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Fatigue and Menopause



Fatigue and Menopause
Various psychological and physical factors are responsible for crashing fatigue experienced by women approaching menopause. Scroll down to know the causes and symptoms of fatigue, and also how to lower excessive fatigue experienced by perimenopausal women.Cessation of menstrual cycle is known as 'menopause'. Women belonging to the age group 45 - 55 suffer from pre-menopausal and post-menopausal symptoms. The average age of menopause occurring may vary from woman to woman. Women around 45 - 50 face several health problems due to impending menopause. When the ovaries stop releasing the hormone estrogen, a woman reaches menopause. If the question 'why fatigue and menopause go hand in hand' is swirling in your mind, then read through the following sections to know more.

Fatigue and Menopause: Causes

Psychological Causes of Fatigue: These causes mostly depend upon the nature of the woman, her family background, and her lifestyle. Perimenopause is the mid-life period when a woman suddenly has to face several health problems arising due to a hormonal imbalance in her body. Most women are not prepared for such changes. This is the age when a woman is about to reach the desired goals in her life. Suddenly, due to hormonal changes, she starts losing her temper. She suffers from insomnia, mood swings and depression. Vaginal dryness, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, low sex drive, headaches, low energy levels, and lack of sleep, affect her mental health seriously. Being at the peak of her career, she has to work for long hours. Housewives have to face increasing anxiety because of drastically changing circumstances (growing children, their behavioral changes, education, etc.). The early signs of menopause like severe mood swings, feeling of dread, irrational fear, difficulty focusing, disorientation, unpredictable behavior and fogging, are seen in most women and are attributed to hormonal imbalance. Excessive stress in life when the woman is lacking the hormone estrogen which controls the level of cortisol (hormone responsible for tiredness), results in crashing fatigue.

Physical Causes for Fatigue: Hot flashes and night sweats are some of the common symptoms of menopause. Fluctuating body temperature and sleep disturbance due to night time breathing disorders can lead to excessive tiredness and fatigue. Some women experience lighter flow but some experience very heavy periods before menopause, which can cause crashing fatigue. Palpitations and irregular heartbeats during perimenopause lead to improper circulation of blood, which in turn can lead to low energy levels. Perimenopausal women may experience pain during sexual intercourse and a decrease in their sex drive. This can also cause fatigue and depression. Some women may suffer from memory loss, which might lead to increased inactivity and social withdrawal. Postmenopausal women often gain weight and experience increase in fat around the abdomen. This also leads to inactivity and excessive tiredness. Adrenal glands help deal with anxiety and manage various forms of daily stress. These glands regulate energy levels, heartbeats, muscle tone, and several other processes that help the body to cope with stress. Lack of estrogen leads to emotional instability and adrenal fatigue.

Fatigue and Menopause: Symptoms
Overall weariness; a general feeling of being exhausted
Strong desire for afternoon naps, daytime sleepiness
Loss of sex drive, vaginal dryness, sleeping difficulty
Severe mood swings and more 'down' days
Hot flashes, palpitations
Increased irritability, difficulty in concentration
Mental confusion, inability to manage normal routine
There are other signs of menopause too, like slight change in the body odor, urinary incontinence, thinning of hair, etc. But women need not worry about chronic fatigue. As the stressful time ends, fatigue goes away.

How to Cope with Chronic Fatigue and Menopause

Simple lifestyle changes can help get rid of fatigue during menopause. Since excessive consumption of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can affect sleep; women should avoid these; or should consume them in moderation. Use of a fan, air-conditioner, light bedding, and light cotton night-wear, can help reduce the effects of hot flashes and night sweats. Perimenopausal women should follow a healthy and light diet. They should have dinner 3 hours before going to sleep. Frequent small meals can help maintain energy levels. They should avoid 2 - 3 large meals a day, and should have 5 - 6 small meals instead. Drinking plenty of water and healthy liquids like milk, milkshakes, fruit juices, soups, herbal tea, etc., will help maintain energy levels. They can take herbal medicines after consulting their physician. Regular exercise plays an important role in balancing hormone levels. Moreover, exercises help maintain weight and help avoid several health problems. Women should learn meditation techniques and breathing techniques like pranayam, which help fight stress.

I hope you have found an answer to the question as to why fatigue and menopause go hand in hand. Doctors may suggest hormone replacement therapy and may prescribe anti-depressants and certain other medications to lower the troublesome symptoms of menopause. But positive thinking, self confidence, support and love from family members, are some of the important factors which help lower fatigue and other symptoms of menopause.