Have you found yourself feeling fatigued, exhausted and just dragging yourself through the day? Menopause can have a huge effect on your energy levels.
Hormonal imbalances which cause menopause symptoms such as hot flashes can also affect your energy levels and lead to fatigue, sleep problems and mood swings. This can leave you exhausted and unable to function. Thankfully there are natural remedies which can help you to feel alive again.
Conventional medicine often struggles to find a solution for Fatigue and the Menopause. Doctors can underestimate the devastating effect it can have on your enjoyment of life. Thankfully there are actually a lot of things you can do to help yourself including simple lifestyle changes and supplements.
What causes Fatigue and the Menopause?
The usual suspects – Hormones as a leading cause of Fatigue and the Menopause
As with most things menopausal, fatigue and tiredness is mostly down to fluctuations in your hormone levels.
Estrogen levels are on a crazy rollercoaster. High on some days and flatlining on others. These hormonal ups and downs have a cascade effect on all your other hormones, interrupting the delicate balance in your body. Thyroid hormones also may start to play up around age 50 adding to the mix.
The body thinks it’s in the middle of a hormonal emergency, and stress hormones can shoot up, flooding your body with adrenalin and cortisol and leaving you wiped out.
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This rise in the “fight or flight” hormones can make it very difficult to relax and get a good nights sleep. The dreaded Menopause insomnia.
This again makes you even more exhausted and the crazy hormonal cycle repeats itself.
This is why calming your hormones is so important in the fight to heal menopause fatigue and reclaim your energy.
Lifestyle causes of Menopause Fatigue
On top of this hormone craziness you may also find yourself under much greater pressure around midlife.
At midlife, women may be under significant pressure from all directions.
Work, kids, relationships and looking after aged parents all conspire to demand a huge amount of your energy. Working too hard, not eating nutritious food or not getting the support you need in your roles can wear you down.
In addition you may be struggling to do all this when dealing with other menopause symptoms such as hot flashes or night sweats that keep you awake. In reality it is no wonder you are exhausted.
What else can cause Fatigue and the menopause?
Before we continue its important to note that I am not a doctor and am not giving medical advice.
There are other medical issues which can cause tiredness so its best to be aware that Menopause may not be the only cause.
These can include
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- Heart problems
- Liver issues
- Kidney disease
- Thyroid problems
Please don’t worry, but its really important that you see your doctor to make sure that it is Menopause relayed and to rule out any other causes.
Thyroid problems especially are extremely common around Menopause so it’s important that you get properly checked out.
What does menopause fatigue feel like?
The main symptoms are finding it extremely hard to keep up with your life and commitments as your energy feels like it’s being drained away. You may feel exhausted to the bone in a way that you can’t explain to others
However, it’s not just the extreme crashing tiredness that can cause major problems in your life.
Menopause fatigue brings its friends along just for fun. These related symptoms of fatigue can include
- Irritability and rage
- Anxiety and feeling jumpy and nervous
- Lack of focus or “brain fog”
- Cravings and hunger, especially for sweet things
- Insomnia and sleep issues resulting in waking up exhausted
- Worries and the 3am racing thoughts
- Lack of motivation and enthusiasm
- Emotional distress
- Feeling overwhelmed by life
- Lack of “zest for life”
- Depression like symptoms
- Memory problemsIf you visit your Doctor they may struggle to get to the heart of the issue. They may offer anti-depressants or sleeping pills but these won’t really get to the heart of the matter.It’s important that you tackle menopause fatigue at source.
How long does fatigue last during menopause?
Most women find that exhaustion and fatigue comes and goes throughout Menopause. Most women may have the symptoms for two or three years and then find they calm down on their own.
There are however, lifestyle changes that you can make to relieve your symptoms.
How can you stop feeling exhausted or falling asleep in the afternoon?
One things that can be extremely hard to handle if you are working is afternoon exhaustion. Do you get to 3pm and find yourself battling to stay awake? Falling asleep at your desk and being incapacitated.
Menopausal women struggle with this whilst trying to stay competitive in the workplace. It’s one the many facets of Menopause which can cause work problems.
Our natural circadian rhythms make us most sleepy between 1 and 3pm. If you have other issues like insulin resistance, pre diabetes or Thyroid disorders it can be impossible to stay awake.
A few simple tips that can help you to stay awake are
- Don’t eat a carb laden cereal based breakfast. Try protein such as eggs and bacon instead which will give you sustained energy release throughout the day
- Make sure you drink enough water to stay hydrated.
- Don’t eat a carb heavy lunch. Carbs will mean a spike in your insulin which then crashes to make you sleepy. Eat a protein and veg based lunch such as a hearty chicken salad.
What home remedies are there for fatigue? How do you beat fatigue naturally?
Whilst it may not seem like it, there are a LOT of things that you can do to help yourself to feel better and have more energy.
1 – Working on your sleep is crucial
I appreciate this is a lot harder said than done around Menopause or Perimenopause. Focussing on yourself to ensure you get enough sleep is very important. You need between seven and a half to nine hours every night to feel optimum.
- Try to go to bed at the same time every night, even at weekends
- Keep your bedroom cool
- Make sure your room is really dark or even wear an eye mask to cut out the light
If you are struggling with Menopause symptoms such as night sweats or hot flashes please take a look at my post here which has more ideas to help with menopause insomnia.
2 – Take a look at your alcohol and caffeine consumption
It can become easy to rely on caffeine to keep going. However over reliance can mean over stimulation of your adrenals and leaving you more drained when the energy rush wears off. Similarly alcohol taxes your liver and leads to much lower energy levels. If you can move away from these articial stimulants you will have more energy.
If you struggle with alcohol I wrote a detailed post about how I cut back which may help. You can read it here.
3 – Focus on healthy nutrition
Being overweight during menopause can make everyday life an uphill tiring batttle.
Diets which are high is sugars or carbs can cause fatigue. As your body tries to process the influx of sugars it struggles to balance blood sugar and keep your energy on an even keel.
Lowering sugars, carbs and processed foods and eating enough protein and healthy fats can boost your energy levels and mean weight loss too.
If you are looking for a healthy eating plan for midlife women which will result in weight loss too, take a look at my plan, The Belly Fat Solution. You can read more about it here.
4 – Focus on yourself and relax
Around midlife it’s very easy to put yourself right at the bottom of the pile. You are running around looking after every one else and not yourself.
It’s so important to look after yourself and focus on relaxation. Pamper yourself and take the time that you need to relax.
Stress reduction can also help with other menopause symptoms such as hot flashes too.
Set a specific time which is just for you. For example, take an hour between 7 and 8pm to take a relaxing bath with candles and nice music. This simple ritual will do you the world of good and reduce your stress levels.
5 – Reduce your load. Don’t overbook yourself.
Its easy to get overbooked. You get back from work and then have other meetings or events to rush out to. If you give all your energy to others you will have nothing left for yourself.
Learn to say no. Its ok to turn down invites and keep time for yourself. That way you will have less pressure on yourself and lower your stress hormones.
vitamins for fatigue and the Menopause
There are a couple of recomended vitamins or supplements which can help with fatigue and then menopause.
Black Cohosh and Valerian are two supplements that may be able to help you with fatigue. COQ10 is also a good supplement for helping to boost energy.
Make sure you take to your Doctor before taking any supplements as they can interfere with other medications.
Get your hormones under control
As I said at the beginning, the NUMBER ONE THING that has a huge bearing on fatigue and the menopause are your HORMONES.
If you want to start to feel more alive and energetic, this is the main area you need to focus on.
Take back your life.
Fatigue and the Menopause can have a devastating impact on your life. However, please don’t think that you will feel exhausted for ever. You can do this!
If you take control by implementing some of these ideas you will recapture your energy and start being able to enjoy your life again.
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