The effects of sex and menstrual state on thermal sensation and autonomic thermoregulation

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Pachu, Prithpal S.
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This study was conducted to test the hypothesis that the sensation/integrated thermal signal (ITS) relationship is the same for males and females in the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle. The autonomic thermoregulatory system depends on afferent signals from thermal sensors located in various regions in the body such as skin, muscle, deep thoracic and abdominal structures, the spinal cord and the brain (27). These signals are integrated within the hypothalamus as an integrated thermal signal (ITS). We also sought to confirm that thermoregulatory thresholds (sweating, vasoconstriction and shivering) are triggered at the higher core temperatures in females compared to males and in the luteal phase compared to the follicular phase. It was hypothesized that the relationship between sensation and integrated thermal signals (ITS) is not the same for females in both phases compared to males. Instead, sensation is likely related to one's position on the thermoregulatory scale since females, in general, tend to report colder sensations when exposed to similar thermal environments and thermoregulate at higher core temperatures. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)