Cold intolerance

Alternative names 
Sensitivity to the cold; Intolerance to cold

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

Cold intolerance can be an indication of a metabolic problem.

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

Common Causes

  • General poor health  
  • Anorexia Nervosa  
  • Hypothyroidism  
  • Chronic severe illness

Home Care
Follow recommended therapy for treating the underlying cause.

Call your health care provider if

Call your health care provider if there is prolonged or significant intolerance to cold.

What to expect at your health care provider’s office
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.

Medical history questions documenting your cold intolerance in detail may include:

  • Time pattern       o Have you always been intolerant of cold?       o Has this developed recently?       o Has it been getting progressively worse?  
  • Medical history       o What is the diet like?       o How is the general health?       o What are the height and weight?       o What other symptoms are also present?

Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:

  • Blood tests  
  • Serum TSH

After seeing your health care provider:
If a diagnosis was made by your health care provider related to cold intolerance, you may want to note that diagnosis in your personal medical record.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Armen E. Martirosyan, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.