Menopause and Fatigue: Surprising Reasons Why You Feel Like You've Run Out of Steam

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: February 15, 2011

Benjamin Franklin once said “Fatigue is the best pillow”. And, many menopausal women can certainly attest to that famous quote. They describe it as feeling like they are out of gas and being in a perpetual energy crisis that is coupled with brain fog. Fatigue is an ongoing feeling of tiredness, drowsiness and the need to sleep. It impacts quality of life and may cause women to have a decrease in attention span (brain fog), to feel lethargic and suffer muscle fatigue.

If you are feeling fatigued for more than a week, it’s important to make an appointment with your clinician because there are many causes other than menopause which may be attributing to the fatigue.

If you are experiencing unrelenting feelings of tiredness, it may be a sign of an underlying illness or medical condition. You should ask your clinician about the possible medical causes of fatigue, such as, hyperthyroidism and/or hyperthyroidism, heart disease, lupus, hepatitis C, anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep apnea, cancer, and others. Your clinician may also evaluate the impact of the medicines you may be taking such as prescribed pain medications, blood pressure medications, and others. In addition, it is quite common to feel fatigued if you are feeling anxious, depressed, and feel stressed. But, if you just don’t have the zest in life you once had, you may have undiagnosed depression. Your clinician may recommend you see a mental health provider who will discuss ways to boost your mood and energy levels with prescribed medications and/or alternative therapies.

Some simple measures you can do to reduce fatigue include:

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes each day. Simple walking will even help improve energy levels and help to battle fatigue. Do yoga, stretching and other relaxing activities to keep body and mind in the pink. Just keep moving to raise up your norepinephrine (adrenaline) levels which will help to energize you.
  • Establish healthy eating habits. What you eat has a direct correlation to your energy level. Our bodies cannot function properly if we aren’t eating the right foods. For instance, too little iron in your diet may cause you to develop anemia which leaves you feeling week and tired. Make sure you eat enough iron, eat whole grain breads and pasta, plenty of nuts and seeds, beans, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables and protein in the form of poultry and seafood.
  • Avoid foods and drinks with caffeine, alcohol and high sugar contents. Drinking too much caffeine can make you develop insomnia, feel irritable, anxious, and fatigued.
  • Take a short nap. Even a 10 minute can produce immediate improvements in fatigue levels.
  • Drink a small amount of mid morning caffeine. But avoid drinking it later in the day as it takes three to seven hours for the caffeine in a cup of coffee to leave your body.
  • Get some sunlight each day. Sunlight stimulates feelings of alertness.
  • Ask your family to help with chores at home.
  • Make every effort to rest and reduce stress.

If these simple measures aren’t helping you to get-up-and-go, seek medical attention.