Crashing Fatigue During Menopause
Many women experience crashing fatigue during menopause and spend wasted time in trying to battle it, before they know the cause behind it. When you know what’s causing your fatigue, you have a better understanding in how to address it. We’re going to break it up into 2 categories for easier focus and understanding in the cause (s) of your fatigue before, during and after menopause: that being the physical and psychological origins of fatigue.
What Is Crashing Fatigue
Crashing fatigue can be described as a complete lack of motivation, both physical and mental. You may tire easily while performing tasks, have trouble focusing and trouble with remembering things, and you may even experience some irritability.
Fatigue is different than being sleepy. Being sleepy is the state of needing sleep. Whereas, fatigue is a symptom of an illness or condition that can be either physical or psychological in nature…or, a combination of the two.
Though there are many illnesses/conditions that can cause fatigue such as cancer, heart disease, depression, Lupus, fibromyalgia, etc.; however, we’re going to focus on our “condition” at hand. That being either perimenopause, menopause or post menopause. Once you rule out (with the help of your doctor) any serious illness or condition, you’ll have a better understanding in how to deal with it.
According to research, 61% of women suffer from insomnia and up to 92% of women report feelings of fatigue during menopause. 92%!! Fatigue and lack of sleep not only affect quality of life, but can also lead to serious health consequences. Recent research has linked sleep deprivation with high blood pressure, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.
Physical Causes Of Crashing Fatigue During Menopause
- Decreased estrogen. During Menopause, your body produces less estrogen, triggering changes throughout your system that can lead to interrupted sleep. Some of the changes that take place include hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, pain and depression. The fatigue that comes as a result of continuous cycles of insomnia are referred to as “crashing fatigue”.
- Heavy bleeding. Many women experience extremely heavy menstrual bleeding during perimenopause. Heavy bleeding can cause iron deficiency anemia that can lead to fatigue. If you are experiencing heavy bleeding, check with your doctor about having blood work done to test for your iron levels.
- Low thyroid function. At this time in our lives many women develop a thyroid condition from increased TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels greater than 2 (with 0.50-2.0 being normal during perimenopause) which is indicative of hypothyroidism and can cause fatigue. Again, check with your doctor to see if you need blood work to determine your levels.
Psychological Causes Of Crashing Fatigue During Menopause
- Depression. Probably the most common psychological cause of fatigue during all phases of menopause is depression. Depression can be triggered by fluctuating hormone levels, diet and insomnia.
- Stress and anxiety. Symptoms of stress and anxiety can be directly related to those unstable hormones we’ve already mentioned. Stress and anxiety at menopause is frequently the result of unresolved emotions which often accompany all the changes taking place during midlife.
What Can I Do For My Crashing Fatigue During Menopause?
- Get your hormones in balance. Depending on your levels, hormones can be managed with proper nutrition (click to see my hormone balancing food plan) or with natural hormone therapy. If hormone therapy is necessary, I recommend bioidentical hormones that are made from soybeans and yams. Their molecular structure is designed to be an exact match of the hormones found in the human body.
- Manage stress. I recommend yoga and meditation for stress relief, as well as for insomnia.
- Beat insomnia. Through a balanced diet, yoga and meditation, you can usually keep insomnia at bay. Click to see more on natural cures for insomnia.
- Natural vitamins and supplements: Ginseng, iron, magnesium, fish oil, evening primrose oil, DHEA, melatonin, vitamins B12 and B6
I just want to stress that if you are in any phase of menopause and suffering from moderate to severe fatigue, make sure you rule out any serious illness or condition with the help of your doctor, first! You can try some of the suggestions here to treat your minor to moderate fatigue and will most likely see results within 2-4 weeks. With regular and daily calming meditation and exercise, such as relaxing yoga, you may even have immediate relief from crashing fatigue during menopause. And, remember to always be kind to yourself and take a nap whenever possible. My best to you!
Please leave any questions or comments in the space below regarding fatigue during menopause.