The physical and mental exhaustion of fatigue can leave a person feeling weak. The body requires between 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep per night to restore the energy that's expended during the day. Fatigue is a condition characterized by extreme tiredness that usually comes about when the body has been consistently unable to achieve sufficient rest for a prolonged period of time. Fatigue has numerous effects on the body, including physical weakness. Keep reading for answers to frequently asked questions about fatigue during menopause, other causes of fatigue, and how weakness and fatigue affect lifestyle.
How Does Menopause Cause Fatigue?
The hormonal imbalances a woman experiences as she approaches menopause make her susceptible to fatigue; reduced production of estrogen and progesterone cause internal activity that can inhibit restful sleep and cause sudden crashes in energy levels.
Other symptoms of the transition may worsen fatigue for a perimenopausal woman. Night sweats, anxiety, or an underactive thyroid are often caused by menopausal hormonal changes and could all obstruct a woman's sleeping patterns, thus exacerbating fatigue.
What Else Causes Fatigue?
Fatigue is symptomatic of many conditions and deficiencies in the body. These include:
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Overuse of alcohol, caffeine, or other dietary triggers
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Glandular fever
- Sleep apnea
How Are Weakness and Fatigue Linked?
Weakness and fatigue are inextricably linked; when the body is exhausted, energy levels go down, which can cause weakness. This can manifest itself in numerous ways, like causing pain during exertion, making it difficult to concentrate, or negatively impacting mood. Weakness has a profound effect on well-being, and this can hinder productivity in the workplace and cause social issues, too.
How Is Fatigue Treated?
Certain medications can be prescribed to treat fatigue, but treatment is usually dependent on the cause. As a rule, dietary and lifestyle changes are often the first recommended step to fighting fatigue, so it's worth trying these before resorting to medication.
What Dietary Adjustments Combat Fatigue?
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is key to fighting fatigue. Vitamin D, found in eggs and mushrooms, and vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and leafy greens, are especially good for boosting immune system activity and energy levels to prevent weakness. Consuming an iron supplement with vitamin B12 is also a good idea, as iron carries oxygen to the organs, muscles, and tissues in the body to help strengthen them.
Dehydration is a key contributor to fatigue; drinking plenty of water - especially in place of caffeinated drinks or other stimulants - will provide energy, fight fatigue, and keep the body cool to promote restful sleep.
Try to avoid overeating or loading up on refined carbohydrates, as these contribute to sluggishness; eat whole grains - like brown rice and whole wheat pasta - and pair these with protein during the day to maximize energy levels.
What Lifestyle Adjustments Combat Fatigue?
Moderate exercise during the day is an invigorating way to combat fatigue and weakness, provided you stay hydrated and don't overdo it.
Try to establish a regular sleeping routine to prevent sleepless nights. Find a way of relaxing during the evening, then go to bed and awaken at the same time every day, and resist the urge to oversleep.
Using natural remedies to promote restful sleep and restore energy levels should be your initial go-to if you're suffering with fatigue. Often, lifestyle adjustments are all that's needed to achieve restful sleep and counteract weakness. If your other symptoms, such as anxiety or physical pain, are serious or fatigue is deeply affecting your lifestyle, however, it is worth consulting your doctor to discuss treatment options.
- Better Health Channel. (2011). Fatigue-fighting tips. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Fatigue_fighting_tips
- National Health Service UK. (2013). Self-help tips to fight fatigue. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/self-help-energy-tips.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2013). Fatigue: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003088.htm
- Office of Dietary Supplements. (2011). Vitamin B12. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/#h6
- Office on Women's Health. (2010). Menopause and mental health. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-mental-health/