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Fatigue – That Bone Deep Exhaustion in Menopause

Menopause symptom No. 3

Fatigue – That Bone Deep Exhaustion

Fatigue is the feeling that you are never rested and that you lack the energy to perform even normal, everyday tasks. This is something that almost 75% of women in perimenopause and menopause experience. Fatigue is that bone deep feeling of exhaustion that makes life very difficult.

fatigue – That Bone Deep Exhaustion

Why is this happening?

 

Fatigue is a consequence of fluctuating “energy supporting” hormones. The most important of these hormones are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. At the same time, stress causes a dip in the production of adrenal hormones. These adrenal hormones are responsible for the capacity of our bodies to deal with stress. The most important adrenal hormone is the stress hormone cortisol.

Our brain is full of estrogen receptors which are responsible for controlling cortisol. So, when estrogen levels decrease, our body does not deal with stress as efficiently as it used to, and our energy is not replenished easily. The consequence is fatigue.

These changes can lead to poor sleep quality, and we all know how we feel the next day after a bad night of no rest; everything is more challenging than it needs to be.

Fatigue – That Bone Deep Exhaustion

Are there additional triggers for fatigue?

 

Career – if you are a professional woman in perimenopause, you are under even more pressure because your career is usually on an upward trajectory. You are getting more and more responsibilities that require you to perform at an even higher level of efficiency. This can only heighten the stress you experience.

If your job requires physical stamina, you can get caught in a vicious circle. The less able you are to replenish your energy, the more tired you get. When you are tired, the job becomes more challenging and results in increased stress and further fatigue.

Teenagers – when your hormonal changes coincide with your children’s puberty, the additional stress of handling teenagers can cause sleepless nights and the feeling of being exhausted both physically and mentally.

Relationships – because of all the changes you are going through (mood swings, irritability, loss of libido…), your relationship with your partner and other family members can be stressful. This can all add to your feeling of fatigue.

Being a caregiver – dealing with aging parents or a relative’s illness is difficult to undertake, but it is more so in perimenopause and menopause. The additional worry and care can contribute immensely to your fatigue.

Fatigue – That Bone Deep Exhaustion

What can you do about this bone deep fatigue?

 

Exercise

Yes, we know, you will be thinking,

“Are they mad? I can’t function with how tired I feel, and now, they also want me to exercise!?”.

Yes, we do, and we can’t emphasize strongly enough how important exercise is because it will help your body deal with that lack of energy much better. This may sound counter-intuitive, but as lack of sleep often causes fatigue, exercising will help you sleep better and replenish that energy you need.

Studies found that exercise will also lift your mood, help with weight loss, ease chronic pain and improve the overall quality of life.

Develop a good sleep routine

Go to bed at the same time every night, stop using electronics at least an hour before you go to bed, and please, no TVs in the bedroom! Keep the bedroom cool and dark.

Try listening to sleep stories for adults. They work just like lullabies for children. We use the mobile apps Calm and Headspace, but there are other apps out there. You can also try YouTube. Of course, keep the screen off and only listen to the audio!

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol 

Yes, we are repeating this because you need to know that caffeine has a “waking” effect, making your sleep more difficult. Alcohol will initially act like a sedative (making you fall asleep more quickly), but it will cause alertness and very disturbed sleep patterns after your liver processes it.

Limit your food portions 

This is most important in the evening. Try and eat smaller portions for your last meal of the day, and don’t snack after it. Your sleep should be better, and the same jeans size will also fit you longer.

Learn to relax 

Do whatever relaxes you. Some women read, meditate, take nice long walks, a soothing bath, or talk to friends. There are so many ways to pamper yourself. Find what relaxes you most, and, if necessary, add it to your calendar.  Adding relaxation to your routine is one of the best stress management strategies.

Because stress is one of the main causes of fatigue, it is vital to learn how to take better care of yourself than you have up till now.

Fatigue – That Bone Deep Exhaustion

Clear your to-do list a bit 

Not trying to do everything, or not trying to do too much are ways to lower your stress. Learning to say no not only to others, but also to yourself, is an important skill. This is a phase in life where you need to put your needs first.

If you are not well, you cannot take care of the needs of others.

There are limits to what you can accomplish in one day. Don’t set yourself up for the added pressure of a long to-do list. Set clear priorities and don’t sweat the small stuff.

 

Stay hydrated 

Science has proven that being dehydrated stops your body from performing at its best. This can also lead to fatigue. Many times, headaches are caused by dehydration. When you don’t eat the right food and hydrate sufficiently, you may experience dizziness, loss of focus, and concentration problems. All of these factors add to the feeling of fatigue.

Caffeinated drinks do not help with hydration as they are diuretics – they expel water from your body. Also, try to avoid drinking sodas or juices that are full of sugar.

How long will this go on? 

If you don’t take better care of yourself, it can last for a long time, 4-7 years on average.

 

Try herbal remedies

All the mentioned herbs can help with fatigue but also with other menopausal issues you are experiencing. We need to emphasize again that every woman is different and will react differently to different remedies. This is why we ask you to be extra patient and persistent until you do find what works for you.

Black cohosh

Valerian root

Licorice root

Panax ginseng (aka, Asian ginseng)

Maca

Siberian ginseng

Sage

Peppermint

Essential oil

Rhodiola Rosea

Ashwagandha…

Most of these are covered in our previous blogs, and we also are attaching the links below for you to find them easier.

Before you blame it all on menopause…

Perimenopause is not always the cause of fatigue. Before you treat it as a menopausal issue, check these things:

  • Thyroid for hypo or hyperthyroidism – underactive or overly active thyroid.
  • Anemia – many women suffer from anemia; check your iron levels, especially if you have had heavy and frequent bleeding.
  • Autoimmune problems – many can be masked by menopausal changes.
  • Vitamin or mineral deficiencies – maybe you lack magnesium or Omega 3s, vitamins B or D.
  • Adrenal fatigue – usually caused by chronic stress resulting in inadequate levels of adrenal hormones.
  • Prescription and over-the-counter drugs – see with your physician that the combinations you are taking are not causing your lack of energy.
  • Depression – be sure that fatigue is not a symptom of depression. It impacts people of all ages but is more often in women in menopause.

8 Natural Herbs for Dealing With Hot Flashes

Three Useful Herbs for Menopausal Issues

The 7 Essential Oils For Menopause

8 Best Menopause Supplements

*Please consult with your medical care provider before you take any of the suggested herbs, especially if you are suffering from non-menopausal medical conditions.

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