A lot of women feel extreme fatigue during perimenopause and menopause, which is affecting their everyday life. When asked the usual “how are you” most of the time they answer “tired” and “exhausted.” Fatigue can fell like a persistent lack of energy and feeling of weakness or tiredness for unexplained reasons.
Extreme fatigue during menopause is real! I know you’re “tired” of being tired. If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone!
The signs of menopausal fatigue include mental fuzziness, irritability, decreased wakefulness, lowered attention span, and memory lapses. You may find that you are lacking your usual zest for life.
Stressful “Modern Lifestyle” and hormonal shifts, robs our body of energy.
The primary cause of menopausal fatigue is the change in hormone levels. Progesterone, estrogen, adrenal hormones, and thyroid are all involved in regulating cellular energy in the body which when compromised can lead to fatigue.
Physical menopausal symptoms like night sweats and insomnia contribute to fatigue. Many women find themselves suffering from a chronic lack of sleep, and this is a contributory factor in fatigue during the day. Fatigue exacerbates menopausal symptoms such as anxiety, poor concentration, and a lack of confidence. You can easily find yourself in a spiraling, vicious circle.
Let's dive deeper what it means to suffer from extreme fatigue in menopause and what can we do to help our body recover!
WHAT IS FATIGUE?
Extreme fatigue is the feeling of tiredness that doesn't go away and an overwhelming feeling of persistent exhaustion. Doctors don't recognize it as a specific condition even though so many people suffer from chronic fatigue. They that fatigue it is not a full-blown condition, but a side effect of conditions or body function imbalances.
Over 45% of people experience fatigue in their life. Women are more at risk than men.
We all know how it feels to be tired like that, so what makes extreme fatigue different?
Experts say that it’s not relieved by rest. It also worsens if you do activities. For this reason, experts say extreme fatigue can disrupt your life. You lose the stamina and motivation to do things, enthusiasm for what you used to love and more.
Symptoms of extreme fatigue:
- Short-term memory loss
- Impaired decision-making and judgment
- Chronic tiredness or sleepiness
- Mood swings
- Slowed responses
- Brain fog
- Sore or aching muscles
- Slowed reflexes and reactions
- Daytime sleepiness
- Muscle pains
- Low motivation
- Increased appetite
Hormonal changes can cause fatigue during menopause too.
It is essential to have balanced hormones, which during menopause is tricky.
Estrogen dominance (ED), which is common during perimenopause and menopause is one of the reasons for fatigue. ED happens when you have an imbalance in 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 not good for your body. We need calming progesterone, to prevent the adverse effects of too much estrogen.
When you suffer from ED, your metabolism slows down, become sluggish, and energy production decreases. Your gut becomes sluggish too and absorbing nutrients can become a challenge. The adrenals notice these changes and release cortisol the stress hormone. Excessive cortisol suppresses some body functions. Your body needs to works harder to bring back balance and over time can runs out of energy. Progesterone and estrogen also help relax the body. When they are imbalanced, you are going to have sleep problems because good sleep depends on these hormones. Without proper sleep, you are not going to have the energy to go through your day. Shifts in estrogen and progesterone affect thyroid hormones in a big way. A low functioning thyroid gland means sluggish metabolism and reduced energy. An overactive thyroid works your body organs into exhaustion.
During menopause, your testosterone also decreases and it may contribute to extreme fatigue. This is because the hormone is an energy booster.
How to recover from fatigue:
1. Eat healthy!
Eating healthy and healthy eating habits are crucial for recovering and preventing fatigue. Eat more organic, plant-based whole foods. Avoid eating sugar, processed food because they don’t have nutrients. Don’t overeat or skip meals. Try to eat more anti-inflammatory food (veggies and fruits) and avoid gluten and dairy. These foods cause hormonal imbalances and create inflammation in your body. Eat good quality of protein as well as fats. Fats are necessary for brain function and hormone production. Eat food that contains a lot of fiber because fiber help removes metabolized hormones. Bulk up on cruciferous and leafy veggies because they are great for the liver and citrus can pump up your metabolism giving you more energy!
2. Eat for hormonal balance.
Cruciferous vegetables are the perfect food for hormonal balance because they help the body to detoxify excess estrogen that can cause hormonal issues like estrogen dominance, breast cancer, and endometriosis. Excess estrogen is associated with common symptoms of mood swings, anxiety, and depression that can result from estrogen dominance.
The right food and phytoestrogenic herbs contain compounds which can help balance hormones. Examples of these herbs include Maca Powder, Ashwagandha, Black Cohosh, Shatavari, Schizandra Berry, Medicinal Mushrooms and Rhodiola. Include superfoods in your diet because they are also great foods for your hormones! Hormonal imbalance is a major cause of extreme fatigue during menopause.
3. Reduce stress!
Prolonged stress creates excess cortisol! Cortisol slows down your functions and suppresses your organs from working properly. Cortisol is a stress hormone that creates fatigue, drains your energy and causes fat storage around the middle. Slow down, be present and reduce your stress. Learn how to say no to overwhelm. Try yoga, breath work, hiking in nature, meditation or other stress-reducing techniques.
4. Avoid stimulants.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol. These compounds can give you a false feeling of increased energy. Soon enough you will feel energy crash, that it is hard to stop. Caffeine depletes adrenals and essential vitamins and minerals from the body.
5. Do light exercise.
Exercising can be a challenge when tired, but it doesn’t mean you can’t! Choose light movements, so you don't add more strain to your body. Perfect examples of light exercises are Yoga, Pilates, and Qigong and they will help you to gain more energy. They help your muscles moving, which boosts energy and circulation!
6. Keep your thyroid healthy!
Take care of your thyroid. Make sure you eat thyroid boosting foods like avocado, oysters, dark leafy greens, and Brazil nuts. Avoid “starvation” or no carn diet diets, est good fat, choose healthy sources of proteins, hydrate and limit food stimulants! The thyroid is one of the reasons for extreme fatigue.
7. Use natural supplements.
Getting dietary chlorophyll, iron, B-vitamins, and magnesium provide you with energy. Eat Omega-3 rich food such as halibut, sardines, salmon, mackerel, cod, and herring. This healthy fat is food for the heart and boosts its functions. When the heart is healthy, blood flow and nutrient distribution are good! Add amino acids, probiotics, and prebiotics to your daily routine.
8. Take a look at your life.
Take a look at what is going in your life. Emotional burdens can be a cause of fatigue too. Reduce anxiety, which can be another reason for fatigue. Stop worrying, let go, forgive and be present. This is the only time we've got.
Sometimes, the cause of extreme fatigue is not because of physical factors.
Take a break and rest when necessary.
Don’t let extreme fatigue take away your energy and zest for life, figure out the roots why you’re feeling that way!