ‘hot flash’. The hot flash is the sudden experience of intense body heat that a woman feels washing over her body. Sometimes anxiety, stress, hot weather, alcohol, smoking or other things can bring on a hot flash.
But it could also arise without a trigger. But all this is possible because of hormone changes. For example, we know the principal hormone change in Menopause is erratic, fluctuating and reducing /low Oestrogen levels.
The fluctuation affects the temperature control centre in the brain (hypothalamus) and causes changes in blood vessels. The blood vessels rapidly tighten and open – leading to skin flushing and temperature changes called hot flashes.
And this is why it is one of the causes of internal heat in a woman. Check other Symptoms and Treatments of Menopause.
Other conditions can create a menopause-like state in a woman, but the result is the same for creating a sensation of excess internal body heat.
Examples of some conditions leading to chemical Menopause – Breast Cancer treatments such as:
Women can experience hot flashes from erratic/low Oestrogen levels due to chemical Menopause. They report these are more frequent and severe than natural Menopause.
Premature Ovarian Failure happens when the ovaries stop their reproductive function prematurely (usually before the age of 40). We’ve seen how this can occur with breast cancer (or other cancer) treatments in chemical Menopause.
But other conditions outside of cancer can lead to premature ovarian failure.
Abnormal hormone balances like Progesterone dominance or Testosterone dominance may lead to excessive internal body heat symptoms.
An overactive thyroid gland is one of the causes of internal body heat.
The thyroid gland (found in the neck) produces Thyroxine, a hormone vital for several body functions: digestion, heart and muscle activity, brain development and bone maintenance.
People with an overactive gland produce excess amounts of Thyroxine. They have a condition known as Hyperthyroidism. It also happens in an autoimmune disorder we call Grave’s Disease. Symptoms related to having too much Thyroxine are:
Adrenaline is a special hormone – it carries chemical messages and transfers messages from the nerves to various organs.
It can act differently in various cells, but overall, its job is to prepare the body for the ‘fight or flight’ response during times of stress (when you need to act suddenly or rapidly.
The effect of Adrenaline on the blood vessels makes it one of the hormonal causes of internal body heat.
Other effects of Adrenaline are:
Cortisol is another hormone with a big role in many processes around the body, including metabolism, inflammation and stress.
Having excess Cortisol can be from taking certain medicines or due to cancer.
Cushing’s syndrome is a combination of symptoms that happens when a person has excess Cortisol.
One of them is a ‘flushed and round face’ leading a person with Cushing’s to complain of excessive internal body heat.
Other symptoms are:
If you don’t have the hormone insulin, or your body cannot respond to insulin, you can develop Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.
One of the symptoms of Diabetes is increased thirst and frequent urination.
People with Diabetes can quickly become dehydrated – a state often associated with internal heat.
In addition, Diabetes can damage your nerves or blood vessels and affect the way many tissues, like your sweat glands, work. If you cannot release sweat, your body will not cool down, which is one of the causes of internal body heat.
One of the main hormones involved in our mood, emotions and how we behave is Serotonin.
Studies show low serotonin levels in some people with Depression.
It can also affect other tissues in our body, like our bones, bowels and blood cells.
People with Depression may complain of intense body heat or other sensations related to abnormal hormone levels.
Some other physical symptoms of Depression include:
They may happen with the symptoms that affect you mentally:
Antidepressants are drugs we take to manage the symptoms of Depression. Mainly they work by raising the levels of hormones, which boost the mood.
Some of them can affect your sweat glands and prevent you from cooling down properly. Thus some women may experience excessive internal body heat as a side effect of the antidepressant medication.
As there are several internal heat causes in a woman (not just hormones), it is essential to promptly discuss your symptoms with your doctor.
We can determine if your symptoms of internal body heat are related to hormones or other causes.
Let us know if you found this post useful; please share this in the comments section below or tell us any experience with internal body heat.
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on various healthcare conditions to help promote quality healthcare.
The advice in our material is not meant to replace a qualified healthcare practitioner’s management of your specific condition.
To discuss your condition, please get in touch with a health practitioner or reach us directly
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