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When you feel tired your life can be negatively impacted. It may: render you unable to concentrate for any length of time, make the thought of any form of exercise the stuff of nightmares, be the cause of bad moods, anger and possibly even trigger anxiety. The reasons you may have menopausal fatigue are many. In this article I have listed the most common with solutions to help your get out of that menopausal slump.
Your diet could be a contributing factor and is an easy place to start to make changes to put you on the road to feeling more energised.
Is Fatigue a Symptom of Menopause
If you are suffering from menopausal fatigue you’re not alone. It is one of the 34 listed symptoms of menopause that many menopausal women experience. The fatigue is not exclusive to menopause, many women can also experience perimenopause fatigue.
What seems like a very long time ago now I waved goodbye to my sister at the airport and headed home feeling anxious and extremly tired. It was more than missing my sister it was an all consuming tiredness.
Once home I felt so extremely exhausted I didn’t know where to put myself. It was difficult to raise myself from the couch which is not like me at all. As the day progressed I felt as if my body was going into shut-down. My joints ached and for some reason, my sinus was worse than ever.
That night I slept like a rooster at dawn and the next day I wandered around like something out of Zombie Dawn Of The Dead with 50 shades of dark circles under my eyes and feeling bloated and gassy.
I had more than an inkling about what caused my symptoms.
I had consumed alcohol every day for the past 3 weeks. Sometimes only a glass of red at night but sometimes a glass of Rose at lunch and a couple of glasses of red at night and maybe even a liqueur too.
I had also allowed that clingy tramp sugar to sneakily enter my life again.
Not in any great quantity. A small piece of chocolate here, a couple of Maltesers there and some disgusting popcorn that called itself salted caramel but was the devil in disguise on account of the way it upset my stomach every time I went near it.
Who doesn’t love a good bit of ripe camembert on that protein-rich platter for lunch and a couple of chunks to go with that red wine at night?
My dairy consumption went up so much while we were away the local cheesemakers were rubbing their hands in glee.
Symptoms Of Menopause Fatigue
- Very low energy or fatigue
- Gastro bloating
- Lack of brainpower
- Inability to be able to recall things
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Add one of these food swaps into your life each week to see and feel the positive difference in your health
Reasons For Fatigue During Menopause and Lifestyle Changes To Make
Firstly, always talk to your doctor to make sure there are no serious underlying issues fro your fatigue.
1. Menopause Itself
With hormonal changes causing symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Your mood and energy levels can be negatively affected allowing for menopause fatigue to set in.
Solution: Consider a hormone supplement to help conteract these symptoms. I recommend Estroven Menopause Relief + Mood Once-Daily Supplement which help manage mood swings, reduce hot flashes and menopausal anxiety.
2. Too Much Alcohol
IImmediately after dring alcohol we feel relaxed, slightly sedated even sleepy.
Then you go to bed and thanks to the chemical reactions going on in your body within a few hours you can expect to be awake again. Sleep disturbance is common after drinking.
Among the less serious side effects of drinking alcohol regularly are:
- Decreased brain function
- Stomach distress
Also, as there are carbohydrates involved we must contend with higher blood sugar levels.
Solution: Limit alcohol to one or two glasses during the weekend.
3. Too much Dairy
Dairy in its various forms, is delicious.
However it’s highly inflammatory. Second only to gluten.
It causes inflammation in a big percentage of the population which can lead to digestive issues, bloating, gas, diarrhoea and constipation.
Solution: Make cheese something you have as a treat and when you do have it stick to the hard cheeses. Choose Greek yoghurt over normal as it is lower in lactose.
4. Too Much Sugar
Sugar is also highly inflammatory and will lead to increased insulin levels resulting in a ‘sugar crash’ which will leave you feeling fatigued and without energy.
Higher sugar levels will also lead to increased inflammation causing aches, pains and digestive issues.
When you eat sugar, you get that lovely high immediately after eating it, this is the insulin coursing through your body on its way to cause inflammation anywhere there is a weak point.
After a while, as the insulin is distributed to the cells the resultant dip in your blood sugar makes you (drum roll please) feel tired. Off to bed, you go feeling nicely sleepy and looking forward to a great night’s rest.
Not gonna happen.
Lower blood sugar levels causes a stress response in your body, and both cortisol and adrenaline levels will increase, which could wake you up or at the very least cause restlessness.
Further reading: How To Quit Sugar Easily And Improve Your Health
Solution: Check labels for sugar. Cut back on added sugar at home and consider using a sugar altenative such as stevia to get you over the sugar craving hump. Be weary of where sugar can creep in such as soda, juices, yoghurts, dried and some fresh fruits as well as ingredients such as honey and maple syrup.
5. Not Enough Sleep
If you are always feeling tired it’s possible you’re not getting enough quality sleep.
Reasons for bad sleep can be:
- Eating too close to bedtime
- Too much caffeine
- Diet – as we have spoken about
- No bedtime routine
- screen time before bed
- Stress and worry
- Too hot or too cold
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Muscle cramps and menopause joint pain
Solution: Keep your bedroom calm and dark. Have a good night time routine by switching of electronics at least an hour before bed and dimming lights. Stop eating at least 2 hours before bedtime and make your last coffee before midday. Do some breathing exercises to help you with stress and anxiety levels.
6. Too Much Stress
Which results in constant high levels of cortisol, and insulin as well as less dopamine and serotonin the two feel good hormones that help us sleep.
Sleep then becomes even more difficult.
It is a vicious cycle which is hard to break free from.
Lack of sleep and high stress can increase the production of Ghrelin in the body an appetite stimulant that makes you want to eat more.
One tip here from the mouth of my very wise daughter. “If you only just ate something an hour ago you’re probably not hungry. Try having a glass of water instead.”
Solution: Include mindfulness in your day such as meditation, yoga, breathing techniques and journaling.
7. Not Enough Exercise
One of the best ways to stay energized is to exercise regularly.
When you’re constantly feeling fatigued exercise can be difficult.
Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day for 5-6 days at a moderate to high intensity will boost your energy levels.
Physical activity can also help with mood swings, weight gain, and even hot flashes. Try to choose activities that are manageable and enjoyable.
Solution: Make time for exercise, preferably in the morning. Even just a brisk 30 minute walk is better that 30 minutes on the couch and will do so much more for your health.
Dehydration will make you tired.
When your not getting enough to drink you lose your ability to focus. It can even cause things like poor muscle function.
It is extremely important for your health to get plenty of water every single day.
Solution: Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Consider mixing up with herbal teas and sparkling water.
9. Nutritional Deficiencies
Your changing hormone levels can drain your energy and leave your body needing a boost. If you know you’re eating well and drinking plenty of water then you may need a supplement to boost your nutrition.
Solution: I recommend a multivitamin such as One A Day Women’s Menopause Multivitamin with all the major vitamins you need to support you at this time.
There are other reasons why you feel tired in menopause including serious health conditions and as I mentioned earlier always seek out medical advice if it is persistent and ongoing.
Constant and extreme menopause fatigue can affect your quality of life. It is important to address and seek treatment for health issues as they arise so as not to allow any problems to get out of control.
For more on fatigue check out this article here.