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Menopause / Perimenopause & Fatigue

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For perimenopause and menopause sufferers, fatigue is a very common health complaint. It is a state of overwhelming, weariness, tiredness, lethargy, sustained exhaustion and decreased capacity for physical and mental work that is unrelieved by rest. It is generally defined as a feeling of lack of energy and motivation. It is not the same as drowsiness, but the desire to sleep may accompany fatigue. Many people experience stress and extreme fatigue that is enough to interfere with their normal life.

Fatigue is a symptom, rather than a specific disease or disorder. It is one of the hardest terms to define and a symptom of many different conditions. People who are fatigued feel tired all the time in both body and mind. A person suffering from fatigue has slowed reflexes and reduced function in daily life. Extreme fatigue is also a known risk factor in workplace and car accidents.

Exhausted people or ones that have excessive fatigue often display symptoms that reflect what they really feel. Some of the usual manifestations of fatigue include:

  • Waking up is a hassle
  • Always feeling run down and stressed
  • Tired for no particular reason
  • Motion sickness fatigue as a result of senses mixing signals in the brain causing the ears and eyes to overwork
  • Being dependent on coffee, tea, or high energy drinks for vitality
  • Struggling to keep up with daily activities
  • Not being able to bounce back from any illness or stress
  • A decrease in their sex drive
  • Simply being too tired to enjoy life

These can lead to a bad relationship, abuse, anger, mental instability, inferiority complex, bitterness, guilt, shame, envy, jealousy, laziness, fear, and arrogance that they need to deal with everyday. Some women suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and others are diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Read further about women and hypothyroidism in Perimenopause and Hypothyroid.

Stress and extreme fatigue may also cause other symptoms such as night sweats, weight change, swollen lymph glands, persistent feelings of thirst, and symptoms of shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and weakness.

According to health studies, there are three characteristics that define excessive fatigue:

  • Increase in irritability
  • Having a demoralized feeling
  • Feelings of weakness, lack of energy, stress and extreme fatigue.

Fatigue often is an early sign of a neurological or psychological illness although it can be just a normal and important response to physical exertion, emotional stress, boredom, or lack of sleep. Debilitating fatigue can be an early sign and symptom of either multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease.

If you think you are suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, see a doctor. This is a complicated syndrome and needs constant medical attention. For people who think they might have a sluggish thyroid, one suggestion is to buy a bottle of iodine tincture and place a circle of iodine on your stomach or thigh. If it disappears before 24 hours, keep applying it until your system doesn't absorb it within that time period.

Fatigue can trigger from a variety of causes or a combination of numerous factors:

  • Malnutrition, obesity and vitamin deficiency can also rouse fatigue
  • Women who go on crash diets and don't get enough nutrition can feel lethargic. High-fat, low-carb diets also are the worst offenders.
  • Menopause and perimenopause – in some women, menopause and fatigue and perimenopause come hand in hand.
  • Workplace issues, emotional concerns, stress, excessive workload and depression can also make a person worn out and experience fatigue. Read also about depression in this article: Perimenopause and Depression
  • Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as too much sleep, alcohol, drugs, sleep disturbances, lack or too much of exercise, and poor diet are also factors that influence the development of fatigue.
  • Individual circumstances such as events that impact a person can also cause fatigue. Medical conditions can trigger fatigue, including flu, anemia, sleep disorders, tuberculosis, hepatitis, chronic pain, chronic illness, infection, diabetes, heart disorders, lung problems, medication effects and depression.
  • People with underactive thyroids also suffer from fatigue.
  • Extreme fatigue could also indicate an impending heart attack in women.
  • The ultimate decrease in blood pressure also means a decrease in the amount of work the heart is doing, which can lead to a feeling of fatigue.

Perimenopause, menopause and fatigue

Fatigue in woman suffering from menopause and perimenopause is typically due to a hormonal imbalance. Estrogen regulates homeostasis as well as the life processes in the body that determine body shape by distributing fat, constructing vital tissues, maintaining blood flow and correct cholesterol level. Estrogen and osteoporosis is also related closely.

Besides lack of this female hormone, there are lots of perimenopause and menopause symptoms that contribute heavily to fatigue symptoms such as the inability to sleep or waking up intermittently in the night, an insufficient diet compounded by too much caffeine and alcohol, night sweats that wake you up periodically, and overall depression and stress.

Another factor of menopausal fatigue is the lack of progesterone produced in the body. Progesterone is the ¨happy hormone¨ that accounts for a woman’s sexual drive. With the introduction of menopause, levels of this hormone can decrease significantly.

Simple ways to fight off fatigue

  1. Take time to enjoy your food and allow yourself enough time to make the right (healthy) choices.
  2. Take time out to move around and give your body the moderate exercise it needs from walking instead of taking the elevator, to actually finagling into your day a fitness routine.
  3. Get enough (but not too much) sleeps.
  4. Find out what cause your fatigue and solve it.
  5. Accept the facts that there are just some things that can wait, some you have no control over, and some things that putting off won't affect. Stop pushing your limits and make some time for the most important obligation of all, you and your family.
  6. Look for small things you can add to your life to keep your mind at peace.

Now, how can you combat fatigue during menopause and perimenopause? Luckily, there are a variety of answers. Introducing certain herbs into your diet can greatly boost energy levels. Herbs like sarsaparilla and wild yam root contain plant estrogen, which is like the estrogen produced in our bodies. In some women, hormone replacement therapy is required. Also, the use progesterone vaginal cream goes a long way to restoring sexual desire.

Exercise is reported to help with numerous menopause symptoms, fatigue being one of the major ones. The simple act of walking and basking in the sun which is an excellent source of Vitamin D can noticeably boost energy levels. They also promote the release of endorphins (chemicals released by the brain that promote feelings of bliss and elevates mood) and improves blood circulation and oxygenation throughout the body. Do you smoke? Get rid of those cigarettes right away – they have been scientifically proven to lower estrogen levels.

Foods that help boost energy include complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, whole meal rice and pasta, fish, lean meat, fruit and vegetables.

Health specialists also advise sufferers to take B complex vitamins including a group of eight vitamins which includes thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), and cyanocobalamin (B12). These B-complex vitamins may help fight fatigue and is vital nutrient for the formation of red blood vessels. These blood vessels are linked to the human body's energy levels. These B-complex vitamins work by maintaining the energy levels high. They can also help prevent the development of some diseases because they may aid in the repair of nucleic acids and the immune cells. Vitamin E, A, K, D, magnesium, calcium and potassium and other nutrients should also be included as part of our daily food intake too.

Individuals who want to include physical activities and vitamins in their daily routines should seek the approval of doctor, nutritionists, and other health professionals. Some exercise routines may not be appropriate for some individuals and B-complex vitamins may interact with other drugs and supplements and develop unwanted side effects. These professionals may devise a health program and food regimens that are appropriate for the development of one's health.

Fatigue as a symptom during perimenopause or menopause is important when it is severe or unusual. Perimenopausal or menopausal women who are experiencing stress and extreme fatigue / tiredness may be referred to a health care professional or other specialist for additional tests and a definitive diagnosis to help them lessen the load of the burden they've been going through.

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Disclaimer: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.