Complementary And Alternative Therapies
Complementary and alternative treatments, such as herbal remedies and compounded bioidentical hormones, are not recommended for symptoms of the menopause or perimenopause.
This is because it’s not clear how safe and effective they are.
Red clover and black cohosh are herbal remedies but there is no strong evidence that they work.
Some complementary and alternative therapies can also interact with other medicines and cause side effects.
Ask your GP or pharmacist for advice if you’re thinking about using a complementary therapy.
Fatigue Is Not Always Caused By Perimenopausewhen To Call Your Doctor
Now that you understand all the ways in which perimenopause and fatigue are connected, it is important to know that there are times when fatigue is not caused by perimenopause and may be caused by a more serious underlying condition.
Fatigue is connected to mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD. In addition, infections, autoimmune problems, and heart and lung conditions can all lead to fatigue. If your fatigue is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor:
Shortness of breath
Pain in your chest, arm, or upper back
Irregular, fast, or pounding heartbeats
Muscle weakness, tiredness in your legs or arms
Thoughts of harming yourself or others
Abdominal bloating or pain, nausea, vomiting
Causes Of Menopausal Fatigue
Menopausal fatigue is caused by lower levels of estrogen in the body. These lower levels lead to problems like failing to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, higher stress levels and anxiety.
These symptoms tend to aggravate fatigue, making it difficult for a woman to function normally.
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Choose A Healthy Diet
During menopause, stick to a healthy balanced diet. Doctors recommend eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamins D and B, and fiber.
You can create a dietary plan that includes healthy foods that you enjoy eating and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Dairy products may also help ease your symptoms and boost bone health. However, if you are lactose intolerant, you can get your vitamins and minerals from other food sources.
Menopause is a significant period in a womans life. Although it marks the end of your fertility period, it is also a major milestone and worthy of celebration. These tips can help you combat menopausal fatigue and live your best, healthiest life.
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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Introduction To Menopause And Fatigue
The onset of menopause signals the ending of a woman’s reproductive cycle. Menopause actually begins after the women’s last period. This event marks the culmination of several years of peri-menopausal changes during which hormones secreted by the ovaries gradually decline. Peri- and menopausal symptoms vary considerably from person to person. Asians are known to have few to no symptoms other than irregular menses. Western women, however, have much higher incidences of body changes such as hot flashes, night sweats, reduced libido, forgetfulness, heart palpitations, loss of bladder control, frequent urination, and joint pains, to name a few. For some, these symptoms are like a “living hell.” All women go through menopause. There is no escape for anyone from menopause and fatigue. What can you do to pass through this life stage in the most comfortable and protective manner?
A Note About Sex And Gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms, male, female, or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. .
Yes, fatigue is a potential symptom of menopause it is common across all phases of menopause. However, the found that it was increasingly common in the later phases. Fatigue affected:
- 19.7% of women not yet in perimenopause
- 46.5% of women in perimenopause
- 85.3% of women in postmenopause
A larger study of 1,113 Lebanese women found that fatigue or exhaustion affected
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Diagnosis Of Menopause Fatigue
In order to diagnose menopause fatigue, a doctor would determine that a woman is in perimenopause or menopause through the description of symptoms that she gives.
Typically menopause fatigue will not be the only symptom that she is experiencing, and regular symptoms like , night sweats, irritability, etc., will be evidenced enough of menopause.
However, if a woman is much younger than the regular menopause age, a doctor may run tests in order to determine if the fatigue is as a result of menopause or due to other conditions.
When To See Your Doctor
Menopause is a completely natural and normal part of getting older, but that doesnât mean you have to suffer in silence. A doctor can help you manage your vasomotor symptoms and determine which treatments can make you more comfortable.
If youâre experiencing extreme symptoms of menopause that interfere with your daily life, itâs time to see your doctor. Mood changes and physical changes in your body are expected, but if youâre having trouble going into work, interacting with your family, or feel anxious and generally unwell, itâs a sign that you may need medical treatment.
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Primer On Sex Hormones
The two primary hormones secreted by the ovaries are estrogen and progesterone. The properties of one offset the other and together they are maintained in optimal opposing balance in our body at all times. Too much of one hormone or the other leads to significant medical problems.
Estrogen actually is not a single hormone but a trio of hormones working together. The three components of estrogen are: estrone, estradial, and estriol. In healthy young women, the typical mix approximates 15/70 percent respectively. This is the combination worked out by Mother Nature to be optimum for human females.
Out of the three components of estrogen, estrone and estradiol are pro-cancer, while estriol is anti-cancer. Synthetic estrogen such as Premarin® contains the pro-cancer components of estrogen in higher proportions compared to estriol.
Progesterone is made from pregnenolone, which in turn comes from cholesterol. Production occurs at several places. In the women, it is primarily made in the ovaries just before ovulation and increasing rapidly after ovulation. It is also made in the adrenal glands in both sexes and in the testes in males.
Most significantly, it is known that high amounts of estrogen can induce a host of metabolic disturbances, and the body’s way of counterbalancing estrogen naturally is progesterone. When this balancing mechanism is dysfunctional, a multitude of health related problems arise.
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 you’re 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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Is Menopause Fatigue Normal
Itâs normal for everyone to feel overtired or overworked from time to time. Such instances usually come and go and people are usually able to recover well.
Unrelenting exhaustion, on the other hand, lasts longer, is more severe, and isn’t cured with rest. Itâs a feeling of constantly feeling drained, zapping your energy and motivation, and causing issues with concentration and your overall quality of life. Fatigue at this level impacts your emotional and psychological well-being, too.
Many women experience symptoms like these while theyâre going through menopause. The lack of sleep and constant battle to get consistent quality sleep might catch them off guard. After all, menopause fatigue is not something that is talked about much.
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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Do You Have Adrenal Fatigue Or Is It Perimenopause
Symptoms of perimenopause can mimic a lot of other conditions, including so-called adrenal fatigue. Here’s how to sort it out.
Something is off. Youre not sick, exactly. But youre definitely feeling fried. You cant fall asleep at night, yet you’re dozing off during the day at your deskwhich is only making your efforts to keep up with your stressful career more challenging. Meanwhile, a few sneaky pounds have found their way to your waistline. Maybe your constant doughnut cravings have something to do with it? Your mood is also a mess: You dont understand why everyone in your life is so freaking idiotic lately and you cry at everything, but you know youre not pregnant because your periods have gotten longer and heavier. Or maybe theyre irregular, but so painful.
Whats going on? Do you have that adrenal fatigue everyones always talking about? Or is it… no, it cant be perimenopause?
Although the average age of menopausemeaning you haven’t had a period in a full yearis 51, the transitional phase that comes before it, perimenopause, starts much earlier. For many women, perimenopause begins in the mid 40s and lasts 7-10 years. And the symptoms are similar to what some call adrenal fatigue. So how can you tell what’s happening to your body?
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Adrenal fatigue isnt officially a thing
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Stress And Fatigue: A Nonlinear Dynamical Systems Approach
Two central biopsychosocial regulatory processes that drive menopausal symptoms are stress and fatigue. Stress and fatigue each fluctuate over time in their levels , in their flexibility , and in their mutual influence on one another . Additionally, stress and fatigue may remain at a high or low level, termed an attractor. An attractor is how a system will naturally gravitate and remain, unless perturbed. Changes in each of these dynamical features may have functional significance. Apart from mean levels of stress, for example, the ability for stress to rise in response to a challenge and then return to a lower stable set point may be used to define ones stress resilience.16,18,19 Similarly, mean levels of fatigue say little about ones resilience compared to ones ability to become revitalized after sufficient rest.
A recent line of investigations has tested the idea that a network approach may be more valid in the sense of more accurately modeling than the traditional disease approach in psychopathology.2224 The evidence gathered thus far has suggested that the structure of symptom networks is predictive of resilience from psychopathology. For example, the density of network ties among symptoms predicts severity and relapse in depressive disorders.24
The present study aims to use an approach to science that is able to capture such phenomena through the use of modeling approaches that are inherently nonlinear, dynamical and systemic.
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Hormones Used In Conventional Hrt
Two forms of synthetic estrogen are used in conventional HRT:
Estradiol. Consisting of only one of the components of natural estrogen, this unbalanced synthetic form of estrogen contains no estrone and no estriol. It increases your risk of cancer.Premarin®. This consists of a combination of 75 – 80% estrone, 5 – 19% estradiol, and 6 – 15% equilin , plus a trace amount of other horse hormones. Not only is this form unbalanced compared to the human body’s natural estrogen ratio of 15/70%, the molecules of estriol which are derived from horse urine may be carcinogenic.
The common synthetic form of progesterone used in conventional HRT is called Provera, a synthetic progesterone which is called progestin.
How About Progesterone For Menopause And Fatigue
Dr. John Lee is a world-renowned authority on natural hormonal balance and author of the book Progesterone: The Multiple Roles of A Remarkable Hormone. He has treated thousands of women in suffering with menopause and fatigue in the 1980s and 1990s with a program that was contrary to popular medical thinking at that time. Instead of prescribing estrogen alone , Dr. Lee prescribes natural progesterone alone as treatment of menopausal symptoms. In addition to relief of menopausal symptoms, he was able to reverse osteoporosis and prevent cancer. Studies have confirmed Dr. Lee’s approach, that progesterone alone has vast ranging palliative effects.
The key to Dr. Lee’s approach is to understand the balance between estrogen and progesterone. In the pre-menopausal women, estrogen is always in balance with progesterone. When these two important hormones are out of balance, hormone related illnesses would emerge. Symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, auto-immune disorders, fibrocystic diseases, loss of libido, depression, headaches, joint pain and mood swings . These are just some of the common symptoms experienced during menopause, peri-menopause, and pre-menstrual time among those who have estrogen/progesterone imbalance.
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Firstly Why Do We Need Sleep
Our bodies require a long period of sleep for optimal health and wellbeing. During sleep, our bodies consolidate memories and experiences, restore and rejuvenate, repair tissues, grow muscle, and synthesize hormones. When we do not get enough consecutive hours of sleep, our bodies are not able to complete all of these necessary tasks in order to perform at our best.
Interestingly, our bodies regulate sleep similarly to the way we regulate breathing, eating, and drinking. Therefore, while scientists are still exploring theories for why we sleep, there is consensus that sleep serves a critical role in our health and well-being. Unfortunately, when we are in perimenopause, there are a number of symptoms that prevent women from getting enough sleep. Consequently, fatigue during perimenopause further aggravates an already stressed body.
S To Fight Against Menopausal Fatigue Symptoms
Increased susceptibility to fatigue is a common symptom of menopause. Characterized by extreme exhaustion, fatigue can lead to drowsiness, concentration problems, low energy levels, irritability, and a weakened immune system. These can negatively impact every aspect of a woman’s life, including her professional performance, relationships, and overall well-being. Fighting the symptoms of fatigue is largely dependent on adjusting diet and lifestyle to promote restful sleep. Learn more about how to fight against fatigue and regain control of your life.
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Consider Prescription Medications Or Dietary Supplements
If youre finding that lifestyle changes alone just arent cutting it, there are also prescription medications and over the counter solutions that can help to address menopause-related fatigue.
Hormone replacement therapies are commonly recommended during menopause as they target changing hormone levels and work to regain balance, ideally alleviating symptomsparticularly vasomotor symptoms like night sweats and hot flasheswhich can contribute to daytime fatigue by negatively impacting sleep quality at night. HRT isnt for everyone, however, so we do recommend speaking with your healthcare provider if youre interested in exploring a hormonal treatment option. In addition to HRT, your healthcare provider can also help determine if a prescription sleep medication should be considered, based on the severity of your symptoms.
If youd prefer to avoid hormones and prescription medications, dietary supplements can also be an effective option for reducing your menopause fatigue. Melatonin is one of the more well-known supplements, as it has been shown to help promote better quality sleep. Women may also choose to look to specific dietary supplements or natural alternatives that can help to calm their menopausal hot flashes and night sweats, which often contribute to poor quality of sleep, and in-turn, worsen fatigue.9 Remember to speak with your healthcare provider first before starting a new medication or supplement program as they know your medical history best.