Normal body temperature is 36 degrees Celsius or 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit, but your body is capable of changing the temperature according to different seasons and circumstances. Your normal body temperature will keep changing throughout the day – you can notice a change of up to 1°F throughout the day, which usually depends on how active you are. What it means is that fluctuating body temperature is in fact a part of your body’s defense mechanism. However, it is important to ensure that your fluctuating body temperature is not the outcome of an underlying medical condition. Keep reading to learn more about it.
Causes of Fluctuating Body Temperature
Naturally, your body changes its temperature to comply with the changes in your surroundings, which has been experienced by everyone. Your body will lose heat when the temperature of your surroundings is on the higher side. Your body does this by activating your sweat glands that release excess heat through your skin. The evaporation helps keep your body cool. On the other hand, your body will try to keep it warm when the temperature in your surroundings is low. Your body completes the task by making your blood vessels to send blood from small capillaries to the warm parts of the body, which in turn signals your muscles to shiver. Shivering can produce heat and your body maintains its temperature.
Below are some other common reasons behind fluctuating body temperature.
1. Body Growth
It is common to notice temperature fluctuation in infants, which is mainly because their bodies are still growing. The temperature increases within the couple of days of birth but it comes down a bit during infancy to middle age.
2. Hormonal Changes
You may be noticing fluctuations in your body temperature due to hormonal changes. A woman’s temperature will increase during menstruation – the same will happen after menopause. Due to a change in metabolism during pregnancy, there will also be an increase in your body temperature.
3. Circadian Rhythms
Your temperature may fluctuate due to a change in your circadian rhythms. The lowest temperature occurs nearly 2 hours before you wake up. You will feel colder during certain times irrespective of the stable surrounding temperature.
Your temperature may fluctuate when you have a fever, which is a common symptom of many diseases. You have a fever if your rectal temperature is 101°F and your oral temperature is 100°F. Along with certain infections, trauma and injury, other medical conditions like arthritis or lung cancer can also raise your body temperature.
Hypothyroidism is one of many reasons of fluctuating body temperature. The thyroid regulates how your body’s cells make use of energy received from food – the process is called metabolism. Your metabolism may slow down due to certain diseases or other factors, which is called hypothyroidism. Your body temperature will drop when your metabolism is slow and you will feel cold. The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are fatigue, constipation, muscle pain and depression.
Insulin imbalance is the underlying cause of diabetes and other metabolic disorders. It also has a connection with your core body temperature. Scientists have found that when insulin is injected into a specific area of the brain in rodents, it can lead to an increase in their body temperature as well as metabolic rate. This shows your diabetes can affect your body temperature and cause fluctuations.
7. Other Causes
Abnormal fluctuation of body temperature may be the outcome of infections or other diseases, including arthritis, injury, trauma and brain tumor. Certain medications can also affect your body temperature. Consumption of alcohol may also cause your body temperature to fluctuate.
How to Deal With Fluctuating Body Temperature
In order to stay healthy, it is important to take steps to ensure your body temperature does not rise or drop too quickly. If your body temperature is high, wear light clothes, take lukewarm water bath, and drink plenty of cool liquids. If your body temperature is low, wear warm clothes and drink hot fluids.
When Should You See a Doctor?
A quick rise or fall in your body temperature can have serious consequences. It is, therefore, important to go to see your doctor if your body temperature is above 111°F or below 79°F. You should also call your doctor if your temperature is above 104°F and has not come down even after a couple of hours of home treatment. If you experience persistent fever, this could be due to a viral illness.
Also, call your doctor if your body temperature is 102°F for 2 full days, 101°F for 3 full days, or 100°F for 4 full days. Similarly, you should consult with your healthcare provider if you have low body temperature that persists.