How To Beat Low Energy & Fatigue During Menopause
Our lifestyles are anything but simple. Most of us find ourselves overworked and exhausted from time to time or to put it more accurately, all the time.
Fatigue is much more than feeling overworked or just being tired. It creeps into everyday life and affects your physical and mental well-being making it very difficult, if not impossible, to function in daily life.
Fatigue is defined as an ongoing and persistent feeling of weakness, tiredness, and lowered energy levels. Fatigue is particularly frustrating as it has a dual effect on both mind and body, making the completion of everyday routine tasks difficult, if not, impossible.
Fatigue can be a difficult thing to manage as it is such a vague condition. Theres physical fatigue, emotional or mental fatigue, fatigue as a symptom, or fatigue as a disease in itself. Many times fatigue is secondary to another more serious condition or imbalance. If you havent zeroed in on the cause of your fatigue, it can oftentimes be linked to your habits and lifestyle.
Fatigue is among the most common symptoms of menopause.
Up to 80% of middle-aged women report experiencing extreme bouts of fatigue at one time or another. Frequent complaints associated with menopausal fatigue include irritability, impatience and the inability to concentrate. Difficult to pinpoint and sneaky in its effects, fatigue can make this already difficult life phase even harder to deal with.
Cut Down On Stimulants Like Coffee And Alcohol
In addition to changing hormone levels and poor sleep patterns, menopausal fatigue can be caused by factors such as low iron levels, stress, too much work, food allergies, and other nutritional deficiencies. Your adrenal system is working hard to rebalance hormones during menopause, therefore it is important not to put your adrenal glands under additional pressure. So try to reduce stress, and cut down on stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and cigarettes.
Can A Change In Hormones Cause Menopausal Fatigue
The main cause of menopausal fatigue is the change in hormone levels. Oestrogen, progesterone, thyroid and adrenal hormones are all involved in regulating cellular energy in the body which when compromised can lead to fatigue.
Physical menopausal symptoms like night sweats and insomnia contribute to fatigue. Many women find themselves suffering from a chronic lack of sleep and this is a contributory factor in fatigue during the day. Fatigue exacerbates menopausal symptoms such as anxiety, poor concentration, and a lack of confidence. You can easily find yourself in a spiralling, vicious circle.
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Use Herbal Or Nutritional Support
Many women find that they are deficient in certain key vitamins at menopause. For example, B Vitamins are vital to ensuring that you have adequate energy. Magnesium can help sleep – either take a supplement or use a spray oil before going to bed. It’s best to consult an expert nutritionist or herbalist who can advise on your needs and potential deficiencies at midlife. Many of us are depleted by the time we get to our late 40s having run ourselves ragged in our 30s and 40s – often despite having a very good diet. Avoid caffeine as much as possible – especially after lunch. Chamomile tea or other herbal teas of your choice are a great alternative. Siberian Ginseng or Adrenal Support help to give them more energy and aid in rebalancing hormones.
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Can I Put Off Menopause
Natural menopause is a normal transition process that you cant delay or stop. Even around the age of 35, as your hormones start to transition you may not notice symptoms. By your early to mid-40s, fluctuations of your sex hormones estrogen and progesterone may increase. This is when most women begin to notice symptoms. These symptoms may continue to increase in severity through their late 40s and early 50s until they quit menstruating. No matter what age menopause begins, I always suggest that women focus on techniques that reduce their symptoms so they can feel their best during this important stage in their life.
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Tired All The Time: Set Boundaries
Although cultivating boundaries is an essential tool at any age, it becomes especially useful during the perimenopausal/ menopausal transition of life. In her fertile years, many women feel the collective burden to serve others. Serving others is deeply embedded in the archetype of the feminine as well as our cultural habits and this weight often means women take on the burdens of others, at their own expense.
The perimenopausal period can provide women with an opportunity to go inwards, and cultivate a deep kind of self-love and respect that they may have neglected in younger years. Setting boundaries doesnt mean being selfish, it means honoring your bodys wants and needs, and making sure you give yourself enough time to do the things that light you up.
Cultivating boundaries can look like a lot of things, and often hinges on the ability to say no when need be. Take this new chapter in life as an opportunity to learn your worth and end toxic relationships in your life. Surround yourself with people who support you emotionally, who leave you feeling full as opposed to drained after you see them.
Menopause Fatigue Remedies: Your Guide To Crashing Fatigue During Menopause
As you enter menopause, your body starts to undergo changes caused by hormone level fluctuations. You may start to experience symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and insomnia.
Fatigue is also a common symptom of menopause, and it can interfere with your normal day-to-day activities. But there are ways you can boost your energy levels and beat menopausal fatigue.
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Menopause Fatigue: Why Am I So #$%@ing Tired
Fatigue is prevalent in todayâs 24/7 world. Youâre constantly on, juggling work, family, friends, volunteering, and much more. Itâs no surprise that your energy levels feel like theyâre constantly low. But perimenopause can make it feel like your energy has bottomed out. Some days, it isnât just âI donât want to exercise todayâ tired, itâs âIâm not sure I can get out of bed todayâ tired.
Feeling fatigued all the time regularly tops the list of symptoms every time we survey women. About 85 percent of women report experiencing exhaustion that isnât relieved with more sleep. Of those 66 percent said fatigue interfered with their quality of life.
What Causes It Or Makes It Worse
So, lets take a closer look at what can cause this fatigue during perimenopause and also what can make it worse:
Poor sleepthis in itself is a really big issue. If youre not sleeping well, your body is not going to have time to rest, repair, and recuperate properly. In perimenopause, especially if your periods are starting to change, that can really affect the way that you sleep, especially at the times when your period is normally due.
Extra physical pressure when the hormonal changes start, that creates other physical changes too. Your nutritional needs can go sky high and if youre not getting enough nutrition, or not getting the right balance of everything that your body needs at this time, your body is not going to have the energy to do what you expect it to do every day.
Fluctuating blood sugar levels when your hormones are going up and down a lot in perimenopause, that can affect the blood sugar balance very quickly. You can get a really quick sudden dip and that can cause sudden fatigue. If you find that youre going about happily what youre doing and then the next minute you feel you could just curl up and fall asleep, thats often a good indication that your blood sugars have got too low.
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How To Fight Menopause Fatigue
What, youre tired of feeling tired? We get it. If the tried-and-true warm milk and sheep-counting still fail to produce the zzzzs you need, here are some sound suggestions:
Exercise daily. You might feel too fatigued to exercise, but once you get going, youre bound to gain energy. Studies back up that fact, finding that physical activity improves sleep quality and duration and can be especially helpful for women with hot flashes and night sweats.
Exercise creates cellular changes that increase your bodys supply of energy. An added plus? Moving more helps boost oxygen and endorphin levels. Endorphins are those feel good neurotransmitters, responsible for whats known as a runners high.
But a word of caution: Try not to exercise too vigorously too close to bedtime , when it can instead stimulate your body and mind, making sleep harder to come by.
Limit caffeine consumption. Reaching for more coffee to get you through your day might seem like a good idea, and it is, to a point. But drink too much and you risk insomnia. Experts suggest a daily limit of 400 mg of caffeine. A word to the wise: Watch out for energy drinks, some which are known to contain high levels of caffeine.
Alcohol can also increase the risk of sleep apnea, another sleep-stealer, which is also dangerous to your health.
Its best to keep to a single serving of alcohol, which translates to 12-ounces of beer or 5-ounces of wine.
Night Sweats And Fatigue
Night sweats refer to hot flushes that happen at night. These episodes can interrupt your sleep and contribute to tiredness the next day, especially if they happen multiple times throughout the night.Declining levels of oestrogen cause problems with temperature regulation in the body and lead to overheating. This, in turn, prompts your blood vessels to dilate to release the excess heat from the body, triggering the characteristic sweating.While night sweats may not necessarily affect the overall amount of sleep you get, they can affect your quality of sleep, and this is what can contribute to fatigue.
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The Solution To Crashing Fatigue In 3 Steps
If youre experiencing crashing fatigue, you want to interrupt that pattern and reestablish your normal sleep-wake cycle. Careful attention to hormones can restore their natural rise-and-fall patterns, and allow them to interact in a healthy way.
1. Let your hormones send the right messages to your body.
Crashing fatigue is linked tightly to fluctuating estrogen levels, especially when the changes are severe or rapid. The correct balance between naturally-declining estrogen and other hormones smooths out the hormonal spikes and crashes that drain energy and disturb sleep. Women in menopause are more vulnerable to the effects of stress and adrenal hormone responses. That means remembering to pace yourself during the day, and allowing for more time-outs as needed.
You can help your body coax its hormones back into balance using herbal extracts. The best formulas contain combinations of phyto-ingredients that have adaptogenic qualities that allow them to continually adjust as necessary. Look for red clover, ashwagandha, and especially black cohosh these shift naturally to the changing hormonal needs of your body, and they function well together.
2. Take snacking seriously.
Eating regularly is important to fuel energy and prevent crashing fatigue. If youre a meal skipper, youll need to change your ways, at least for a while. Eat every 3 to 4 hours throughout the day and keep snacks super simple, healthy and fast but not junky.
Have snacks ready if you can, and choose:
What Causes Crashing Fatigue In Menopause
If you think crashing fatigue in menopause has to do with hormones, youre 100% right. During perimenopause and menopause, the ovaries naturally respond less effectively to the pituitary glands signal to increase estrogen. This results in estrogen levels that are excessive on some days, and bottomed out on others.
Serious fluctuations in estrogen can also interrupt the delicate balance of stress hormones. Adrenaline sometimes floods the body, which can leave you even more fatigued afterward. If you are still menstruating, you may already be dealing with crashing fatigue right before your period.
But crashing fatigue also has a maddening side effect: you cant sleep even though youre bone tired. Thats because as estrogen rises and falls unpredictably during perimenopause, the body experiences the fluctuation as a hormonal emergency. The brain triggers the release of cortisol and adrenaline, the adrenal fight-or-flight hormones that derail the normal sleep cycle.
The adrenal glands also help make estrogen with dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, but chronic stress depletes DHEA. Without enough, its hard for your body to maintain hormone balance which makes you more prone to crashing fatigue in menopause.
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What Causes Fatigue During Menopause
Like so many symptoms, menopausal fatigue is due in a large part to hormone changes and the downstream effects.
The levels of estrogen and progesterone are changing all at once and these interact with the endocrine hormones associated with energy from the adrenal and thyroid. This instability can be hard for the body and can lead to crushing fatigue.
Your brain has a lot of estrogen receptors, and when estrogen declines, so does some of the regulation that it provides. For example, estrogen helps control cortisol, the stress hormone. When that regulation is weakened, the increased stress response can result in crushing fatigue.
And feeling tired goes hand-in-hand with another common perimenopausal symptomâtrouble sleeping. When youâre waking up frequently at night or have trouble falling asleep, itâs little wonder that the next day you feel drained.
Does Menopause Cause Fatigue
Studies on menopausal symptoms show that there is a link between menopause and fatigue. In fact, medical researchers have linked early menopause to a condition called chronic fatigue syndrome , a condition that commonly affects women with menstrual disorders and endometriosis.
Most women don’t experience CFS, but a majority do experience severe fatigue during menopause.
So does menopause cause fatigue? Yes, it does. But how can you tell whether you are experiencing menopausal fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome?
In general, women go through menopause when they are between 45 and 55 years old. Women who experience menopause before age 45 are in early menopause. Some studies showed that women with chronic fatigue syndrome are more likely to have early or premature menopause, as well as other gynecological disorders.
CFS is a serious disorder which can be diagnosed by ruling out other health conditions. It is suspected if the condition lasts more than 4 months. Also, keep in mind that CFS is much more severe than menopausal fatigue.
If you are older than 45, you may notice some changes in your body like absent or irregular periods, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. These are some indicators that you are approaching menopause.
There are three stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. During all stages, you may experience menopausal fatigue, which is less severe than CFS.
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Causes Of Menopause Fatigue
As a woman nears menopause, her hormone levels fluctuate dramatically, which causes the brain to wake up at all hours of the night. Also, lower levels of progesterone make some women short-tempered and less able to relax.
Hormones like progesterone and estrogen are suspected to help protect women from a condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. When women go through menopause, they no longer produce progesterone which means theyâre no longer as naturally protected from this sleep disorder, ultimately putting them more at risk.
If you have sleep apnea, oxygen deprivation may cause you to awaken several times during the night.
But hormones arenât the only thing that will keep women up at night. Other symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and night sweats are also likely culprits of poor sleep.
There are changes in the brain that lead to VMS like hot flashes, and those changes â not just the feeling of heat â can also be what triggers the body to wake up while youâre trying to sleep. Even women who donât report having sleep disturbances as a result of hot flashes often say that they have more trouble sleeping than they did before menopause.
In short, the more uncomfortable you are, the more likely youâll wake up throughout the night, often more than once.
Ask Your Doctor About Medication Options
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No one recipe fits everyone, Jonekos says. But if youre suffering from fatigue during menopause, you need to take control, and you can do that by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
The bottom line? If low energy and feelings of fatigue are interfering with your daily life, you dont have to just put up with it. There are ways to get your vigor back and feel better.
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Understanding Perimenopause And Menopause
Perimenopause refers to the time of transitional before menopause begins. Your periods may become irregular, and your flow may become heavier or lighter.
Production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone usually begins to slow when a woman reaches her 40s. That happens as a woman enters the perimenopausal period. The full transition to menopause can take 4 to 12 years.
Menopause is the time of life when your periods stop, estrogen and progesterone production ends, and you can no longer become pregnant.
During perimenopause, you might start experiencing symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia, and fatigue. Youll officially be in menopause when you havent had a period for 12 months.
Fatigue can be one sign that youre in a menopause transition. Here are a few of the other symptoms that are common during perimenopause:
- mood changes, such as feeling sad or more irritable than usual
- vaginal dryness
Talk to your doctor if these symptoms or any others bother you. You can work together to find the best treatment options for your symptoms.