The Cause Of Crashing Fatigue Menopause
Its menopause, so your first suspicion about the cause may be imbalanced hormone levels. Yes! As with almost all menopause symptoms, crashing fatigue is caused by a hormonal imbalance.
You probably already know that estrogen levels decrease during menopause, but do you know why?
During perimenopause and menopause, your ovaries stop being as responsive to your pituitary glands messages telling them that they need to increase estrogen production. Sometimes the ovaries are really productive. Other times they produce nothing at all. No wonder youre all over the place!
Extreme fluctuations in estrogen also affect your stress hormones. If you have an adrenaline flood, youll get a rush to start with but a serious crash after. If youre still menstruating, you probably experience crashing fatigue right before your period starts.
All this has a strange and very inconvenient and frustrating side effect. You can be exhausted, but you cant sleep a wink! Why?
During perimenopause, estrogen rises and falls unpredictably. Your body experiences this fluctuation as a hormonal emergency. Your body reacts by jumping into a fight-or-flight response, releasing cortisol and adrenaline. When that happens, your sleep cycle becomes disrupted, and its hard to get to sleep.
Other Drugs Used For Menopausal Symptoms
Despite its risks, hormone therapy appears to be the most effective treatment for hot flashes. There are, however, nonhormonal treatments for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
The antidepressants known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors are sometimes used for managing mood changes and hot flashes. A low-dose formulation of paroxetine is approved to treat moderate-to-severe hot flashes associated with menopause. Other SSRIs and similar antidepressant medicines are used “off-label” and may have some benefit too. They include fluoxetine , sertraline , venlafaxine , desvenlafaxine , paroxetine , and escitalopram .
Several small studies have suggested that gabapentin , a drug used for seizures and nerve pain, may relieve hot flashes. This drug is sometimes prescribed “off-label” for treating hot flash symptoms. However, in 2013 the FDA decided against approving gabapentin for this indication because the drug demonstrated only modest benefit. Gabapentin may cause:
When To See A Gp
It’s worth talking to a GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you’re experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age.
They can usually confirm whether you’re menopausal based on your symptoms, but a blood test to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you’re under 45.
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Take A Meditation Break
Stress can sap your energy and interrupt your sleep. One way to beat stress is meditation. To practice one of the most popular forms, mindfulness meditation, sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Slowly breathe in and out, clearing your mind while focusing on your breath. When negative thoughts try to enter your mind, steer them gently back out.
If you have trouble sitting still, try yoga or tai chi, which combine exercise with meditation to harness the benefits of both practices.
Menopausal Fatigue: Symptoms And Tips To Beat Fatigue During Menopause
Written byEmily LunardoPublished onMay 20, 2017
The transition into menopause can be quite difficult for women, and feelings of chronic fatigue are one of their most common complaints. This is thought to be the result of hormone level changes as a woman gets older. This rise and fall of hormones put the entire system out of balance, resulting in problems with sleep, concentration, and overall energy level.
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Status Of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Assessment of the risks versus the benefits of HRT has become a challenging task for the physicians. Controversial issues have surrounded the status of HRT for postmenopausal women lately. Several randomized controlled trials present contradicting evidence and have raised questions about the short-term risks of long-term benefits of HRT. Evidence from clinical trials like the WHI and The Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study trial does not support HRT use for prevention of cardiovascular disease. The association of HRT with cancer, stroke, cognition, cardiovascular disease, venous thromboembolism, osteoporosis, gallbladder disease is under scrutiny. The latest controversial results of randomized controlled trials in recent years have posed newer challenges for the physicians in prescribing HRT for postmenopausal women.
Does Menopause Cause Extreme Fatigue
Our body relies on estrogen and progesterone during menopause. Its important to keep their delicate balance, but it is tricky to do so.
Estrogen dominance is common in perimenopause. It happens when you have an imbalance in the estrogen to progesterone ratio. Progesterone is the first hormone to decrease during menopause. As a result, estrogen becomes the dominant hormone.
Too much estrogen is bad for our bodies. It creates a cascade of symptoms and causes a ripple effect on our whole body. Without the calming progesterone, nothing can stop the negative effects of too much estrogen.
With ED, your metabolism slows down, so energy production decreases. Your gut becomes sluggish, and absorbing nutrients becomes a challenge. Your adrenal glands notice these changes, and it will release stress hormones. Excessive stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, suppress some body functions.
In all these hormonal changes, your body works hard to bring back balance. But over time, it runs out of energy.
Estrogen and progesterone also relax the body. For this reason, sleep and rest depend on these hormones. Low testosterone may also contribute to extreme fatigue. This is because the hormone is an energy booster.
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Natural Ways To Deal With Menopause Fatigue
Many women will have an experience with menopause when they reach their 50s, encountering a range of symptoms which can be disruptive or inconvenient. From hot flashes through night sweats, insomnia, and mood swings, the general culprit is a reduction of estrogen production. Some of these symptoms can be very minor but, for others, increased fatigue can be both distressing and depressing. Luckily, there is a range of supplements, vitamins, and natural remedies on hand to help improve womens health during this period. Here are some steps that can be taken.
Lifestyle Changes Can Also Help Improve Menopausal Fatigue
Itâs helpful to try incorporating lifestyle changes to start improving your sleep and feelings of fatigue.
Exercise. It may be difficult during these phases of fatigue to get up and exercise, but studies suggest it can improve energy levels overall in people going through menopause. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity can help you feel more energetic. 5
Avoid stimulants and alcohol. Caffeine can feel like such a simple solution when energy levels are low, but too much caffeine can disrupt sleep and leave you feeling even more tired. Alcohol can help people feel drowsy when they are having difficulty sleeping, but it lowers sleep quality overall and can also be a hot flash trigger. 5
Avoid eating spicy food. Spicy food is notorious for triggering hot flashes â avoid it if you can.
Bedtime routine. Devise a regular schedule for sleep to ensure you are getting enough sleep – including:
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day
Avoiding naps in the daytime
Refrain from using computer screens and electronic devices before bed
Drinking warm drinks, or taking warm baths or showers, in the evening
Use the bedroom for sleep or sex only
Meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi can provide gentle exercise and also lower stress, and both may help with energy levels and sleep.
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Can Menopause Cause Extreme Fatigue
While menopause can cause true fatigue as well as just tiredness, debilitating levels of fatigue, or crashing fatigue in menopause, isnt normal.
First, if your fatigue is caused by menopause and the natural remedies above arent making a difference, hormone replacement therapy is an option.
Many women find that it immediately improves their experience of menopause.
There are some risks if you stay on HRT long-term, which your doctor will discuss with you, but it is absolutely an option that could improve your quality of life.
Second, overwhelming fatigue can be a symptom of other conditions that need treatment heart disease, an underactive thyroid, sleep apnea, chronic fatigue syndrome , or even viral infection.
So its well worth getting a general health check to make sure there isnt anything else going on, especially if you have other symptoms like pain, headaches, dizziness, or an irregular heartbeat.
Remember, youve got this. And on the days when its tough, the Peanut Menopause community is there for support.
More on menopause:
What Causes Crashing Fatigue During Menopause
Theres not really one cause of crashing fatigueits a combination of the way your hormones make you feel during the day and the way other menopause symptoms can keep you up at night. But the simple answer is that your body is going through some huge changes, and that can be exhausting.
As women age, their bodies begin to produce less estrogen and progesterone. This can affect your mood, leading to higher levels of stress and decreased motivation. Your body reacts to this sudden fluctuation in hormone levels by jumping into fight or flight mode, releasing both cortisol and adrenaline into your body. This can leave you feeling exhausted, but it can also disrupt your sleep cycle.
Producing less estrogen and progesterone also makes you more likely to have sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes you to momentarily stop breathing and disrupt your sleep as you wake up to resume your breathing. Other symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes, night sweats, heartburn, or restless legs, can also disturb your sleep at night.
Crashing fatigue during menopause can feel like youre burning the candle at both endsyou arent getting enough rest to fully recharge your batteries, and youre draining your battery at a faster rate. If your menopause fatigue is leaving you feeling exhausted, there are steps you can take to help your body adjust to its new chemistry and boost your energy levels.
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Fuel Yourself With The Right Stuff
Carbohydrates, protein, and fats are the three main macronutrients – and each plays a role in keeping us energized. Carbs provide quick energy to help you feel better right away, whereas protein and fats digest more slowly for sustainable energy until your next meal. Combining all three macronutrients sets you up for the best of both worlds.
Balanced bites to try:
A pear with a side of pistachios
A hearty slice of toast with mashed avocado and white beans
Sliced apple wrapped in prosciutto
A sprinkle of breakfast cereal on top of yogurt
A quick walk in the morning or evening will boost your energy level. A great playlist or audio book are useful tools to keep you moving.
What Causes It Or Makes It Worse
So, let’s take a closer look at what can cause this fatigue during perimenopause and also what can make it worse:
Poor sleep this in itself is a really big issue. If you’re 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 you’re 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 you’re going about happily what you’re doing and then the next minute you feel you could just curl up and fall asleep, that’s often a good indication that your blood sugars have got too low.
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What Else Does Crashing Menopause Fatigue Feel Like
You might have other symptoms at the same time:
- Feelings of overwhelm and emotional stress
- Weight gain
Do these describe you? If so, your crashing fatigue is likely due to menopause.
And youre probably asking, How can I deal with this fatigue during menopause?
The first thing to note is that this is different from normal fatigue which a good nights sleep can put right and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which never really lets up.
Its also different from ongoing fatigue that might result from low thyroid levels or low iron levels during perimenopause and menopause.
For this sort of fatigue that doesnt ease, do schedule an appointment to talk it over with us.
But if youre thinking you might be experiencing menopausal crashing fatigue, read on and well discuss
- the causes and
- how you can deal with it.
Achieve And Maintain A Healthy Weight
Its common to gain weight during menopause.
This can be due to a combination of changing hormones, aging, lifestyle and genetics.
Gaining excess body fat, especially around the waist, increases your risk of developing diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
In addition, your body weight may affect your menopause symptoms.
One study of 17,473 postmenopausal women found that those who lost at least 10 lbs of weight or 10% of their body weight over a year were more likely to eliminate hot flashes and night sweats (
Heres more info about losing weight during menopause.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight may help alleviate menopause symptoms and help prevent disease.
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When To Seek Medical Attention
While menopause is a natural part of life, the symptoms should not be so severe that they interfere with any of the following:
- Ability to work
- Daily activities
- Interactions with your family
For severe menopause symptoms not resolved through rest or lifestyle changes, its best to make an appointment with your healthcare provider. Its also a good idea to see your provider yearly to review your overall health.
Psychological Or Social Conditions
Numerous psychological and social theories have been proffered to explain why women may become depressed during perimenopause. Some of these are related to the following factors:
Change in the childbearing role
Loss of fertility, which may be associated with a loss of an essential meaning of life
Empty nest syndrome
The societal value of youth .
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Secrets To Fighting Fatigue During Perimenopause
Dont let perimenopause leave you feeling drained. Fatigue is not an inevitable part of the process. Find out how you can feel healthy and energetic as you transition through perimenopause.
You may think that feeling wiped out and living with your bodys thermostat raging out of control is an inevitable part of the transition to menopause. But the truth is that some women dont get perimenopause symptoms. So whats the difference between these two groups of women?
It comes down to 3 major factors: stress, rest and attitude. When you are constantly under stress, the hormone cortisol disrupts your hormone balance leading to perimenopause symptoms. Even after the stress in your life dissipates, your hormones can remain imbalanced.
Dr. Marina Rose, of Los Altos, CA, works with women in perimenopause to overcome the effects of stress and bring their hormones back into balance. One of her favorite tools for solving the fatigue issue is doing an Adrenal Stress Index test that shows exactly how your cortisol is functioning.
You may assume that if your stress is high then your cortisol must be high. But thats not always the case. Dr. Rose finds that many women with fatigue have LOW cortisol, sometimes as a direct result of years of elevated cortisol.
How Will I Know If I Have Extreme Fatigue
In extreme fatigue, severe tiredness isnt just the only symptom youll feel. Its usually accompanied by many other symptoms. They are a mix of physical, mental and emotional discomforts. Below are some of them:
- Mood swings, anxiety and depression
- Increased appetite
Many women cant pinpoint the cause of their fatigue, but experts say this symptom has triggers that you can address.
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How Can I Fight Menopause Fatigue
So thats the problem, but what can you do about it?
Weve said before that menopause isnt something that you fight off. Its a natural transition that every woman who menstruates will go through. But, weve also said before that youre not powerless.
If menopause side effects are disrupting your life, there are some things you can do to help you get through the day with something left in your tank.
Crashing Fatigue In Menopause Causes Its Own Problems
Along with deep tiredness, crashing fatigue has its own symptoms:
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling overwhelmed or emotionally stressed
Conventional doctors may be familiar with crashing fatigue, but still tend to offer only prescription drugs like antidepressants, which may not even relieve the problem of extreme tiredness. And theres no way that kind of medication can resolve the source of the issue.
If youre being laid low by crashing fatigue in menopause, you can find your way back to feeling energetic and active with a few simple steps. But you have to know what causes crashing fatigue in the first place.
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What Are The Other Causes Of Fatigue
There are lots of possible reasons why you might be feeling tired or fatigued, aside from the menopause. Tiredness and fatigue can be a symptom of many health conditions and can also be a knock-on effect of a life event.
Potential causes of fatigue include:
- lack of rest or sleep find out how to sleep better
If your tiredness or fatigue is due to a lifestyle factor, it might go away on its own once you have made some changes to your lifestyle. However, its important to see a doctor if you think it might be due to an underlying health condition.