Why am I always cold?

It is normal to feel cold as winter temperatures drop. But if you’re often cold — no matter the season — you may develop a cold intolerance. This is sensitivity to cold, which is especially common in women with low body fat.

This article explores the causes, risk factors, and treatments for cold intolerance.

What is cold intolerance?

Cold intolerance is a sensitivity or hypersensitivity to cold.

If you’re outdoors in the winter, it’s perfectly normal to feel cold. However, if you get cold when others don’t, you may have a cold intolerance. This can include feeling cold when you’re at home, or having trouble warming up after spending time outdoors in the cold.


Cold intolerance is usually due to metabolism.

Body temperature is regulated by hormones in the brain. Heat is produced when your body converts food into energy, a process called metabolism. Body fat helps sequester the heat generated by metabolism.

Any condition that affects hormones, metabolism, or body fat can lead to cold intolerance. The following are common causes of cold intolerance.


anemia is a condition characterized by low or low-functioning red blood cells.

Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. When you’re anemic, your body doesn’t have enough oxygen to function properly, which can cause your metabolism to slow down. This can lead to cold intolerance. In fact, feeling cold, weak or tired are common symptoms of anemia.

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anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes people to greatly limit their food intake. This often results in a slow metabolism and very little body fat because people with the condition don’t eat enough to maintain normal bodily functions.

As a result, anorexia can make people feel constantly cold.


Hypothyroidism It is a condition of underactive thyroid.

The thyroid produces hormones that help regulate metabolism and temperature. If you don’t have enough thyroid hormones, you’re more likely to feel cold.

Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, constipation, and weight gain.

Raynaud’s disease

Raynaud’s disease (also known as Raynaud’s Syndrome) is a condition in which the fingers turn blue in the cold and bright red in the warmer.

Raynaud’s disease is caused by irregular blood flow in the hands when the body is exposed to cold. This condition is more common in people with other medical conditions, including autoimmune diseases.

If you have Raynaud’s disease, you will especially notice coldness in your fingers and hands.


fibromyalgia It is a condition in which pain signals cannot be processed properly. This can lead to body pain and other symptoms.

Colds can have a big impact on people with fibromyalgia, causing their skin to hurt. People with fibromyalgia also have a hard time warming up if they have a cold.

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risk factor

Cold intolerance is most common in women with low body fat. It is also common in people with disorders that affect metabolism, hormones, thyroid, or body fat, including all of the disorders listed above.

In addition, very young infants and the elderly often have difficulty regulating body temperature.


Identifying a cold intolerance is usually based on symptoms alone. However, cold intolerance is not a diagnosis in itself, but rather a sign of a possible underlying disease.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your cold intolerance and any other symptoms you may be experiencing. This can help them fix the underlying problem and make you feel more comfortable.


Treating cold intolerance involves identifying the underlying cause. This may include medical testing for certain conditions, such as hypothyroidism. If your healthcare provider detects a condition, they can treat it appropriately, which should help regulate your temperature.

You can also make lifestyle changes to help manage cold intolerance, including:

  • Avoid cold environments as much as possible
  • Wear layers outside
  • Turn up your heat indoors

When to talk to your provider

If you have frequent colds and find it difficult to warm up, contact a healthcare provider for evaluation and testing. If your skin changes due to cold, including color, tingling, numbness, or other related symptoms, contact your healthcare provider right away.

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Cold intolerance is a hypersensitivity reaction to cold temperatures. If you find yourself asking “Why do I keep getting colds?” consider talking with your healthcare provider about the cause of your cold intolerance. Causes include conditions such as anemia, anorexia, hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, and Raynaud’s syndrome. Treatment of cold intolerance involves treating one of these underlying problems.

VigorTip words

Feeling cold seems to be a mild irritation. However, if you frequently have colds to the point of discomfort, contact your healthcare provider to evaluate for the condition causing the intolerance. In the meantime, put on good-quality winter gear, such as a base coat, gloves, and a hat, to help keep you warm in the winter.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What if it’s cold outside and you’re not cold hardy?

    If you have frequent colds, it is best to talk with a healthcare provider to rule out a medical cause. Enjoying time outdoors and exercising is important to your health, even for those who are not cold hardy. Buying synthetic or wool base layers and quality hats, gloves, and coats can help you enjoy the outdoors when you’re not hardy.