Feeling Cold After Weight Loss Surgery

bundled in scarves

While this is not a picture of me it certainly represents how I dress these days. No longer do I go outside in the dead of winter still wearing my fall jacket. My closet is now filled with more than just short sleave shirts and, for the first time ever, I actually own sweaters. Barefoot year round? Forget it! Bedtime wear quickly morphed from shorts and a tank top to sweatpants, tee shirt and socks. Yes, I wear socks to bed. Actually I wear sock and slippers while in the house. I keep a backup pair of gloves in my purse just in case I misplace the ones I am wearing and I now wear a winter coat that goes to my knees. Short sleave shirts are only worn in the summer. From fall until spring I bust out the long sleave shirts and, by winter, sweaters. Why? Because after I had weight loss surgery I became cold intolerant.

At first the surgeon said it was because I was losing weight (my own personal insulation) quickly and the body didn’t have time to adjust yet. Also a smaller body uses less energy to run so less heat is produced. Imagine putting clothes in the dryer but only running it for a 10 or 15 minutes. The clothes might be slightly warm. What happens when you need to dry a load of towels? The dryer runs for quite some time and the towels come out feeling toasty warm. Your body doesn’t need to produce the same amount of energy to carry around a smaller body so less heat is produced. These two reasons are the main causes of being intolerant to cold.

But there are also a few other issues that might make you feel cold all the time. Thyroid disorders, blood vessel problems such as Raynaud’s phenomenon and anemia can make you feel cold all the time. If your having this problem tell your doctor. Sometimes a simple blood test can determine the problem and treatment might include taking medication (for thyroid issues) or adding in an iron supplement and increasing the amount of iron rich foods your eating.

Or, as you might discover like many of us have even years after surgery, your lab work is fine and your body should be well adjusted to it’s new weight yet your still freezing. The only solution is to plan well. It seems to take longer to warm back up again once you feel cold. Bring a sweater, gloves, hat or whatever you need to stay warm with you. For me, once my hands get cold it seems like they never want to warm up again. I have a small microwaveable warming pad filled rice that I sometimes take with me. Toss it in the microwave for 2 minutes and it stays warm for 15 to 20 minutes. Long enough to get my hands warm again.

How about you? If your cold intolerant what do you do to keep warm…..besides moving to some place tropical?

Photo: djwtwo

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