Cold Intolerance

Cold intolerance is mostly a rather subjective perception that occurs rather in women. On the other hand, it may be associated with certain disease conditions, especially with thyroid gland disorders.


Underactive thyroid gland

Cold intolerance is typically present in low production of thyroid hormones. In addition, there may be other symptoms such as fatigue, dry skin, obesity and sometimes even signs of dementia. We should also think of hypothyroidism in case of excessive cold sensitivity.


Anemia may be associated with unpleasant sense of cold. However, this complaint is often “hidden” behind other symptoms of the anemic syndrome (pallor, fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, etc.).


Underfed individual has reduced body fat layer and thus he or she has a greater tendency to cold sensitivity. It can affect both people with inadequate food intake and malabsorption syndrome.


Depressive syndromes, especially in the elderly, may result (in addition to overall apathy and fatigue) in worse tolerance of cold.

Diagnostic approach

It is based on history and physical examination. We should always do blood tests to evaluate hemoglobin level (rule out anemia) and thyroid hormones levels.


It depends on the underlying cause, if there is any at all. Generally is it advisable to dress warmly and avoid places with low temperature. Depending on the causative factor, we may treat the condition by adequate nutrition, administration of thyroid hormones, prescription of antidepressants, etc.

Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources