You’ve probably heard the expression “cold feet,” but how about hot feet? One of the less common symptoms of menopause is burning, hot feet, a condition that can be associated with a number of other factors. Are your feet on fire? What can you do about it?
What are hot feet?
Generally, hot or burning feet are a sensation that individuals experience at night and can be mild to severe. Although the feet may feel like they are on fire, the only physical sign may be some redness. Otherwise, the hot feeling may be accompanied by pins and needles, swelling, and numbness.
Hot feet are often associated with nerve damage (neuropathy) in the foot and can be caused by:
- Nutritional deficiencies: A deficiency of vitamins B6, folate, and B12 can contribute to neuropathy
- Diabetic neuropathy: Nerve damage to the feet, hands, arms, and legs is a complication of both types 1 and 2 diabetes.
- Chemotherapy: Damage to cells in the feet from chemotherapy can cause neuropathy.
- Chronic kidney disease: An accumulation of toxins that can occur with dysfunctional kidney function can result in neuropathy of the feet.
- Hypothyroidism: This form of thyroid disease, which is common among women, can result in tingling, pain, or heat in the feet because low thyroid levels can lead to nerve damage.
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease: This is a type of hereditary neuropathy that can be characterized by burning feet. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease affects both men and women and about one in every 2,500 people in the United States.
- Other medical conditions: Neuropathy of the feet may also be caused by vasculitis, sarcoidosis, or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.
Other causes of hot feet can include:
- Athlete’s foot: One symptom of athlete’s foot, which can affect up to 25 percent of the population at any given time, is hot feet.
- Poor foot care: Wearing ill-fitting shoes or walking or standing for prolonged periods of time can result in burning feet.
How are hot feet associated with menopause?
Fluctuating and declining hormone levels that occur during perimenopause and menopause can result in a rise in body temperature and/or hot, burning feet. This condition is sometimes referred to as erythromelalgia.
How can you manage hot feet naturally?
If you are experiencing hot, burning feet during menopause, there are a few things you can do.
- Check for medical causes. An underlying medical condition, such as those mentioned here, may be the cause of your hot feet.
- Consider acupuncture. Hot feet associated with neuropathy may be helped by acupuncture treatments that stimulate blood flow and restore nerve damage.
- Review your medications. A few drugs are known to contribute to neuropathy, including heart drugs (amiodarone, hydralazine, perhexiline), chemotherapy drugs (cisplatin, docetaxel, paclitaxel, vincristine), infection fighters (chloroquine, isoniazid, metronidazole, nitrofurantoin), autoimmune drugs (etanercept, infliximab, leflunomide), antiseizure drugs (carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital), and others (emtricitabine, tenofovir, colchicine, disulfiram).
- Inventory your shoes. Make sure all of your shoes fit properly and allow adequate airflow.
- Change shoes. Allow your shoes to air out by wearing different ones every other day or so. Wear sandals or other open shoes when possible.
- Cool your feet. Relax your hot feet in a basin of cool water at the end of the day or whenever you have been on your feet for an extended time. You can also try putting a fan at the foot of your bed and leaving your feet out from under the covers, wearing socks that have been in the refrigerator to cool them down, or placing an ice pack near your feet at night.
When to see your doctor
If you suspect nerve damage is causing your hot feet or your hot feet persist for no apparent reason, consult with your doctor. Also call your physician if the burning sensation travels up your legs, if the sensation of hot feet occurs suddenly, of if you being to lose feeling in your toes or feet.
For women in perimenopause and menopause, hot feet can be a temporary symptom associated with fluctuating hormone levels. The burning sensation may also be associated with a health issue, which should be checked by a medical professional.