When it comes to managing menopause, education is key. We want to thank our content partner Celltrient™ for providing this information.
Menopause is a perfectly natural part of the female reproductive lifecycle, and it occurs when a woman has gone 12 consecutive months without experiencing a menstrual period.
Although most women tend to become menopausal in their 50s, it’s by no means uncommon for some women to experience menopause earlier or even later than their 50s.
And while every woman will experience menopause at a slightly different point in her lifetime, what the vast majority of women are highly likely to share are some of the common symptoms that menopause brings.
For many women, one of the most noticeable and prevalent symptoms they experience during menopause is fatigue.
What is fatigue?
It’s important to note here that when we talk about feeling and experiencing fatigue, we don’t mean that a woman may feel a little more tired or sleepy than she perhaps usually would.
On the contrary, when a menopausal woman experiences fatigue, the impact can be quite literally debilitating.
But what exactly do we mean when we say fatigue?
In the medical world, there are two main types of fatigue: mental fatigue and physical fatigue.
According to Better Health USA, mental fatigue is a condition where the brain cells become exhausted, and it occurs when the human brain experiences substantial overactivity.
For some people, mental fatigue can be very short-lived. But for others, sadly, it might be something they have to live with for much longer.
When a person is suffering from mental fatigue, they may experience one or more of the following:
- An inability to concentrate
- Simple tasks may seem unnecessarily complicated
- More prone to making mistakes
- Difficulty remembering things
- Increased clumsiness
Physical fatigue, on the other hand, makes even the lightest of basic daily physical activities feel completely overwhelming and exhausting. Symptoms a person might experience as a result of physical fatigue include:
- A complete lack of energy
- Zero motivation
- Muscle weakness
- Severe tiredness
- Extreme drowsiness
The link between menopause and fatigue
Although both physical and mental fatigue can affect any one of us at any time in our lives, there is a link between menopause and fatigue. As women become menopausal, they face a greater risk of fatigue—and for a few different reasons:
1) Changes in hormone levels
During menopause, a woman’s body goes through a significant and dramatic change—not least to her hormone levels. As we become menopausal, several different hormone levels start to reduce. Unfortunately for us, those also happen to be some of our body’s most critical energy-boosting hormones. A decrease in the following hormone levels can significantly contribute to symptoms of fatigue during menopause:
- Thyroid hormones
- Adrenal hormones
2) Sleep quality and quantity
As hormone levels fluctuate, many women experience issues with sleep. Whether a woman experiences night sweats or episodic hot flashes, the chances are that at some point during menopause, she will feel the unwanted effects of poor sleep.
And as research tells us, the impact of either a lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep can be catastrophic for the human body—and may lead to either mental fatigue, physical fatigue, or even both!
3) Increased stress levels
Many menopausal women experience greater stress levels—and it’s all thanks to those fluctuating hormone levels again! Cortisol, for want of a better phrase, is our stress hormone. As we age, cortisol levels increase. The impact that stress can have on our physical body can be truly overwhelming and may well result in severe fatigue.
What are some other causes of fatigue?
Perhaps you’re anemic
Many women suffer from fatigue due to anemia, or in layman’s terms, an iron deficiency. And this isn’t a condition that’s specific to menopausal women either. Your body needs iron to make a protein called hemoglobin that allows red blood cells to deliver oxygen to your muscles and other tissues. If your body is iron deficient, there’s a good chance that you aren’t getting enough oxygen, and that’s where fatigue might set in.
You might be eating too little
Our bodies need sufficient fuel to keep us functioning as we should. Not eating enough food (or not eating an adequate amount of nutritious food) can also cause significant fluctuations in our blood sugar levels. Whether it’s a lack of food intake or spiking blood sugar levels, both can be a crucial cause of fatigue.
You might suffer from sleep apnea
Fatigue is a common occurrence among sufferers of sleep apnea—a very severe sleep disorder that causes people to stop breathing for brief periods as they sleep. Common causes of sleep apnea include smoking, being overweight, or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
Four things you can do to help reduce the risk of fatigue during menopause
Although fatigue can be truly crushing, the great news is there is lots you can do to try and tackle fatigue whether you’re menopausal or not. Here are four simple ways to help reduce the risk of fatigue during menopause:
1) Make exercise one of your main priorities
Although this might seem counter-intuitive, daily exercise is one of the best-known solutions for combating fatigue. Exercise naturally boosts our energy levels, so try to find an exercise you enjoy and make it one of your top priorities.
2) Create consistent sleep habits
Creating a consistent sleep routine can work wonders for your all-around health and well-being, not just fatigue. If you can, try and get into a regular sleep schedule whereby you go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same every single day. And if you want to feel the benefits of improved sleep, try to regulate the temperature of your bedroom—18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit) would be just perfect!
3) Avoid eating before bedtime
Eating too close to bedtime is never recommended because you’ll not only go to bed feeling extremely full, but you may also give yourself heartburn or indigestion. If you have to eat later in the evening, reduce your food portion size and try to eat something a little healthier and more nutritious. After all, it could well be the difference between a very good and a very poor night’s sleep.
4) Support your body’s natural energy production inside your cells
In addition to changes in hormone levels, there are other changes happening at the cellular level as we age. An important molecule called NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) declines by up to 50% between the ages of 40 and 60 years. NAD+ plays a critical role in cellular energy production, and a shortfall of NAD+ can contribute to tiredness and fatigue. Our body can make NAD+ from nutrients found in foods like lean meat, salmon, and lentils, but supplementation may be needed to maintain NAD+ levels as we age. Celltrient™ Cellular Energy provides Tru Niagen® NR, a cellular nutrient clinically shown to increase NAD+ levels to help reinforce your body’s natural ability to create energy inside your cells.
Although you might face a higher risk of fatigue during menopause, there are lots of positive things you can do to keep that risk to a bare minimum. And remember, if you are worried about fatigue, don’t suffer in silence. Please make an appointment with your Doctor or GP so that they can give you the help and support you need to manage the impact of fatigue.
Menopause is perfectly normal and a natural part of life. Although fatigue might be an issue, there is a lot you can do to maintain your energy and fully enjoy this phase of life.