Every woman has a different experience of menopause, but no one really says that it gives them more energy than usual. Even if your stamina doesn’t take a hit, other common symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings can be incredibly draining.
We’re going to take a closer look at menopause fatigue. Why does it happen, what can you do about it, and when is it time to get some help?
It might be common, but that doesn’t mean you have to grin and bear it.
In this article 📝
- Does menopause make you tired?
- Why does menopause cause fatigue?
- How can I fight menopause fatigue?
- Can menopause cause extreme fatigue?
Does menopause make you tired?
Of course, menopause can make you tired!
Some women feel physically exhausted by menopause, while for others menopause tiredness is more a case of being emotionally drained.
And, because menopause is a process rather than a switch that gets flipped, these feelings of tiredness can go on for several years.
To cap it off, menopause usually hits during your 40s or 50s, when you don’t have a lot of extra energy to give out – whether that’s because you’re caring for children, helping older relatives, or sailing to new heights in your career.
To put it simply, menopause and fatigue generally go hand in hand.
Why does menopause cause fatigue?
There are physiological reasons that link fatigue and menopause. The first is simply sleep deprivation.
Common symptoms of menopause include night sweats, vivid dreams, and restless legs. That doesn’t exactly make for a peaceful night.
Having said that, chasing off menopause or perimenopause fatigue isn’t as simple as just having a few lie-ins because there are also hormonal factors at play.
Menopause is the transition when your body stops producing eggs. The levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body go down over time until your ovaries stop making these hormones altogether.
The trouble is, the levels don’t follow a steady downward curve. It’s more a case of bumping down the stairs.
Both hormones have a role to play in quality sleep so, when they’re out of balance, it’s much harder to get the rest you need.
What’s more, progesterone can affect your moods and your ability to relax.
When it suddenly dips, you might feel fatigued, low, and it might be harder to switch off.
How can I fight menopause fatigue?
So that’s the problem, but what can you do about it?
We’ve said before that menopause isn’t something that you fight off. It’s a natural transition that every woman who menstruates will go through. But, we’ve also said before that you’re not powerless.
If menopause side effects are disrupting your life, there are some things you can do to help you get through the day with something left in your tank.
Sometimes, vitamin or mineral deficiencies can cause fatigue. If nothing else, they can make your immune system weaker, and illness isn’t going to do anything to help your energy levels.
Anemia usually comes with its own sort of fatigue too, so it can be helpful to make sure that you’re getting enough iron.
Supplements like milk thistle, St John’s wort, and black cohosh can help to ease a lot of menopause symptoms. If they make hot flashes and night sweats more manageable, you might find that your sleep (and your energy levels) improve.
Valerian is also a popular supplement to reduce anxiety and help you to stay asleep.
Many women find that essential oils help them to manage their menopause symptoms.
Peppermint and wild orange essential oils have a reputation for being particularly energizing.
You can either inhale them from a few drops on a tissue, drop them on your yoga mat before a workout, or add them to a diffuser by your desk.
The added benefit of these oils is that they can reduce sugar cravings.
Less processed sugar in your diet means less chance of an energy-draining sugar crash in the middle of the afternoon.
We know that making big lifestyle changes when you’ve got a lot on your plate or you’re already whacked is a big ask. But if you can manage to build even one or two of these into your routine, you might notice a big difference:
- Doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. The endorphins give you a boost, and you should be able to find an activity that suits your personality – from group classes with other women to a solo hike in the woods.
- Building a relaxing bedtime routine. This includes practicing ‘good sleep hygiene’ by switching off screens an hour before bed and sleeping in a cool room.
- Eating smaller, more regular meals throughout the day. This staves off heartburn and stops your stomach from working too hard while the rest of your body is trying to drop off.
- Cutting caffeine and reducing your alcohol consumption. If you smoke, quitting can also make a big difference to your feelings of exhaustion.
Can menopause cause extreme fatigue?
While menopause can cause true fatigue as well as just tiredness, debilitating levels of fatigue, or crashing fatigue in menopause, isn’t normal.
First, if your fatigue is caused by menopause and the natural remedies above aren’t making a difference, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an option.
Many women find that it immediately improves their experience of menopause.
There are some risks if you stay on HRT long-term, which your doctor will discuss with you, but it is absolutely an option that could improve your quality of life.
Second, overwhelming fatigue can be a symptom of other conditions that need treatment – heart disease, an underactive thyroid, sleep apnea, chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as ME), or even viral infection.
So it’s well worth getting a general health check to make sure there isn’t anything else going on, especially if you have other symptoms like pain, headaches, dizziness, or an irregular heartbeat.
Remember, you’ve got this. And on the days when it’s tough, the Peanut Menopause community is there for support.