Fatigue and Menopause

One of the more common symptoms of the menopause is a persistent on-going feeling of exhaustion and fatigue - mental and physical. This article looks at the causes of fatigue and provides you with 8 tips to combat fatigue and bring back your zest for life.

Fatigue can make concentration difficult.

Fatigue can make concentration difficult.

Menopause fatigue can be mental and physical

During menopause and perimenopause many women may experience an on-going and persistent lack of energy and feelings of tiredness and weakness. You may be surprised to find yourself feeling exhausted in a way that is unexplainable. The signs of menopausal fatigue include decreased wakefulness, lowered attention span, mental fuzziness, irritability and memory lapses. You may find that you are lacking your usual zest for life.

Can a change in hormones cause menopausal fatigue?

The main cause of menopausal fatigue is the change in hormone levels. Oestrogen, progesterone, thyroid and adrenal hormones are all involved in regulating cellular energy in the body which when compromised can lead to fatigue.

Physical menopausal symptoms like night sweats and insomnia contribute to fatigue. Many women find themselves suffering from a chronic lack of sleep and this is a contributory factor in fatigue during the day. Fatigue exacerbates menopausal symptoms such as anxiety, poor concentration, and a lack of confidence. You can easily find yourself in a spiralling, vicious circle.

Breaking the cycle of fatigue - 8 Tips to combat fatigue at menopause

Try some to take some of these steps to combat fatigue during perimenopause

1. Don’t over-exercise

Fatigue can be greatly helped by doing gentle exercise, ideally 30 minutes every day, but you can increase fatigue by over-exercising. Regular gentle exercise, such as walking, swimming, cycling and yoga, can be very beneficial during the menopause to balance a wide range of symptoms, but remember - over-exercise can be counter-productive. I find walking in the fresh air, even when I really don't feel like it, is a great energy boost and I often come back home with a fresh perspective even after a short walk. If you have a dog you'll know all about this.

2. Cut down on stimulants like coffee and alcohol 

In addition to changing hormone levels and poor sleep patterns, menopausal fatigue can be caused by factors such as low iron levels, stress, too much work, food allergies, and other nutritional deficiencies. Your adrenal system is working hard to rebalance hormones during menopause, therefore it is important not to put your adrenal glands under additional pressure. So try to reduce stress, and cut down on stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and cigarettes.

3. Take a power nap 

Many women find it very helpful to have a short 20-30 minutes nap during the day to reduce fatigue. Jump into bed, set an alarm, put on a lovely silk eyemask and snooze, glorious snooze. If you work in an office, and if it is possible, find a quiet place during your lunch break and close your eyes. A power nap is an essential tool to revitalize our bodies and mind. A 15-20 minute meditation will create the same impact. I use the 1Giant Mind's App for a reboot.

4. Breathe at your desk

If this snoozing or meditation is not possible for you, find your favourite way to relax. If, for example, you're at a desk all day, carry out a regular breathing exercise.  Close your eyes, breathe in deeply and slowly to the count of 4, and then breathe out slowly to the count of 6. Do this 10 times each hour. Each exercise will only take 15 seconds, but the impact will be huge. Put a yellow sticky note on your computer to remind yourself. Your colleagues will notice the new, revitalised you!

5. Fresh air

Make sure to get out into the fresh air every day at lunchtime and during other breaks - hail, rain or shine. In fact, sometimes bad weather is the most exhilarating if you can push yourself out the door.

6. Find things that boost YOUR energy

One thing that's very evident at menopause is that we all have different experiences, see what appeals to you and you only. Some women love art and colouring and find them relaxing others would rather de-clutter a drawer or go dancing. Take a moment and think about what boosts your energy and fills your cup. Maybe try something new - consider taking up mindfulness, Feldenkrais or yoga? These practices can help rest the mind, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and produce feelings of deep relaxation which can be drawn on during busy or stressful times. Don't overstretch yourself with commitments and people or situations that drain your energy. You may need to learn to say No! more often. Seek out the 'juicers' not 'drainers'.

7. Keep a diary and note your sleeping habits

Keep a diary or journal to log your thoughts and emotions. You may have a lot of different changes going on in your life (physical, mental and emotional) and it can be very helpful to write to yourself about them as a way of getting perspective and charting change.

Some of your fatigue may be associated with poor sleep/Insomnia or Night Sweat or Hot Flushes (click those links to get more advice and tips ).Try to create good routines for yourself including a regular bedtime and rising time. A good night time routine will ensure better sleep.  Is your phone and tablet etc out of the bedroom?

8. Use herbal or nutritional support

Many women find that they are deficient in certain key vitamins at menopause. For example, B Vitamins are vital to ensuring that you have adequate energy. Magnesium can help sleep - either take a supplement or use a spray oil before going to bed. It's best to consult an expert nutritionist or herbalist who can advise on your needs and potential deficiencies at midlife. Many of us are depleted by the time we get to our late 40s having run ourselves ragged in our 30s and 40s - often despite having a very good diet. Avoid caffeine as much as possible - especially after lunch. Chamomile tea or other herbal teas of your choice are a great alternative. Siberian Ginseng or Adrenal Support help to give them more energy and aid in rebalancing hormones. 

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Hot flushes are one of the primary symptoms of menopause.
Ayurveda - living in harmony with nature
Make sure to have a good supply of B Vitamins at perimenopause
Perimenopause becomes most evident when we are around age 48 or 49.


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