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The Science Behind Female Hot and Cold Body Temperature Swings

Temperature swings in women are usually caused by hormonal changes and can easily resolve on their own. In this blog, we discuss the science behind hot and cold flashes and share what you can do to regulate your body temperature.

hot and cold body temperature swings female


Hormonal changes are the main reason behind hot and cold temperature swings.

When experiencing cold flashes, take a hot shower before bed – and vice versa.

If flu-like symptoms tag along with the temperature swings, see a doctor for medical evaluation.

Did you know?
Emotional stress can trigger both hot and cold flashes by activating the body’s fight-or-flight response!

Ever found yourself suddenly transported from the cozy comfort of your bed into what feels like the fiery pits of a volcano or the icy depths of Antarctica? Well, fear not – you may just be experiencing the exhilarating phenomenon known as hot and cold flashes! But before you start planning your expedition to the North Pole or packing sunscreen for your volcanic adventure, let’s unpack the science behind body temperature swings and uncover what your body may be trying to tell you from this experience.

Let’s dive in!

What Are Hot And Cold Flashes?

These are sudden sensations in your body of either higher-than-average hotness or coldness. Usually sweating or shivering tag along when you feel hot and cold flashes, respectively. Here is a more detailed breakdown:

Hot Flashes feel like a sudden warmth, usually targeting your upper body areas like your face and neck. They can be quite intense and may even cause flushing of the skin, light sweating, and a rapid heartbeat.

Cold flashes involve an unexpected sensation of coldness or chills, usually accompanied by shivering or goosebumps. Usually, cold flashes happen as a reaction to an abrupt drop in body temperature.

Both hot and cold flashes can be uncomfortable, especially if there is no clear change in your environment that you can link these changes to. However, usually, these flashes are temporary and resolve on their own in a few hours or so.

Next, let’s uncover what exactly the reason is behind these body temperature swings.

What Causes Hot And Cold Flashes?

Here’s a detailed breakdown of potential triggers for hot and cold flashes:

Hot Flashes:

Unless you’re experiencing a fever, hot flashes can be caused by:

1. Menopause: For the ladies, in particular, menopause can cause hot flashes. During this period of transition, your body undergoes changes like a decrease in estrogen levels. This can interfere with how your body regulates its temperature, leading to hot flashes.

2. Other Hormonal Changes: Like briefly mentioned before, changes in hormone levels – even outside of menopause, can cause hot flashes. This is true for menstruation, pregnancy, or even puberty!

3. Medications: Certain medicines, like opioids, some antidepressants, or tamoxifen (for breast cancer treatment) have been linked to hot flashes as a side effect.

4. Medical Conditions: Hot flashes are also a symptom of several diseases and disorders like hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), carcinoid syndrome, pheochromocytoma (a tumor of the adrenal glands), or a few types of cancer.

5. Emotional Stress: Anxiety and similar worry-like feelings can trigger hot flashes in some people. This is because stress activates your body’s fight or flight response, leading to changes in how your body regulates temperature.

6. Diet Choices: Drinking alcohol or eating spicy foods can dilate blood vessels and bump up your body temperature, triggering hot flashes in some people

7. Heat Exposure: Although it may seem kind of obvious… being exposed to environments like saunas or even simply hot weather, can induce hot flashes by raising your body’s core temperature.

What Causes Hot And Cold Flashes?

Cold Flashes:

On the other hand, suddenly feeling cold could be because of:

1. Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid can cause cold intolerance because this disorder slows down your metabolism. This in turn, reduces heat production in your body.

2. Infections: Cold flashes can happen as a response to infections, especially those associated with fever, like the flu, pneumonia, or urinary tract infections (UTIs).

3. Anemia: Anemia is a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin, which can impair circulation and oxygen delivery to tissues, leading to cold intolerance and cold flashes.

4. Blood Pressure Changes: Sudden drops in blood pressure, like those associated with orthostatic hypotension or vasovagal syncope, can trigger cold flashes as blood flow to the extremities decreases.

5. Shock: In severe cases, shock, which is characterized by inadequate blood flow and oxygen delivery to tissues, can cause cold flashes, along with other symptoms like pale skin, rapid heartbeat, and confusion.

6. Medications: Certain medications, like beta-blockers, can cause cold intolerance and cold flashes as a side effect by affecting blood flow or reducing metabolic rate.

7. Dehydration: Dehydration can impair circulation and heat regulation, making you more susceptible to cold flashes, particularly in cold environments.

8. Emotional Stress: Ever heard of cold flash anxiety? Well, emotional stress or anxiety can also trigger cold flashes in some individuals, as the body’s stress response can lead to vasoconstriction and reduced blood flow to the extremities.

Hot and cold flashes can sometimes happen without an identifiable cause or as part of normal physiological responses to changes in temperature or emotional states.

Next, let’s look more closely at one of the most frequently-asked questions about hot and cold flashes experienced by women.

Can Menopause Cause A Fever And Chills?

Yes. Menopause can cause fever and chills in some women, although it’s not as common as other symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Here’s how menopause can contribute to fever and chills:

Hormonal Fluctuations

During menopause, hormone levels, particularly estrogen, fluctuate significantly. These hormonal changes can affect the body’s thermoregulatory system, leading to dysregulation of body temperature. As a result, some women may experience episodes of fever or chills as their body tries to adjust to these hormonal fluctuations.

Vasomotor Symptoms

Vasomotor symptoms, which include hot flashes and night sweats, are common during menopause. These symptoms involve sudden changes in body temperature, often accompanied by sweating and flushing. In some cases, the body’s response to these fluctuations can mimic the symptoms of fever and chills, although the underlying cause is hormonal rather than an infection or illness.

Underlying Conditions

It’s essential to consider that fever and chills during menopause may not always be directly related to hormonal changes. Other underlying medical conditions, like infections, thyroid disorders, and autoimmune diseases can also cause fever and chills.

While fever and chills can occur during menopause, they are not typically the primary symptoms associated with this stage of life. The most common symptoms are hot flashes and night sweats, so next, let’s look at how to sleep soundly at night despite experiencing body temperature swings.

How Can I Get Rid Of Hot And Cold Flashes?

Dealing with cold or hot flashes at night can be disruptive to sleep and overall well-being. Below are some strategies to help manage both types of flashes.

Sleeping With Cold Flashes At Night:

Layered Bedding

Use layers of blankets or bedding that can easily be added or removed as needed to regulate body temperature during cold flashes.

Warm Beverages

Enjoying a warm beverage such as herbal tea or warm milk before bed can help raise body temperature and reduce the likelihood of cold flashes.

Heated Mattress Pad or Blanket

Consider using a non-electric heated pad to provide consistent warmth throughout the night. For instance, our Lounger is a gently weighted lap pad that calms the nervous system and helps you fall asleep much more calmly. The Lounger is filled with naturally-therapeutic tension-melting TerraclayTM which preserves heat for up to one hour!

Warm Shower or Bath

Taking a warm shower or bath before bedtime can raise your body temperature and help alleviate cold flashes.

Fuzzy Pajamas and Socks

Wear fuzzy, snug pajamas and warm socks to bed to help trap body heat and keep you comfortable during cold flashes.

Seal Drafts

Ensure that windows and doors are properly sealed to prevent cold drafts from entering the bedroom. This is especially helpful during colder months in the winter season.

Cooling Down Hot Flashes When In Bed

Cool Bedding

Opt for lightweight, breathable bedding materials like moisture-wicking fabrics to help regulate body temperature during hot flashes. Consider using a cooling weighted blanket like our Tree Napper which is made from TENCEL, a moisture-wicking fabric. Plus, our unique chunky-knit design allows for breathability as well.

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Cool Room

Keep your bedroom cool by using a fan, air conditioner, or opening windows to promote airflow and reduce overheating during hot flashes.

Moisture-Wicking Pajamas

Choose moisture-wicking pajamas or sleepwear made from breathable fabrics to help keep you cool and dry during hot flashes.

Cool Shower or Bath

Taking a cool shower or bath before bedtime can lower body temperature and help prevent or reduce the intensity of hot flashes.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated, as dehydration can exacerbate hot flashes. You may also sweat more than usual when experiencing hot flashes, so it is best to have a water bottle on your nightstand.

Limit Spicy Foods and Alcohol

Avoid consuming spicy foods and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can increase body temperature and trigger hot flashes.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Engage in relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation to help reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can help minimize the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.

It’s essential to listen to your body and experiment with different strategies to find what works best for you in managing cold or hot flashes at night. If these symptoms persist or significantly impact your quality of life, consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.

Next, let’s see what symptoms you need to look out for to know that it’s time to discuss your body temperature swings with a physician.

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When To See A Doctor

While occasional hot or cold flashes may be a normal part of life, there are instances when it’s important to seek medical attention for these symptoms:

1. Frequency and Severity: If hot or cold flashes occur frequently and are severe in intensity, consult a doctor. Persistent or debilitating flashes may indicate an underlying health issue that requires evaluation and treatment.

2. Associated Symptoms: Pay attention to any additional symptoms that accompany hot and cold body temperature swings, like fever, chills, sweating, dizziness, chest pain, palpitations, or difficulty breathing. These symptoms could be indicative of an underlying medical condition that requires medical attention.

3. Disruption of Daily Life: If hot or cold flashes interfere with your ability to perform daily activities, work, or sleep, seek medical evaluation. These symptoms may impact your quality of life and could signify an underlying health concern that needs to be addressed.

4. New-Onset Symptoms: If you experience sudden onset of hot or cold flashes without a clear trigger or if these symptoms develop later in life, consult a healthcare professional for evaluation. New-onset symptoms may warrant further investigation to rule out underlying medical conditions.

5. Underlying Health Conditions: If you have experience with pre-existing medical conditions like thyroid disorders, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases, or cardiovascular problems, be vigilant about changes in symptoms, including hot or cold flashes. Consultation with a doctor is necessary to ensure proper management of these conditions.

6. Menopausal Symptoms: Women experiencing menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, should consider discussing their symptoms with a healthcare provider. Effective management options, including hormone therapy or lifestyle changes, may be available to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life during menopause.

7. Medication Side Effects: If hot or cold flashes occur as a side effect of medication, consult the prescribing healthcare provider. They may recommend adjusting the dosage, switching to an alternative medication, or implementing strategies to manage the side effects effectively.


Hot and cold flashes are common experiences that affect women from all walks of life. While these body temperature swings can be uncomfortable, they are usually short-lived and can be nudged away with simple home remedies.

It helps to pay attention to how frequent and severe your hot and cold flashes are to know when you need to seek medical help. A health professional will be able to advise you on any underlying medical conditions behind the body temperature swings as well as strategies you can try to manage them.