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The Silent Killers: 6 Medical Conditions Linked to Internal Heat

August 10, 2022

Black lady in red dressing gown sitting on bed, experiencing internal heat - causes include gallstones or gall bladder inflammation

Internal heat causes are broad and may include medical conditions and environmental factors.

Physical problems affecting the heart, brain or kidneys produce the symptom of internal heat. If you suffer from anxiety, depression or another mental health problem, you may experience the symptom too.

Different categories of drugs or medicines may also cause the sensation of internal heat as a side effect.

So in this post, here are six potentially serious medical conditions. Some are also known as “silent killers” because many people don’t realize that they exist until it’s too late.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are small pieces of mineral deposits that form inside the kidneys.

These develop from waste products of the blood, which form crystals as urine filters through the kidneys.

Usually happening twice more often in men than women, they cause sudden severe loin pains that come in waves.

Some individuals complain of a sensation of intense internal heat around the same time as kidney stones making it one of the medical conditions linked to internal heat.

If not treated properly, they lead to damage to the urinary network (tract) and kidney failure. Learn more about the risks of Kidney failure.

Graphic photo showing the pancreas and gall bladder - disease in both organs are causes of internal heat

Complications from Gallstones

Gallstones develop in the gallbladder, a small pouch-like organ found under the liver. The job of the gall bladder is to store bile that is produced by the liver. Bile is essential in digestion for breaking down fats/cholesterol.

The stones are made up of calcium salts and cholesterol.

Most people who develop gallstones do so between the ages of 30 and 50. Unlike kidney stones, women are more likely than men to develop them and are often overweight. Classically a fatty meal may trigger a flare of gallstones, causing sudden intense abdominal pain (biliary colic).

In this situation, a stone gets trapped inside the gallbladder’s opening (duct). Pain from biliary colic can last (usually) between 1 and 5 hours.

Often this pain starts around the upper right side of the abdomen, commonly along with nausea or vomiting. Many people may experience a sensation of warmth or internal heat during flares.

Many people may experience gallstones without symptoms, but in others, there may also be:

  1. Inflammation of the gallbladder (fever, sweating, severe pain, vomiting)
  2. Blockage of bile ducts. In rare conditions, gallstones block the common bile duct. (The bile duct is the small tube that carries bile from the gallbladder to the intestine). It can be dangerous if untreated.

It’s important to be aware of these complications and discuss treatment options if you have gallstones.


The pancreas is another organ located in the abdomen lying behind the stomach and near the small bowel.

Mainly it produces enzymes and hormones. One of the most important of these is insulin, which is responsible for maintaining blood sugar and other body functions. The enzymes from the pancreas are important for digestion.

If you have pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas, you might feel severe pain in your upper abdomen. This gives it a profile as one of the serious medical conditions linked to internal heat.

You might also notice nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, chills, and fatigue.

Thus it is another important medical cause of internal heat to be aware of – and it is possible to treat pancreatitis with medication and diet changes.

image shows 3 bowls of food - mixture of fibre containing fruits and vegetables - one of the causes of internal heat can be treated with diet


Diverticulosis is a condition where small pouches form inside the big bowel.

These pouches are called diverticula. They usually occur in people who are older than 50 years old.

(They can also form along the stomach and small bowel).

But they can be an important cause of internal heat from chronic inflammation within the bowel.

You may not show any symptoms if you have a mild case of diverticulosis. Over time, they can become infected/inflamed (diverticulitis) and may cause pain in the lower abdomen as the condition progresses.

Here are some of the symptoms if you have this condition:

  • Diarrhoea alternating with constipation
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Chills and/or fever
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Blood in stools

Diet and Complications from Diverticulosis

Consuming sufficient amounts of fibre, staying hydrated, and keeping active may reduce the risk of diverticulosis progressing.

People with diverticulosis who proceed to diverticulitis may also be at risk of developing other conditions.

These include

  • Bowel abscess (when the pouches become infected, collection of pus can develop in the bowel)
  • Fistula (an abnormal connection from one body part to another).
    • They may develop after infected pouches heal; they may stick together and create new connections from one end of the bowel to another; or from the bowel to the bladder or another organ. Further complications like organ failure can follow this.
  • Perforation & Peritonitis – these are life-threatening conditions that can follow untreated or poor;y treated Diverticular infection.
  • Bleeding from the diverticular pouches is common following frequent infections/inflammation. People may also take NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to deal with pain which can lead to serious bleeding from the gut.
Man with left loin pain holding his back-kidney stones is one of the causes of internal heat

Some Types of Cancer

Cancer happens when certain cells in the body start to grow abnormally. Some types of cancer remain in one part of the body. On the other hand, when cancer is malignant, the cells can spread to or invade other parts of the body.

We do not know why cancer happens in many cases.

Certain associations include environmental factors and some elements with the potential to cause cancer.

These may include food, household products, cosmetics and so on. An inheritance or family links may also play a role in some types of cancer.

However, regardless of the cause, the process of cancer growth, spread with inflammation, and the breakdown of cells make this one of the medical conditions linked to internal heat.

The sensation of excess heat, often happening with excess sweating, can be a symptom of conditions like Leukaemia or Lymphoma (two types of blood cell cancer).

Stomach/Bowel Ulcer

If you suffer from this condition, you may be familiar with the sensation of internal heat.

Gastric ulcer refers to the development of an ulcer in the stomach. We refer to an ulcer developing in the small bowel as a duodenal ulcer. Ulcers can form in any part of the stomach and bowels. Before the stomach or bowel lining develops the ulcer, there is usually chronic inflammation.

A common example when this happens in the stomach is known as gastritis. Symptoms include pain in the upper abdomen that is sharp or burning in nature. Vomiting and weight loss may also accompany gastritis or bowel ulcers.

Failure to treat an ulcer correctly can lead to severe bleeding from the gut, another potentially deadly condition.

It is important that you know of these medical conditions linked to internal heat and do not ignore the symptom.

Some may be less benign than others.

Speak to a doctor to assess your symptoms further and provide direction on your next steps.

More Reading


Editing by AskAwayHealth Team


All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on various healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and help promote quality healthcare.

 The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner 

Image Credits: Unsplash

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