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Women's Health

I`m always hot

09/25/2006

Question:

For the past 1.5 years or thereabouts, I find I am increasingly always hot. I keep the A/C to 70 and still if I don`t have a fan blowing directly on me I am hot. The least amount of physical effort and I am perspiring terribly... mostly from the back of my neck, down my back, head and forehead. I rearrange furniture for a living and at a recent job my face was bright red, my hair dripping, and my t-shirt completely soaked. Embarrassing! I should mention that my main meds are Zoloft and Synthroid but I`ve been taking both of these for several years before this problem started. I ran out of the Synthroid over a week ago and the problem has not improved. I also take a daily vitamin (Centrum A-Z), Super B complex (I was found to have restless leg syndrome and naropathy (sp?). Also take Milk Thistle daily - my simple attempt to help my liver. . .

Sadly I must mention that I suspect the problem may be related the the amount of alcohol I`ve been consuming during this time. Bad relationship and painful, hurtful breakup. I was found to have slight liver scarring about 9-10 years ago - sed rate was 120. 6 months of sterioids lowered it to around 40-60. Specialist said I was "cured" but told me not to drink anything. Last test for it about 9 mos. ago found it to be back to 130 ... but I found that at that same time I had a severe tooth absess - had a root canal and long treatment to get rid of the infection. So I don`t know if the high sed rate was related to that. I still think it is higher than it should be tho because my muscles sometimes ache like they used to. Trying to break free of drinking. Have searched on internet and not found this problem to be noted as a symptom of alcholism etc. Now, the biggest problem is that I do not have health insurace and my business hasn`t taken off yet. Am quickly spending what is suppose to be my retirement money already. Also, had stomach bypass about 5 yr. ago (R&Y) - lost about 50 but now gained most of it back. 5`2" and about 280 lbs. I don`t overeat (can`t) and don`t eat sweets (can`t) and just don`t lose. Also am vegetarian except for tuna casserole or shimp once in a while.

I`ll be 47 in a week. Still having periods monthly - normal.

Suggestions... thoughts?

Answer:

Symptoms consistent with heat intolerance, or hot flashes, can be seen in different disease processes.

First and foremost, you need to get help with alcohol abuse. You should seek out a treatment center, Alcoholics Anonymous, or a therapist, before you severely damage your liver and your quality of life. Excessive alcohol abuse has been associated with heat intolerance.

Thyroid disease, especially hyperthyroidism, is also a common cause of heat intolerance. Holding your thyroid medication for one week is not enough time to reflect changes in thyroid hormone levels in your body. You need to have your thyroid levels checked by a doctor.


Finally, hot flashes due to menopause can cause heat intolerance.  Hot flashes are experience by 25-50% of women experiencing menopause, and can begin occurring up to two years prior to losing your menstrual period. A simple hormone test, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), can be checked to determine if you are menopausal.

Overall, your symptoms are multifaceted and concerning. I urge you to seek medical attention at a Free Clinic or County Hospital, where subsidized care is provided to uninsured patients, in order to address your health concerns immediately.

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Response by:

Shazia Ahmed Khan, MD Shazia Ahmed Khan, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University