Menopause fatigue sometimes referred to as crashing fatigue, is defined as sudden and overwhelming feelings of weakness, exhaustion and reduced energy levels that can leave you emotionally and mentally drained.
This menopause symptom should not be confused with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which includes periods of extreme fatigue that do not improve with bed rest. Furthermore, it may worsen with physical or mental activity and is often in conjunction with other illnesses.
Menopause fatigue does not mean that you have an uncontrollable urge to sleep, in fact you may not feel sleepy at all but you could find yourself not having the energy to carry out normal activities.
Although this symptom can strike during perimenopause it has been reported that one of the most common ailments facing postmenopausal women is fatigue.
Perimenopause is the transitional period of time in your life when physiological changes take place. This period of time can be anywhere between 2-10 years before your “final period”.
Although the underlying cause of fatigue in menopause is hormonal imbalance, fatigue can also be symptomatic of lifestyle triggers such as work stresses, family strain and other medical problems.
It is rather a vicious circle as once you start to feel fatigued, your stress and anxiety levels increase which can cause insomnia which often leads to fatigue.
Menopause Fatigue Symptoms
• A sudden onset of tiredness
• Lack of concentration
• Feeling exhausted
• Tiredness during the day
• A feeling of fatigue in the muscles
• Crashing feeling after eating
• Decreased wakefulness
• Decreased attention
• Memory lapses
Lifestyle Management of Menopause Fatigue
Improve your sleep habits
Exercise regularly, particularly aerobic exercise. A 15/20 minute walk each day is sufficient. Your energy levels will increase and it will promote the release of endorphins
Relaxation techniques and alternative therapies such as yoga and tai chi will get your energy levels moving as well as calming you and releasing tension from your body – make every effort to reduce stress
Stablise your blood sugar and energy levels by eating complex carbohydrates little and often (whole grain cereals, bananas,wholemeal breads, wholemeal pasta. (If you have a gluten sensitivity or suffer from Celiac Disease you need to take advice from your healthcare professional regarding your diet).
Avoid caffeine at bedtime – try chamomile tea as an alternative
Snack on oat cakes, raw vegetables, nuts and cottage cheese
Moderate caffeine and alcohol consumption – both affect energy levels and disrupt sleep. Nicotine has the same effect
Stay hydrated – never underestimate the importance of drinking plenty of water
Set reasonable limits for every day professional and domestic tasks
A 10 minute nap can improve your fatigue levels
Lavender oil, sandalwood oil or jasmine oil on a pillow or next to your bed can help to maintain a deep sleep
• Over the counter sleep aids
• Vitamin B complex – has been found to relieve anxiety
• St John’s Wort – a popular treatment for milder forms of depression
• Valerian – herbal remedy for insomnia
• Lavender Oil – relaxant
• Suppression of hormonal fluctuations with oral contraceptives during perimenopause
• Suppression of hormonal fluctuations with hormonal therapy treatment after menopause
• Hormonal balance through safe natural menopause solutions
Medical Conditions Contributing to Fatigue around Menopause
• Inflammatory conditions (Celiac Disease or Rheumatoid Arthritis)
• Kidney and Liver Disease
• Coronary Artery Disease
• Heart Failure
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Sleep Apnea Disorder
• Other undiagnosed medical problem
If fatigue persists for more than 2 weeks and is accompanied by other serious symptoms such as a difficulty breathing, abnormal bleeding or a change in weight you must consult with your Healthcare Professional.
Orenstein, B. 8 Energy Boosters to Beat Menopause Fatigue. Retrieved from http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/guide-to-managing-menopause/8-energy-boosters-for-menopause-fatigue/
About Crashing Fatigue. Retrieved on 4 Jan 2013. Retrieved from http://www.34-menopause-symptoms.com/crashing-fatigue.htm
Menopause & Fatigue. Retrieved from http://www.remifemin.com/Menopause/Symptoms/Fatigue.aspx
Adrenal Function in PMS and Menopause. Retrieved from https://www.adrenalfatigue.org/pms-menopause