Fatigue refers to persistent and ongoing feeling of drowsiness, exhaustion, and lack of energy. During menopause, fatigue can be caused by fluctuations of the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. Fatigue can also be triggered by a number of lifestyle factors and medical conditions. Many women use herbal supplements to ease menopausal symptoms like fatigue.
What Causes Fatigue?
Most causes of fatigue are related to lifestyle factors, medical conditions, or psychological conditions. Fatigue may also be caused by hormonal changes.
Menopausal women experience hormonal changes during menopause. While it is unclear what the relationship between hormonal changes and fatigue is, some symptoms of menopause - such as hot flashes and night sweats - can lead to fatigue.
- Lack of sleep
- Deficiency of certain vitamins or nutrients
- Certain illnesses (e.g., anemia and heart diseases)
- Certain medications (e.g., antihistamines and cough medicines)
- Stress, anxiety, grief, and depression
Herbal Supplements for Hormonal Imbalance
Herbal supplements to treat menopausal symptoms can be broken down into two groups:
Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that may mimic the action of estrogen in the human body. Well-known phytoestrogenic herbs include black cohosh, ginseng, soy, red clover, and dong quai. However, more research needs to be done to figure out exactly how phytoestrogens act in the human body.
These supplements nourish the endocrine glands and do not have any major side effects, making them one of the easiest and safest ways to balance your hormone levels. For example, Macafem promotes the correct functioning of the hormone system, helping relieve menopause symptoms, including fatigue.
Other Herbal Supplements for Fatigue
These supplements focus more on relieving the symptoms of fatigue than on treating the hormonal changes caused by menopause:
Ginseng is a popular herb that people use to improve concentration and boost energy levels. Chinese medicine has relied on ginseng for thousands of years. Ginseng increases the amount of immune cells in the body, which can help you fight off colds and flus. Ginseng also has antioxidant properties.
Not to be confused with the similar-sounding ginseng, ginkgo is an herb that is also native to China and it may help combat fatigue because it increases blood circulation to the brain. Because of this, ginkgo is used to increase many different types of cognitive function.
Gotu kola has been used traditionally in places like India, China, and Indonesia. Scientific research has shown that it may help prevent mental decline and may be helpful in treating mood and cognitive disorders that happen to people as they age. Like all the herbs mentioned here, more research needs to be done in order to better understand how and if they work.
Estrogen and progesterone are vital hormones that play a part in a woman's sleep cycle. However, there are a wide range of factors that can cause a menopausal woman to feel fatigued, and many treatments that can help relieve fatigue. If you are chronically fatigued, it is important to see a doctor, who can offer you specialized advice and treatment.
- Bruton-Seal, J. & Seal, M. Backyard Medicine. (2009). New York: Skyhorse Publishing.
- National Institutes of Health. (2014). Fatigue. Retrieved August 25, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/fatigue.html
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2012). Menopausal Symptoms and Complementary Health Practices. Retrieved August 25, 2014, from http://nccam.nih.gov/health/menopause/menopausesymptoms
- National Women's Health Network. (n.d.). Herbs and Phytoestrogens. Retrieved September 3, 2014, from https://nwhn.org/herbs-and-phytoestrogens