How Prevalent Is Menopausal Fatigue
Fatigue and its associated cluster of symptoms are common during the menopause transition. A 2017 study identified fatigue as the most frequent symptom experienced by perimenopausal and menopausal women. However, fatigue is not a simple, straightforward symptom. Rather, it is an experience interwoven into many aspects of life and can manifest as low energy levels, lack of motivation, and even physical weakness. The impact on functionality and quality of life can be so significant that it has been identified as a top symptom relief priority for women negotiating the menopausal transition.
The Relationship Between Melatonin And Perimenopause Fatigue
Melatonin, the sleep hormone, has also been found to change profoundly during perimenopause. In the journal Sleep Science, a comprehensive study was conducted to evaluate the links between sleep, melatonin, and menopause. The research demonstrated that melatonin levels decrease during the perimenopausal period. However, melatonin levels decline more slowly compared to estrogen and progesterone. Furthermore, the study found that exogenous melatonin can improve sleep quality in perimenopausal women.
Research has further suggested that a decrease in melatonin may be linked to the onset of perimenopause. While a decline in melatonin has been linked between perimenopause and extreme fatigue, it is important to note that men also experience a decline in sleep quality around the same time as women. Along with a decrease in melatonin secretion in both men and women, aging also leads to impairments in your circadian system. Therefore, changes in sleep quality are a part of the normal aging process in both women and men.
Despite knowing that your sleep changes as you age, it still doesnt make living with fatigue any easier. Many women in perimenopause find their fatigue extremely debilitating. For example, fatigue can cause depression, poor concentration, and an overall decrease in quality of life. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve fatigue during menopause.
Substituting Provera For Natural Progesterone Causes Cancer
The other, very often prescribed synthetic steroid the pharmaceutical industry developed is Provera. This is a substitute for natural progesterone. Provera has some progesterone-like effects in a womans body, but it also has several undesirable effects.
The Womens Health Initiative clearly showed an increased risk of breast cancer in women who used Provera. The conclusion was that Provera, not Premarin, was the cause of an increased risk of breast cancer.
So, when you ask the question are hormones safe?, the answer is yes. Although it depends upon the hormones. Bio-identical hormones have a proven safe track record as seen in many studies.
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Dhea The Master Vitality Hormone Helps Fatigue Symptoms
DHEA is a natural substance produced in the adrenal glands, sex glands, and brain. Blood levels of DHEA decrease progressively from a peak at age 25 to less than 20% of that peak at age 70. Also, blood levels are typically low in those with chronic diseases, such as cancer, AIDS, and heart disease.
The adrenal gland converts DHEA to other important hormones including testosterone and estrogen. Some of the reported benefits of DHEA may be due its conversion to these other hormones.
The testosterone converted from DHEA contributes to the benefits of DHEA in post-menopausal women. One such benefit is relief of fatigue symptoms. One study of adults from 40-70 years old showed a remarkable improvement in physical and psychological wellbeing with use of DHEA 50 mg a day for supplementation.
DHEA is a hormone substance produced in the adrenal glands, sex glands, and brain. It is known as the master vitality hormone.
Another study on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome evaluated the results of women taking DHEA. Women with low levels at the start had improved symptoms when they took DHEA as a supplement. They saw improvements in their fatigue symptoms, anxiety, thinking ability, and memory as well as relief of sexual problems.
In women who have adrenal insufficiency, DHEA helps with vitality, fatigue symptoms and sexuality. DHEA supplements restored low hormone levels in these women into the normal range for young women.
Is It Possible To Completely Get Rid Of Menopause Muscle And Joint Pain
If joint and muscle pain in menopause is caused by a violation of mineral metabolism, the intake of vitamin-mineral complexes will help fill up the calcium deficiency in bone tissue and thereby eliminate the main factor that causes pain. In general, they say that all methods of dealing with menopause muscle pain should be aimed at solving two main problems correction of hormonal imbalance and the prevention of osteoporosis.
It has to be added that at the time of menopause, there should be as many positive emotions as possible to reduce menopause joint pain. Positive emotions improve the hormonal background in general, increasing estrogen levels in particular. Thanks to the stimulating effect of positive emotions, the hypothalamus is activated.
The hypothalamus translates psychic processes into physiological ones, namely, it produces the hormones liberins, which enter the pituitary gland, where female gonadotropic hormones and luteinizing are released under the influence of liberins, under the influence of which the follicle grows and the ovum begins to mature.
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Energy Boosters To Beat Menopause Fatigue
Menopause got you dragging? Here are a few simple ways to fight menopause energy drain and regain your oomph.
If youre like many women, youll probably experience bothersome symptoms during menopause one of which may be fatigue. Fatigue is a common menopause complaint, especially in the early stages of menopause, as your body adjusts to its new chemistry.
But low energy can be also caused by number of other medical conditions, including anemia, coronary artery disease, diabetes, heart failure, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and kidney or liver disease. If you are fatigued, you should talk to your doctor just to be sure its a menopause symptom, says Wendy Klein, MD, associate professor emeritus of internal medicine, obstetrics, and gynecology and chair of the Womens Health Conference at the Virgina Commonwealth University School of Medicine.
Most women dont need treatment for their menopause symptoms, Klein says. The majority of women will have symptoms that are transient. They last two or three years and abate by themselves. But there are lifestyle changes you can make to help relieve symptoms you may experience.
If youre dealing with fatigue as you go through menopause, try these eight simple tricks to boost low energy:
Hot Flushes And Night Sweats
The hot flush is experienced by up to 80% of those going through the menopause and is the most common symptom. Often accompanied by extreme sweating , a hot flush is caused by changes in hormone levels upsetting the part of the brain that regulates temperature. Basically, your body thinks it is overheating even when it isnt, and things like hot drinks or alcohol, eating spicy food or sitting in the sun can exacerbate symptoms.
A night sweat is a hot flush that happens at night the sweat is a chemical reaction that opens up the blood vessels in the skin causing a feeling of sudden heat. Sweat is released to dispel that heat.
Hot flushes usually last from three to five minutes and can vary in severity. Some women find them nicely warming but around 20% are instantly drenched and scarlet in the face. This can impact on work, social occasions and disrupt sleep.
Hot flushes usually continue for about two years, but some women continue to have them post-menopause.
Did you know? Whilst we all know about hot flushes, did you know that anxiety and low self-esteem can get much worse around menopause?Dr Jane Davis
Tips for managing hot flushes
Download our helpful menopause symptoms tracker to keep a note of the symptoms youre experiencing.
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Dealing With The Symptoms Of Menopause
You could argue that the physical and mental changes that occur during menopause aren’t really “symptoms.” The term is usually associated with a disease, which menopause is not. Also, it is often hard to say which changes are a direct result of a drop in hormone levels and which are natural consequences of aging. Some of the symptoms overlap or have a cascade effect. For example, vaginal dryness may contribute to a lower sex drive, and frequent nighttime hot flashes may be a factor in insomnia.
Hot flashes and vaginal dryness are the two symptoms most frequently linked with menopause. Other symptoms associated with menopause include sleep disturbances, urinary complaints, sexual dysfunction, mood changes, and quality of life. However, these symptoms don’t consistently correlate with the hormone changes seen with menopause transition.
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.
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Have A Healthy Routine For Sleep
If youre not sleeping well, youre obviously more likely to struggle with staying energized throughout the day. Setting yourself up for a restful night requires good sleep hygiene. First of all, try to wake up and go to bed at the same times each day. This helps train your body to know when its time to rest. Reduce your screen time at night, trying to avoid use of your devices one hour before hitting the hay blue light exposure from screens can literally trick your brain into staying up! And lastly, keep your thermostat set low to reduce night sweats. The Sleep Foundation suggests a temp of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mood Swings And Depression
Studies indicate that mood swings are more common during perimenopause, when hormonal fluctuations are most erratic, than during the postmenopausal years, when ovarian hormones stabilize at a low level. No direct link between mood and diminished estrogen has been proved, but it is possible that mood changes result when hormonal shifts disrupt the established patterns of a woman’s life. These changes can be stressful and may bring on “the blues.” Mood swings can mean laughing one minute and crying the next, and feeling anxious or depressed. These changes are transient, however, and do not usually meet the criteria for a diagnosis of clinical depression, a more profound dysfunctional emotional state.
Over their lifespan, women have more depression than men. But there is no evidence that decreased estrogen alone causes clinical depression. Although women who have had previous episodes of depression may be vulnerable to a recurrence during perimenopause, menopause in and of itself does not cause clinical depression. The incidence of depression in postmenopausal women is not any higher than at any other time in life.
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Mix Up Your Caffeine Source
Coffee has its health benefits, including anti-inflammatory antioxidants and maybe even a connection to longer life spans. However, coffee can also boost levels of epinephrine and cortisol, two chemicals involved in the bodys stress response. Drinking lots of coffee leads to increased alertness and heart rate that feels energizing for a few hours but might have you feeling drained later that day.
Some of us are fast caffeine metabolizers and clear caffeine much faster, while slow metabolizers take longer to clear it from their body. Genetic tests like 23andMe can tell you which group you fall into. People with normal sensitivity to caffeine can usually have 200-400 mg of caffeine daily without any adverse reactions so long as they consume it early enough in the day.
Given the potential connection between stress and fatigue, avoiding the stress response that coffee brings might help with both symptoms. If you want to stick with coffee, try staying below 1 or 2 cups and consuming them before 12pm to ensure the caffeine doesnt interfere with sleep. Alternatively, hot tea can offer the same antioxidants and satisfying sipping ritual but with less stress-inducing caffeine.
Memory And Concentration Problems
During perimenopause, women often complain of short-term memory problems and difficulty with concentration. Study results looking at the relationship between falling hormone levels and cognitive function have been inconsistent. Some women do believe that low dose estrogen after menopause helps them think. But the research has not supported this. Stress likely plays a more important role in memory and thinking compared to hormonal fluctuations.
Treating memory and concentration problems. Just as it isn’t clear what causes memory and concentration problems, there is no obvious remedy. Staying physically active and scheduling at least 150 minutes per week of dedicated exercise may be the best way to maintain brain health. Brain and memory experts also recommend that people work to keep their brain functioning at its peak by taking on new and interesting challenges. Use your mind in many different ways. Do crossword puzzles. Learn a new musical instrument or sport. Play chess. Read more books. Learn a new language or how to use the computer. The idea is to challenge your brain in new ways.
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Perimenopause And Chronic Fatigue
Its not uncommon to feel more tired than usual during the perimenopause. But recent studies have shown there could also be a link between perimenopause and a more extreme type of tiredness chronic fatigue.Women who go through early menopause may be particularly susceptible to a condition called chronic fatigue syndrome . CFS is characterised by long-term exhaustion that doesn’t improve with rest or sleep . Its incredibly important to speak to your doctor if you experience this type of tiredness.
What Are Hot Flashes
Hot flashes can be a pretty unpleasant symptom of perimenopause and menopause. We dont totally understand the cause of hot flashes.
Most people describe a hot flash as a sudden hot feeling that spreads all over your body but mostly the upper body, like your arms, chest, and face. You may also get sweaty, and your fingers may tingle and your heart may beat faster. A typical hot flash usually lasts anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes.
Hot flashes at night are called night sweats. Sometimes they can get so severe that you soak your sheets with sweat.
Hot flashes are super common. More than 3 out of 4 people have them while going through perimenopause and menopause.
Nothing will make hot flashes stop completely, but there are some things you can do to help get some relief. Wearing light, loose clothes, keeping your room cool, drinking cold liquids, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine can help you stay cool.
Prescription hot flash treatments can be helpful, too. Hormone therapy works best to treat hot flashes, but other medicines like SSRIs and SNRIs and clonidine may also help. Research shows that herbs, vitamins, acupuncture, and reflexology dont help with hot flashes.
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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 also known 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 theyre 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 arent 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 hot flashes, and those changes not just the feeling of heat can also be what triggers the body to wake up while youre trying to sleep. Even women who dont report having sleep disturbances from 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 youll wake up throughout the night, often more than once.
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.
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How To Manage Menopause Fatigue
Menopause fatigue is real. You can help relieve some of the symptoms by trying different things such as:
Soy-rich foods. Foods high in soy are high in a chemical that gives you the same benefits that estrogen has on your body. This can help even out some of the hormones.
Avoid eating spicy food. Spicy food is notorious for triggering hot flashes avoid it if you can.
Dress in lightweight clothing. When you go to bed, wear lightweight clothing to help keep you cool in case a hot flash comes on.
Exercise. Exercising regularly can help you fall and stay asleep, improving your sleep quality overall.
Medication and therapies. Some medications called serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been shown to help menopausal women with sleep symptoms.
Hormone replacement therapies may also help improve your sleep quality, although they come with some risks and potential health concerns. Starting hormone replacement therapy is a serious decision that your doctor can help you make.
Acupuncture. Some women have found that alternative therapies, like acupuncture, can help improve sleep and overall wellbeing.
Sleep aids. Sleep aids can be helpful from time to time, but you dont want to become reliant on them. Its helpful to try incorporating other things, too. You can wind down before you go to bed, go to bed at the same time every night, not watch TV in bed, and not look at your cell phone in bed.