Menopausal symptoms cause fatigue; however, this article discusses how to beat it and boost your energy.
Perimenopause, which precedes menopause and marks the formal end of a woman’s monthly cycles and fertility, can result in various physiological changes.
One typical side effect that many women encounter before, during, and after this transitional period is vasomotor symptoms (VMS), such as hot flashes, mood swings, poor energy, and excessive exhaustion, commonly known as fatigue.
Changes in hormone levels, night sweats, sleep disturbances, or other problems can all contribute to menopausal fatigue. You can feel mentally and physically spent or exhausted.
How Does Menopausal Fatigue Feel?
Menopausal fatigue impairs and drains your energy, motivation, and focus and generally lowers your quality of life. This amount of fatigue also affects your emotional and psychological health. While going through menopause, many women encounter these symptoms.
Women who are menopausally fatigued feel extremely exhausted or drained even after resting. Some women experience debilitating symptoms that prevent them from engaging in daily activities.
Is Fatigue During Menopause Abnormal?
Everybody occasionally feels overtired or overworked, and this is natural. These situations typically pass, and people can usually bounce back successfully.
On the other hand, unrelenting tiredness is more severe, lasts longer, and cannot be alleviated by rest. It drains one’s energy and motivation, impairs motivation and focus, and general lowers quality of life.
This amount of fatigue impacts one’s emotional and psychological health. Sadly, this is the type of feeling that accompanies menopause.
The Culprit of Menopause Fatigue
The hormone levels of a woman approaching menopause change rapidly, causing the brain to wake up throughout the night. Additionally, reduced progesterone levels can make some women irritable and less able to unwind (progesterone is a hormone secreted by the ovaries during menstruation).
Estrogen and progesterone are thought to help shield females from a disease known as sleep apnea. Breathing stops and starts during sleep, which is known as sleep apnea.
As a result of their decreased progesterone production during menopause, women are less naturally protected from this sleep disturbance, which increases their risk.
But hormone imbalances are not the only factor that keeps women awake overnight. Other menopausal symptoms, like hot flashes and night sweats, are likely culprits of poor sleep, which often leads to tiredness and fatigue.
There is evidence to believe that changes in the brain lead to VMS, like hot flashes. These changes, not just the feeling of heat, can also trigger the body to wake up while trying to rest.
Even women who do not report having sleep disturbances due to hot flashes often say they have more trouble sleeping than before menopause.
In short, the more uncomfortable you are, you’ll likely wake up throughout the night, often more than once.
Causes Of Fatigue During Menopause
The most frequent cause of hot flashes is a change in hormone levels before, during, and after menopause.
Evidence points to the hypothalamus, the body’s thermostat, as the likely source of hot flashes since it becomes more sensitive to even minute variations in body temperature when estrogen levels are low.
A hot flash is a series of actions that the hypothalamus starts when it senses that the body is excessively heated.
The quality of life and daily activities may be affected by hot flashes. A woman may be roused from sleep by nighttime hot flashes (also known as night sweats), which can lead to chronic sleep disruption over time.
With accumulated sleep disruptions, one feels tired, exhausted, and left with a reduced energy level.
Less Sex Drive
The weakening, dryness, and inflammation of the vaginal walls, known as vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis), can happen when your body produces less estrogen. After menopause, vaginal atrophy most frequently occurs. Reduced estrogen levels are frequently the cause of menopause-related sexual issues.
Low estrogen levels can shrink and dry up the vagina during and after menopause, which can cause discomfort and painful sex. If one has to endure pain or discomfort during sex, this results in a low sex drive.
Having low libido can add to stress levels, which can negatively impact general mental and physical health and can lead to fatigue because of these reasons:
- Hormones and endorphins are released during sexual activity, which improves mood, relieves stress, and increases feelings of contentment and pleasure.
Some people may be deprived of these stress relievers due to decreased estrogen if they experience vaginal dryness, resulting in abstinence from sex. Even worse, abstaining from sex can exacerbate or even start to cause feelings of tension and anxiety.
- The vaginal canal is more constricted for those going through menopause.
Long stretches without regular sex can cause the vaginal canal to tighten during menopause, which can cause the vaginal tissue to shrink and increase the risk of ripping and bleeding during sex.
One develops a phobia for sex as a result and causes the heart to race when about to have sex which causes stress, fatigue, and even depression.
Vaginal atrophy causes uncomfortable urinary symptoms and painful erections in many women. Doctors refer to vaginal atrophy and its accompanying symptoms as “genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM)” because the illness affects both vaginal and urine symptoms.
The following signs and symptoms of genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM):
- Virilization dryness
- Urinary burning
- Vaginal bleed
- Genital itch
- Urination causes burning
- Urine production is urgent.
- Recurring urination
- UTIs that recur frequently
- Urinary incontinence
- Bleeding and discomfort during sexual contact
- Shortening and tightness of the vaginal canal due to reduced vaginal lubrication during sexual activity.
To enhance their sexual experience during menopause, many women have used a vaginal moisturizer (K-Y Liquibeads, Replens, Sliquid, or similar products) or water-based lubricant (Astroglide, K-Y Jelly, Sliquid, others). However, schedule a visit with your doctor if your painful experience does not subside.
GSM is a condition common to postmenopausal women. But few people seek help. Women may decide to accept their symptoms and avoid talking about them with their doctor out of embarrassment.
Schedule a visit with your doctor if you experience any unexplained vaginal bleeding, odd discharge, burning, or pain.
Falling estrogen levels and progesterone might cause mood fluctuations that make it harder for a woman to handle situations that she might typically let slide.
These hormonal fluctuations can trigger a depressive episode in certain women, especially those who already have significant depression.
Mood swings or depression can interfere with nighttime sleep habits, making it harder to function during the day. In addition to taking longer to fall asleep, people with depression sleep for shorter periods than those without depression.
A sound night’s sleep has several benefits for restoring brain function, and therapeutic processes can be slowed down or even stopped when sleep is short, light, or disrupted.
As a result of this, a woman might feel exhausted. This feeling could last for weeks or even months. It could make her wake up earlier than usual or keep her up at night, making her tired during the day.
Many women acquire weight during menopause, especially in the abdominal area.
Low estrogen levels, age-related muscle loss, and lifestyle elements, including diet and inactivity, contribute to weight increase during menopause.
It might be exhausting to have extra weight on the body because it puts additional stress on the heart, which may make a woman going through menopause weary. Of course, losing weight can add significantly to one’s energy.
Being overweight raises the possibility of developing diseases like diabetes, which has tiredness as a frequent symptom.
Adding extra weight can make it more difficult to do everyday physical activities like going to and from the bus stop and climbing stairs.
A large body size can also make it difficult to get enough sleep at night because it makes you more likely to develop sleep apnea.
Changes in the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which influence how your cells react to insulin, can cause unexpected swings in blood sugar levels, making it more difficult to keep diabetes under control.
Diabetes has an impact on how the body manages and utilizes blood sugar. The body converts food into simple sugars, such as glucose, when a person eats. Insulin helps cells take up glucose from the blood to use it as fuel.
Diabetes results from either insufficient insulin production by the pancreas or inefficient insulin utilization by the organism. Blood glucose levels are elevated as a result.
When the cells do not receive enough glucose, fatigue, and weakness may occur.
As a woman’s decreased estrogen production menopause sets in, HRT is typically utilized to control the condition’s symptoms.
How does menopause relate to heart disease? A younger woman’s body uses estrogen to fend off heart disease,
changes to the blood vessel walls increase the risk of plaque and blood clot formation.
Lipids (fats) levels in the blood change with time. An elevation of fibrinogen (a substance in the blood that helps the blood clot). Heart disease and stroke are linked to elevated blood fibrinogen levels.
It is important to note that weakness and fatigue are the most typical side effects following a blood clot. Be gentle to yourself, and take a nap when you need one. You might not feel like yourself for the first few months; you might feel like all you can do is relax, but that’s good because that’s how this condition works.
Loss of Concentration/Forgetfulness
A significant alteration in the body after menopause is a decrease in hormone levels, which may contribute to typical forgetfulness and reduced concentration.
As estrogen levels vary during perimenopause, Many women start to feel symptoms of the menopause transition.
One important hormone that might affect memory before or during menopause is estrogen. Although there is no evidence linking absolute hormone levels to cognitive function, it is plausible that the variations that occur during this time may contribute to the memory issues that many perimenopausal and menopausal women experience.
People who struggle with concentration may find it difficult to learn and recall new knowledge, which can leave them feeling frustrated with both themselves and other people.
They might easily become overwhelmed and perplexed, making issues with fatigue, headaches, and dizziness worse.
Loss of concentration can cause a lot in life, leading to frustration, stress, and, eventually, fatigue.
You can do worse at work or school if you have trouble focusing. Additionally, you might discover that you can’t think as clearly, which can influence your choices.
Additionally, being unable to recall recent events, having trouble staying still, having trouble thinking properly, constantly losing things, or having trouble remembering where things are, being unable to make decisions, inability to carry out difficult jobs, making casual errors due to a lack of focus or mental or physical energy.
It makes sense that as estrogen levels fall, inflammation rises because estrogen has an anti-inflammatory effect. Any stage of menopause can cause this alteration.
Postmenopausal women sometimes have greater white blood cell counts, which suggests a link to more systemic chronic inflammation.
Immune inflammation in reaction to a disease or irritant causes pathological tiredness. Consequently, cytokines, which are inflammatory substances made to combat the virus, are released.
Because of their interactions with the neurological system, they can cause initial weariness. However, the bigger problem arises when continuing cytokine secretion is brought on by existing inflammation (due to an illness or a way of life).
Additionally, women with regulated hormones typically put on weight in their thighs and buttocks before menopause. After menopause, women experience hormonal changes that lead to weight growth in the form of visceral fat, which is highly inflammatory, in the abdominal region.
Postmenopausal women frequently experience increased abdominal adiposity (obesity), which can result in elevated levels of adipocytokines (cytokines secreted by fat tissue). These include tumor necrosis factor (TNF), IL-6, and c-reactive protein (CRP).
As a result, they cause the body to become highly inflamed. Inflammation can also cause problems like type 2 diabetes, which increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in postmenopausal women.
As the body’s inflammation grows, women typically experience increased weariness.
Women should pay close attention to their bone health during the perimenopausal, menopausal, and postmenopausal years.
Osteoclasts aid bone growth and healing by dissolving bone tissue and releasing minerals into circulation. Resorption is the process that causes this. Even though this mechanism is crucial for preserving blood calcium levels, it can be harmful when in excess supply.
Osteoclast overproduction can result in brittle bones if not controlled. Through interleukin-6, T cells will attract and keep osteoclasts alive while the body is in an inflammatory condition (IL-6). We encounter problems with bone health if osteoclasts are allowed to break down bones more than they should.
However, when we have enough estrogen, it can suppress IL-6, stopping severe bone loss. Reduced estrogen can also make bones more susceptible to the effects of parathyroid hormone (PTH), which will enhance the consequences of bone resorption.
What occurs when the lack of estrogen throughout these menopausal stages compromises bone health? Women may start to lose bone density, which may eventually cause osteopenia or perhaps osteoporosis.
Due to lower estrogen levels, people lose bone during, but more quickly after, menopause. Following menopause, a woman could lose up to 25% of her bone density (or 1% to 2% yearly). The risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures rises when you lose too much bone.
Most frequently, the hip, wrist, and spine bones are impacted. A procedure known as bone densitometry can be carried out to determine how much calcium is present in specific areas of the bones. The test is used to identify osteoporosis and osteopenia, which is a condition that precedes osteoporosis.
Discomfort and other bodily issues, such as lethargy or exhaustion.
Sadly, joint discomfort affects more than half of women during menopause, making it one of those symptoms that may make you feel pain, fatigue, and old overnight. A study of more than 100,000 middle-aged female veterans found that the likelihood of developing chronic pain increased by 85% when a woman entered menopause.
Osteoarthritis (OA), which is caused by the breakdown of the connective tissue between bones, is frequently characterized by pain, edema, and inflammation in the joints. Because menopausal women are more prone than other women to develop OA, hormone shifts may play a role in the symptoms of arthritis.
Beyond hormones, other factors that might cause or aggravate joint pain include being overweight, living a sedentary lifestyle, dehydration, eating a poor diet, smoking, and stress.
Since estrogen naturally reduces inflammation, inflammation can happen more frequently when it dips and ebbs. Additionally, estrogen controls the body’s fluid balance, making the tissue around your joints less elastic and drier, similar to how your skin is.
Another idea contends that estrogen lessens pain perception, making you more sensitive to pain when levels fall.
You don’t have to endure suffering or feel older than you are, though. You can manage menopausal joint pain in many different ways.
Unhealthy Muscle Mass
Estrogen (and its precursor hormones) have an impact on muscle mass. Research has discovered a rapid decline in muscle mass in postmenopausal women. Estrogen is beneficial for both muscle mass and strength.
When research examines postmenopausal women, they show a lower muscular reaction to diet and exercise compared to males of the same age, even though there is no discernible difference between middle-aged men and women’s muscle responses to nutrition and training.
Without the protective effects of key hormones, menopausal and postmenopausal women are more susceptible to arthritis, joint pain, stiffness, and muscular aches and pains, which often results in frustration and fatigue.
How To Build Energy Levels
There is actual menopause fatigue. By experimenting with various options, you may be able to alleviate some of the symptoms:
Eat foods high in soy. Foods abundant in soy include a substance that has the same health benefits for your body as estrogen. Some of the hormones may even out as a result of this.
Eat fewer hot meals. Avoid spicy food if you can because it is known to cause heat flashes.
Eat smaller-sized meals each day.
It can be difficult to fall asleep if you have a substantial dinner too soon to bedtime. Heartburn is exacerbated by large meals and can keep you awake at night. Whatever stage of life you’re in, eating healthier foods in lesser portions is a wise move.
Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule
Midlife can be difficult for sleeping due to hormonal changes, hot flashes, desires to urinate at night, and night sweats. But sustaining your energy levels and preventing afternoon sleepiness depend on obtaining adequate sleep. Try to keep your bedtime and wake-up times consistent on weekends.
Maintaining a routine is one of the most crucial things to do if you are exhausted from a lack of sleep which entails waking up and sleeping at the same time every day, including on weekends.
Every night, set aside time to unwind by taking a bath, reading, or listening to calming music. To prepare for sleep, some people choose to do a brief meditation.
Just be careful not to include the TV, computer, phone, or other screens in your wind-down as they have been connected to sleep disruptions. Other healthy sleep hygiene practices include using the bed for sleeping, having sex, and keeping the room cold and dark.
Nearing bedtime, consider taking a warm bath or shower. Ensure that your room is sufficiently cool.
Additionally, studies reported in Nature and Science of Sleep suggested that menopausal women who experience insomnia may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of psychotherapy.
Consume the Correct Foods in the Appropriate Amounts
The optimal diet comprises lean sources of protein (poultry, lean meats, and fish), low- or no-fat dairy products, and is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean carbohydrates. Reduce your intake of sugar and fats.
According to some research, eating spicy food may cause hot flashes. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that soy-rich diets may support hormone balancing, which may lessen some symptoms.
Jones says eating smaller meals more regularly can provide energy throughout the day. Additionally, heavier meals may cause heartburn, which can disrupt sleep.
Some eating regimens, like the Galveston diet, include anti-inflammatory foods and intermittent fasting (IF) to help menopausal women manage their weight.
Watch Your Use of Nicotine, Alcohol, and Caffeine
These things may deplete your energy. They could give you a high immediately, but as they wear off, you might feel even more depleted.
Even though many claims that a “nightcap” puts them to sleep, evidence indicates that drinking alcohol before bed can increase the number of overnight awakenings. Additionally, alcohol can relax the muscles in the throat, worsening conditions like sleep apnea.
Try Some Relaxation Methods.
How do you decompress? Take the time to indulge in your favorite pastimes, whether you enjoy reading, taking long walks, or practicing meditation. You have a right to give yourself some treats and enjoy yourself. Therefore, you’ll have greater energy.
Your exhaustion may be brought on by stress and anxiety, and learning relaxation techniques can help you deal with these issues.
Researchers found several studies that suggest yoga may help with menopausal fatigue and psychological changes in a review article published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine. However, other studies had mixed findings.
Take Plenty of Water
You must hydrate your body and feed it nutritious foods. Your body uses thirst to signal you need to drink more fluids. Dehydration forces your body to work harder, making you tired.
Both nausea and difficulties concentrating are side effects of dehydration. So that you can hydrate when you need to, have a water bottle close by. Choose caffeine-free tea, coffee, or water instead of calorie-rich beverages because weight gain might make you sluggish.
Think About Herbal Remedies
Black cohosh and valerian are two herbal treatments that may help lessen tiresome menopausal symptoms and anxiety. Before consuming herbs such as teas or supplements, please consult your doctor because they may interact with certain drugs.
No dietary or herbal remedy has been shown to consistently ease menopausal symptoms. According to some data, certain individuals may benefit from soy-derived chemicals.
A 2018 study including 96 fatigued women between the ages of 40 and 60 discovered that soy lecithin at high doses enhanced vitality and decreased blood pressure. Proper up arrow A pill form of soy lecithin is also available over the counter (OTC).
Consult your doctor about your treatment options.
You can overcome weariness and regain energy by taking specific prescription medications. Hormone therapy (HT) has improved sleep quality for some women, but as with any medication, there are dangers involved, so it’s important to address these with your doctor.
Additionally, some women have symptom relief from various antidepressants and even blood pressure medications.
Take a nap
Plan a quick power nap into your day if you can. You can recharge your energy for the rest of the day with a 20–30 minute nap. Set the alarm and get into your comfortable bed if you are not required to go to work every day. Even if you can’t sleep, using that time to clear your head and stay still might be beneficial.
Make Your Bed More Comfortable
Making simple adjustments to your sleeping environment may help you get more rest if hot flashes and night sweats keep you up and make you exhausted. Wear only nightgowns or pajamas that are airy and light.
Use layered bedding that can be readily added to or subtracted throughout the night. Consider using bedding and sheets made of moisture-wicking materials to stay drier when you sweat. Compared to other materials, silk pillowcases keep you cooler.
You might also wish to keep an electric fan close by to stay cool. A frozen cold pack placed beneath the pillow or on the feet can provide relief for some women.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) directly targets the underlying cause of menopausal symptoms—changing hormone levels—remains the gold standard of treatments.
HRT can, therefore, successfully treat fatigue and the symptoms that may worsen it. A key factor in regaining energy is estrogen replacement therapy, which is thought to be the most effective treatment for the symptoms that frequently co-occur with exhaustion.
Progesterone therapy can help postmenopausal and perimenopausal women with their sleeplessness.
Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
What can be done to lower menopausal women’s risk of heart disease?
Priority should be given to “traditional” risk factors. Those women that have the lowest risk of developing heart disease are those who:
Avoid or give up smoking.
Maintain their desired body weight or lose weight
Exercise aerobically for 30 to 40 minutes three to five times a week.
Maintain a diet rich in fiber, whole grains, legumes (such as beans and peas), folate-rich foods, fruits, fish, and vegetables, while limiting your intake of trans fats (partially hydrogenated fats like margarine or shortening).
Medical diseases that are known risk factors for heart diseases, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, should be treated and put under control.
The Significance of Anti-inflammatory Diet, Supplements, and Lifestyle
It is critical to consider other strategies for women to reduce inflammation as they experience menopause and lose the anti-inflammatory effects of hormones. There is little doubt that lifestyle variables like getting enough sleep, managing stress, eating a wholesome, anti-inflammatory diet, and limiting exposure to toxins are important.
While certain foods reduce inflammation, others promote it. Consume more of the following anti-inflammatory foods for the ideal balance: berries, broccoli, avocado, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, citrus fruits, cherries, fatty fish like salmon, almonds, dark chocolate (in moderation), olive oil, green tea, turmeric, and ginger.
Additionally, please avoid inflammatory foods like trans fatty acids, refined carbohydrates like white bread and cake, fried foods, red meat, processed meats like hot dogs, soda, and other sugary beverages.
However, several essential vitamins can assist reduce inflammation in addition to these variables.
Vitamin D: It is a hormone and fat-soluble vitamin that can be found in swordfish, tuna, salmon, and cod liver oil. Small levels of it are also present in beef and egg yolks.
Although some people struggle with this process and the body’s capacity to accomplish this conversion declines with age, our bodies can convert sunshine into vitamin D.
Therefore, checking your vitamin D levels is very important. For most people, especially menopausal and postmenopausal women, taking supplements to make up for their body deficiency of this vitamin is crucial.
If vitamin D supplementation is done regularly, it can aid calcium absorption and bone growth and remodeling. It also assists with cell growth, immunological function, neuromuscular function, and general inflammation reduction, reducing stress and fatigue and assuring a higher quality of life.
Exercise frequently is essential for preventing osteoporosis. Exercises that include lifting weights and exercises that build muscle should be your main priorities.
Exercises That Require Weight: These activities require you to defy gravity. The impact of these activities can be significant or modest. High-impact workouts can help maintain bone density, but those who have lost bone mass or are more likely to suffer a bone fracture should stick to low-impact weight-bearing exercises.
Among the weight-bearing activities with high impact are:
Running or jogging
Leaping a rope
High-impact aerobics Hiking
Low-impact weight-bearing workouts with dancing include:
Low-impact exercises, such as water exercises
Utilizing elliptical machines
Using stair steppers
Exercises to Strengthen Muscles
These workouts are also referred to as resistance workouts. With these exercises, you must defy gravity while moving weight. You could use free weights, machine weights, your body weight, or another piece of exercise equipment as the weight.
Exercises that build muscle include:
Lifting weights (using free weights or weight machines)
Resistance band usage
Movements include lifting your body weight.
Apply heat or ice: Your decision may depend on your particular preferences. Ice is generally beneficial when there is blatant inflammation (swelling, redness). It could also relieve soreness following activity, or you might discover that it dulls pain whenever you feel it.
Heat improves circulation, increases flexibility, and relaxes muscles. For these reasons, applying heat (such as a heating pad, a warm shower, or paraffin wax) before exercising may be beneficial.
Apply either for no longer than 20 minutes at a time, and keep something between your body and the heating pad or ice pack, such as a thin towel, to protect your skin.
Apply for some relief: Arnicare and Biofreeze are two topical painkillers that might ease the discomfort. Furthermore, merely touching and massaging the area, even with common lotion, may help you become less sensitive to discomfort.
While it is true that fatigue can make one feel restless and frustrated, it is good that there is a way forward, a good way to combat it. If you can try the solutions listed above, you will surely enjoy your menopausal stage with little or no fatigue.