Are women are more sensitive to temperature changes than men?

Sensitivity to temperature is much more complicated than a simple gender split, physiologists say.

The reaction depends on many factors, such as exercise, previous conditioning, diseases, and any other tinkering with the complex system of signals to and from the hypothalamus that sets the body’s temperature controls.

Some doctors suspect psychological factors make a difference, but it is difficult to separate psychological reactions based on a strong aversion to heat or cold from physiological responses. It is also possible that women do not dress as warmly.

But some male-female physiological differences may be significant in this area. Women tend to have more subcutaneous body fat than men, making them more likely to have a hard time dissipating body heat when temperatures rise. But women may do better than men as a room cools, because fat holds heat.

Larger animals have a smaller surface area relative to their volume than smaller animals, so they can stand colder temperatures with less heat loss. Men as a group are larger than women, although the size difference may not be enough to cause different reactions to temperature changes.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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