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From ‘winter penis’ to peeing more – all the bizarre ways the cold affects you

TEMPERATURES have plunged across the UK, with many of us now feeling the winter chill.

Experts have warned that millions are at risk from the cold sweep which is set to last until Monday.

Experts have revealed the different ways that the cold could impact your body

While it’s risky for those who have conditions such as asthma and other respiratory issues, there are some bizarre ways that the cold can affect you.

Penis size

During the summer months, your blood vessels may expand due to the warm temperatures, this experts say could result in certain parts of your body looking bigger.

While your penis might look bigger during this time, it’s not growing, but is in fact your body’s way of growing slightly to reduce heat, experts previously explained.

However in winter, the opposite happens, seeing your penis shrink.

It happens because the blood vessels in our extremities contract when we are cold, it’s our body’s way of directing heat to the vital areas like our internal organs.

“Technically winter penis is a thing,” Dr Sarah Jarvis GP and clinical director of, previously told The Sun.

“Basically, in winter your body retains heat by shutting down blood vessels on the surface.

“We know that one of the most obvious places, because it has a very large surface area, is the penis.

“We also know that testicles tend to get smaller in cold whether and may well be drawn higher up into the scrotum.”

“It is not a physical permanent change, if you warm up then it will go back to normal,” Sarah added.

Peeing more

You might notice that as the temperature drops, you’re also running to the loo more often to urinate.

Experts at Benenden Hospital said as we tend to sweat less and, as a result lose less fluid through sweating, we produce more urine instead. 

“So there will be a need to pee more. For most people this isn’t a problem, but for some their overactive bladder can start to affect their daily lives,” the experts added.

Writing in The Conversation, Professor Christian Moro of Bond University said producing more urine can also be a sign of hypothermia.

“This is your body responding to the cold as a stressor, so act quickly. Find somewhere away from the cold, and slowly warm up your body.

“If the increased urine is also accompanied by other symptoms, such as extensive shivering, breathing difficulties, or confusion, seek medical attention immediately.”

Tooth pain

Dr Khaled Kasem, chief orthodontist at Impress said there are two ways cold weather can affect your teeth.

He explained that temperature changes can cause tooth enamel to crack.

“Tooth sensitivity in the cold months is common, and that’s because when the temperatures change and you begin to breathe in cold air, your tooth enamel will expand and contract at different rates, causing cracks or cavities that exposes dentine (the layer beneath the enamel which covers outside of the teeth).

“As this happens, the nerves become irritated, causing you to feel sudden sharp jolts of pain and sensitivity,” he explained.

Chilly temperatures could also mean you clench your teeth more as a reaction to the weather.

This is because your body tenses up which can lead us to clench and grind our teeth together.

Weakened immune system

Experts at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the cold weather makes it hard for our bodies to fight off infections.

They explained: “This is why in the weeks after the cold weather we see more deaths from infections like pneumonia, as lung conditions and coughs can develop into a more serious problem.

“So, although many of us think the health risks of cold are confined to hypothermia, the reality is that many more people will die of heart and lung problems due to cold weather.”

Clotting can cause problems and is one of the reasons we see more heart attacks and strokes in the days following colder weather, the experts added.


Dr Kassem added that during the winter months you might experience dehydration.

“In winter there’s less moisture in the air, and the more you’re exposed to it, the more your mouth will dry up.

“As less saliva is produced, this reduces your mouth’s ability to fight infections, as saliva is essential for washing away any nasty bacteria and leftover food particles; leaving these to fester and stick to your teeth can and will increase your risk of developing cavities and even tooth decay.

“Your best option is to keep your mouth hydrated by drinking plenty of (room temperature) water to wash away the bacteria. You should be drinking at least 2 litres of water every day anyway, but the more water you consume, the better,” he added.

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