The years prior to menopause can be an intense time. Perimenopause brings with it a number of physical and emotional sleep-disturbing symptoms, such as night sweats, anxiety, and vaginal dryness, as the body's hormone levels adjust in preparation for menopause. When a woman's symptoms keep her from achieving the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, she is likely to experience issues with tiredness during the day, which in time could lead to fatigue, which is an extreme physical and mental tiredness. Fatigue is a common side effect during perimenopause, and it can affect a woman in numerous ways.
Fatigue can have a number of effects on your body, one of which is dizziness. Extreme tiredness during perimenopause could cause you to experience lightheadedness or faintness, or even vertigo. Vertigo is the medical term for the sensation that you or the things around you are moving even when they are not. These are disorienting, distressing, and can sometimes result in nausea or vomiting.
Fatigue can result in weight gain in multiple ways. During perimenopause, the natural slowing of metabolism, along with hormonal changes, make a woman more susceptible to weight gain. This can be exacerbated by overeating when fatigued to compensate for depleted energy levels as a means of making it through the day. Lack of physical energy may also negatively impact the frequency and intensity of a woman's work-outs, resulting in eventual weight gain.
During perimenopause, decreased estrogen levels mean a woman may experience difficulty concentrating and lapses in memory known as brain fogs. Fatigue is likely to intensify these; it hinders the cognitive functions (i.e., a person's ability to process, store, and retrieve information) in the brain, too, making it difficult to concentrate and memorize new information. This is not only frustrating, it can also affect a woman's professional performance and personal relationships as well.
Changing hormone levels during the perimenopausal years can negatively influence a woman's mood, often resulting in intense moments of emotional lightness and darkness. Fatigue can exacerbate these by lowering tolerance, patience, and alertness, and increasing irritability. Needless to say, as well as affecting her sense of well-being, this could cause a number of issues in a woman's personal, professional, and intimate relationships.
Fatigue is not a specific symptom of perimenopause; it is a combination of many perimenopausal symptoms hindering a woman's physical and mental energy levels. Extreme tiredness is likely to seep into the majority - if not all - aspects of a woman's life and have a profound effect on her happiness as well as her health. Learn more about the symptoms of fatigue, and look for lifestyle changes to minimize fatigue and its effects to prevent it inhibiting your perimenopausal years.
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- National Health Service. U.K. (2013). 10 medical reasons for feeling tired. Retrieved March 28, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/medical-causes-of-tiredness.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2014). Fatigue. Retrieved March 28, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/fatigue.html
- Owada, S. et al. (2012). Clinical evaluation of vertigo in menopausal women. Nihon Jibiinkoka Gakkai Kaiho, 115(5), 534-539. Retrieved March 28, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22686064