The restorative energy gained from a proper night of sleep is essential to a woman's health and ability to function during the day. During menopause, many women find that their energy levels are not what they used to be, even if it seems that they are getting enough sleep. The most basic underlying cause of crashing fatigue during menopause is hormonal imbalance. However, crashing fatigue is a complex symptom of menopause, with numerous causes and lifestyle triggers. For example, extra work stresses and family strains can worsen crashing fatigue during menopause.

Definition of Crashing Fatigue

Crashing fatigue is defined as a sudden and overwhelming feeling of weakness, exhaustion, and reduced energy, which can strike at any moment of the day. Crashing fatigue is different than drowsiness, which implies an actual urge to sleep.

There is also an important distinction between crashing fatigue as a menopause symptom 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. These periods typically worsen with physical or mental activity and are often tied to other illnesses.

Read on to learn more about the crashing fatigue that is common during the menopause transition.

Symptoms of Crashing Fatigue

Crashing fatigue can have both psychological and physical symptoms. In many cases, these symptoms are experienced in tandem.

Physical Symptoms

  • Crashing fatigue after eating
  • Sudden crashing fatigue
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Drowsiness

Psychological Symptoms

  • Decreased wakefulness
  • Decreased attention
  • Apathy
  • Irritability
  • Memory lapses
  • Problems concentrating

Lack of sleep or other sleep disorders, which may lead to feelings of crashing fatigue, can also manifest as irritability or difficulty concentrating on daily tasks. This can negatively impact personal and professional relationships.

Causes of Crashing Fatigue

While crashing fatigue can be unsettling, it is important to know that it is a normal menopause symptom that is caused by temporary hormonal imbalance. This primary underlying cause can be made worse by complicating factors such as lack of sleep, stress, and irritability.

To learn more about how to treat crashing fatigue during menopause, please refer to the general fatigue treatments page, which covers the best ways to approach drastic bouts of fatigue during menopause, as well as more general and persistent fatigue.