Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of menopause, affecting up to 80% of women. Living with chronic fatigue can take its toll. Simple daily tasks can seem incredibly daunting, and it can negatively impact personal and professional relationships. While many factors can influence a woman's energy levels, hormone fluctuations are typically why menopausal women experience fatigue.
Until recently, it was common to prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat the underlying hormonal imbalance behind menopausal fatigue. However, many doctors are reconsidering this option after the discovery of HRT's consistent links to blood clots and heart disease, along with other life-threatening side effects.
Fortunately, there are many different treatment options available for women who wish to manage their symptoms. Learn more about how to treat fatigue.
Three Approaches to Treating Fatigue
When treating fatigue, three tiers of approaches can be considered: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medications.
Women are advised to start with the least risky tier - lifestyle adjustments - before they try the next level of treatment. Medications should be used only in cases of severe and persistent symptoms.
1. Lifestyle Changes to Banish Fatigue
The first tier of treatment entails the lowest risk, but requires the most self-discipline. Often, simple lifestyle adjustments can greatly improve fatigue as well as overall health.
Fatigue in the daytime is closely tied to a woman's sleeping habits. Often during menopause, when women experience other common symptoms such as night sweats or sleeping disorders, the sleep cycle is interrupted, which can lead to fatigue. By removing triggers that can affect sleep quality, such as caffeine or alcohol, it is often easier to get to sleep.
Fatigue-fighting Sleep Tips
- Maintain a regular wake up and bedtime schedule
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress
- Keep your bedroom dark and cool
- Use your bed only for sleep or sex
- Refrain from eating at least two hours before bedtime
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
On the other hand, if a woman is experiencing fatigue due to anxiety or stress, practicing stress reduction techniques - such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises - can help reduce fatigue.
Lifestyle changes are an outstanding way to relieve fatigue and improve health, but they can be hard to put into regular practice. In addition, though they may relieve the symptoms of fatigue, they do not address the common underlying cause - hormonal imbalance. However, alternative treatments are a safe way of treating hormonal deficiencies, and they are highly effective. Keep reading to find out more about natural treatments for fatigue.
2. Alternative Medicine
Alternative treatments are not only effective - they are also low risk. This tier of treatment includes various options, such as massage and aromatherapy. However, herbal supplements are generally considered the best treatment because they are easy to follow and require less time and financial commitment. They are also the only form of alternative treatment that addresses the fundamental hormonal imbalances that trigger fatigue.
In the case of herbal supplements, there are two types of herbs that can be used for treating fatigue: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating herbal supplements.
These supplements, such as black cohosh, contain estrogenic plant compounds called phytoestrogens. Because these compounds are similar to women's estrogen, phytoestrogens found in these herbs can help treat an estrogen deficiency. However, from external hormones being introduced into the system, the body may become incapable of producing its own hormones at proper levels, which ultimately results in a decrease in hormone levels.
These supplements do not contain phytoestrogens or any hormones. Rather, they work by supporting the endocrine system with ample nutrients, which promotes the body's natural hormone production. This balances not only estrogen, but also other vital hormones like progesterone. Thus, supplements that nourish the endocrine system are considered to be a safe and effective way to treat fatigue, since the body produces hormones naturally.
From "Nature and Health Magazine," Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
"Macafem nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production by inducing the optimal functioning of the endocrine glands." Click on the following link for more information on Macafem.
Combining lifestyle changes and alternative medicine is often the best way to treat fatigue. For some women, however, these treatment options are simply not enough. Women with severe symptoms may want to consider prescription medications.
This treatment tier entails the highest risk and the greatest expense. The most-used medication for addressing menopausal fatigue is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While this form of treatment is fast-acting and effective, there are many possible side effects, including increased risk for blood clots and stroke, as revealed in the following study.
In 1991, the National Institute of Health started the largest clinical trial ever done in the U.S., the Women's Health Initiative, which was designed to identify the risks and benefits of synthetic hormone treatment. However, the study was halted in July 2002, at which time it was established that the introduction of artificial hormones into the body during HRT heightens the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as stroke, heart disease, and blood clots. These findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In addition, some women consult their doctors in search of pharmaceutical sleep aids, which may provide short-term relief of insomnia and daytime fatigue, but in the long run, they may disrupt the sleep cycle, and they also carry the risk of side effects. It's important to remember that while many medications may help relieve fatigue, they all have potential side effects, some of which are worse than any benefit the medication may provide. Women with severe fatigue who are considering this option should seek the advice of a healthcare professional.
These three tiers of treatment can overlap as necessary to alleviate fatigue. A growing number of women are finding that a blend of healthy lifestyle adjustments alongside hormone-regulating herbal supplements is the best way to treat fatigue.
A Safe Way to Treat Fatigue
Hormone-regulating herbal supplements for banishing fatigue, as detailed in the second tier of treatment, are thought to be the optimum treatment because of their effectiveness and extremely low risk of side effects.
Macafem, for instance, is considered to be an excellent hormone-regulating herbal supplement. It's straightforward: it nourishes the hormonal glands and supports natural production rather than putting artificial hormones into the body. This is what makes Macafem great for treating fatigue and other symptoms of menopause. Click on the following link to find out more about Macafem.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Retrieved May 3, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/cfs/
- Kravitz, H.M. & Joffe, H. (2011). Sleep During the Perimenopause: A SWAN Story. Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, 38(3), 567-586. doi: 10.1016/j.ogc.2011.06.002
- National Health Service UK. (2015). Chronic fatigue syndrome. Retrieved May 3, 2016, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Chronic-fatigue-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2014). Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Retrieved May 3, 2016, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/chronicfatiguesyndrome.html
- Office on Women's Health. (2014). Chronic fatigue syndrome fact sheet. Retrieved May 3, 2016, from http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/chronic-fatigue-syndrome.html