Cold intolerance

Cold intolerance is an abnormal sensitivity to a cold environment or cold temperatures.

Considerations

Cold intolerance can be a symptom of a metabolic problem.

Some people (often very thin women) do not tolerate cold environments because they have very little body fat and are unable to keep warm.

Causes

  • Anemia
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Blood vessel (vascular) problems, such as Raynaud's phenomenon
  • Chronic severe illness
  • General poor health
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Problem with the hypothalamus

Home Care

Follow the recommended therapy for treating the cause of the problem.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have long-term or extreme intolerance to cold.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination.

Medical history questions may include:

  • Time pattern
    • Have you always been intolerant of cold?
    • Has this developed recently?
    • Has it been getting worse?
    • Do you often feel cold when other people do not complain of the cold?
  • Medical history
    • What is your diet like?
    • How is your general health?
    • What are your height and weight?
    • What other symptoms do you have?

Tests that may be performed include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Serum TSH
  • Thyroid hormone levels

If your health care provider diagnosed cold intolerance, you may want to note that diagnosis in your personal medical record.

Alternative Names

Sensitivity to the cold; Intolerance to cold