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Around 20% of Americans claim to have fatigue intense enough to interfere with their daily lives. Physical causes are estimated at 20 - 60%, and psychological causes are at 40 - 80%.
Fatigue is one of the most common menopause symptoms, with up to 80% of women reporting this experience at one time or another. While fatigue is typical during menopause, it can negatively impact many aspects of daily life if left untreated.
Primarily caused by the hormonal changes that occur during menopause, fatigue can be exacerbated by illnesses, other menopause symptoms, behavior, or lifestyle. By understanding the causes and effects of fatigue, it is possible to overcome it. Learn more about fatigue, how to recognize it, its causes, and possible treatment options in order to regain energy.
In order to understand what fatigue is, it's helpful to outline the signs and symptoms of fatigue during menopause. Fatigue is defined as an ongoing and persistent feeling of weakness, tiredness, and lowered energy levels. This should be distinguished from drowsiness, which implies an actual urge to sleep. Fatigue involves a lack of energy rather than sleepiness.
Another distinction that must be made is that between fatigue as a symptom of menopause and chronic fatigue syndrome, which is a more serious and complicated disorder. Chronic fatigue syndrome includes periods of extreme fatigue that do not improve with bed rest and may worsen with physical or mental activity; it is often tied to other illnesses.
This symptom can be distinguished through numerous psychological and physical characteristics. Often, these symptoms are experienced in tandem. A woman in menopause might feel a lag in energy levels that lasts all day or experience shorter bursts of fatigue intermittently.
Fatigue is a particularly frustrating menopause symptom, as it has a dual effect on both mind and body, making it difficult to complete daily tasks.
Click on the following link to read more about fatigue, or continue reading to learn about the causes of fatigue.
Causes of Fatigue
For women in menopause, the most likely cause of fatigue is the natural hormone fluctuations that occur during this transition. Hormones play a role in regulating energy usage, and thus, when levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease, so do energy levels.
Hormones also play a role in regulating sleep. These fluctuations also affect a woman's ability to achieve a quality night's rest, leading to fatigue in the morning.
Other hormones that are involved in this process include the thyroid and adrenal hormones, as well as melatonin. They all affect sleep, metabolism, and energy levels, and they can also be influenced by changes in sex hormone levels. This means when sex hormone levels naturally decrease during menopause, so do a woman's energy levels. This is what leads to the feeling of persistent fatigue.
While most middle-aged women experience fatigue as a result of naturally-occurring hormonal changes, there are certain other conditions, such as thyroid disorders and depression, that can cause fatigue as well.
Other Causes of Fatigue
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Sleep disorders
- Psychological illness
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Heart disease
Risk Factors for Fatigue
- Excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption
- Poor diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
Click here to learn more about the causes of fatigue, or keep reading to learn more about the different treatment options for this troubling menopause symptom.
According to a nationwide CDC survey, 33% of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over use some form alternative medicine.
There are a number of treatment options to help manage and alleviate fatigue. It is generally recommended that women begin with the least invasive option, which would be lifestyle changes. In the case of fatigue, this involves such steps as getting enough sleep, making a few dietary changes, and exercising.
The most effective approach - as fatigue in menopausal women is primarily caused by a hormonal imbalance - is to treat the problem directly at the source. Several natural and alternative supplements exist that can address this imbalance.
For more severe cases of fatigue, it may be necessary to consider pharmaceutical options, such as prescription medications. However, it is important to consult a trusted medical professional to better understand the potential benefits and risks involved with such treatments.
Click on the following link to learn specific treatments for fatigue, which begin with lifestyle changes, move onto alternative medicines, and finally, if those options do not work, medications. The most effective treatments for fatigue typically combine lifestyle changes and alternative medicines.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Trends in the Use of Complementary Health Approaches Among Adults: United States, 2002-2012. Retrieved May 2, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr079.pdf
- National Health Service UK. (2015). Chronic fatigue syndrome. Retrieved May 2, 2016, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Chronic-fatigue-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2014). Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Retrieved May 2, 2016, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/chronicfatiguesyndrome.html
- Office on Women's Health. (2014). Chronic fatigue syndrome fact sheet. Retrieved May 2, 2016, from http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/chronic-fatigue-syndrome.html