Those who keep track of their basal body temperature every morning may periodically notice a reading that is higher than usual. An elevated basal body temperature may indicate different things for different people. For example, it could indicate an infection, which is often accompanied by inflammation and a general ill feeling. Hyperthyroidism is another cause, and patients with this condition often feel fatigued and restless and have trouble concentrating. For women of childbearing age, a higher-than-normal temperature usually indicates ovulation or pregnancy, which is why some women who are trying to achieve or avoid pregnancy keep track of their body temperature.
For many people, a suddenly high temperature means there is an infection. Those who have a cut or other wound may notice that it is red, inflamed and painful, in which case it may be easy to see the source of infection. On the other hand, a viral infection may be less noticeable, with some of the most common signs being a stuffy nose, fever, cough or blisters, which can be caused by things like a cold or herpes. If these or other infections are suspected, patients are advised to see a healthcare professional.
Another possible cause for an elevated basal body temperature is hyperthyroidism, because the thyroid gland's tendency to release excess hormones results in a higher metabolic rate. Patients afflicted with this condition may have difficulty concentrating and sleeping because of restlessness. Increased hunger, excessive sweating and fatigue are also signs of this condition. Patients who notice these symptoms along with a constantly elevated body temperature are encouraged to see a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment.
Women in their childbearing years may notice that their body temperature is high for about half of their menstrual cycle, because fertility requires a biphasic pattern that results in a mix of high and low temperatures each month. The first two weeks of the cycle are usually marked by a low temperature, because estrogen rules the body during this time. Once ovulation takes place toward the middle of the cycle, progesterone increases, as does the temperature of the body. If the woman becomes pregnant, the body temperature stays high for a few months because progesterone will steadily rise. If not, it will decrease once progesterone levels drop and the menstrual period comes. As a result, some women use their body temperature to give them cues about their fertility, because an elevated basal body temperature that is present for at least 18 days often indicates pregnancy.