Menopause: Does it make you tired?
Does Menopause Make You Tired?
For Many Women the Answer is Absolutely. But No Fear: Here’s How To Get Back To Your “Get-Up-And-Go”
Does Menopause Make You Tired? The simple answer: yes… and it’s exhausting, isn’t it? Menopause fatigue can happen any time, any day, even after what you thought was a great night’s sleep. You may wonder how long does fatigue last during menopause? For some women it’s short-lived and for others it can last years. Even after menopause is over, some women experience post-menopause tiredness.
The main culprit for fatigue (as is the case with most menopause symptoms) is your rapidly and constantly changing hormone levels. Stress can accelerate the fatigue. Unrelenting exhaustion can overtake every aspect of your life. But you don’t have to suffer alone. There are ways to handle menopause fatigue and get through your day while minimizing discomfort.
Is it normal to feel tired after menopause?
Prolonged, severe fatigue can cause you to feel drained, unfocused, clumsy, moody and extremely unmotivated. It all starts when your hormone levels fluctuate dramatically as you near menopause (officially defined as the time when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months).
Hormones go haywire, and this disrupts sleep by causing your brain to wake you up several times during the night, distressing night sweats and frequent urination. Also, lowering levels of progesterone (hormones released by the ovaries during monthly menstruation) make some women edgy and unable to relax.
And to add to all of that, the levels of progesterone and estrogen, which help protect women from sleep apnea—a potentially dangerous condition where breathing stops and starts—drops. The oxygen deprivation causes you to awake suddenly several times a night. So of course you are feeling extra tired with so many opportunities for sleep disruption.
Is It Normal To Feel Tired Both During And After Menopause?
When you factor in physical and emotional aggravators like changes in the brain that lead to sometimes debilitating hot flashes severe enough to wake you up (or cause you to be too uncomfortable to sleep), headaches and anxiety, it’s no wonder you feel tired.
Power surge Hot Flashes
Not all women suffer from hot flashes, but if you do, research suggests that you may have an increased risk of heart disease and greater bone loss than women who do not have hot flashes. One of these symptoms’ biggest influence is on the quality of sleep. It’s hard to get a restful night’s sleep when your body is on a hormonal roller coaster! Try our StellaVia SuperBotanical ™ Sleep Gumdrops before bedtime and it’s always a good idea to check in with your OB/GYN if you are just entering menopause or symptoms become unmanageable.
The Mayo Clinic describes a hot flash as “a feeling of warmth spreading through your chest, neck and face.” Accompanying this is often a rapid heartbeat, perspiration, feelings of chilliness and anxiety.
To help lessen these uncomfortable symptoms, NYC Pelvic Specialist (and StellaVia founder) Dr. Allyson Shrikhande recommends, among other actions, stopping smoking, staying fit and eating smart. (Learn more at pelvicrehabilitation.com.)
Most women (at least 75% in North America) experience slumber-disrupting hot flashes, reaching a peak around 2 years after the final menstrual period and can be as many as ten years or even for the rest of your life . The key is to be proactive about getting support and promoting your wellbeing. If there’s help available, why not use it. We have a wealth of trustworthy information and a range of helpful products (link here) at StellaVia to help you on your journey.
Causes of menopause tiredness
As mentioned, the depletion of your “energy hormone,” estrogen, plays a large role in your fatigue. Hot flashes, sleep apnea and stress don’t help. But don’t forget that diet, stress-management and exercise still comprise a major part of your overall well-being and healthy aging. You still wield a lot of control.
Tips to handle menopause fatigue
Create a Sleep Routine
It can be tempting to just take a pill to fix a sleep problem. But relying on a quick fix may make the issue worse, not better. Ambien, for example, is a benzodiazepine, which, according to NYC pelvic specialist Dr. Tayyaba Ahmed, can easily become habit-forming. “I don’t recommend it to my patients because it is a controlled substance,” she says. “Getting hooked on it only worsens sleep problems in the long run,” Instead, you may want to try the natural hormone melatonin (which is created naturally in the body) or nature-based products like StellaVia offers (LINK TO Sleep Product category). Be sure to speak with your doctor about taking supplements as they may be contraindicated with your other prescribed medications.
Making It Through The Night
As you segue into menopause, waking up often at all hours can become a real problem—making you exhausted, less able to focus (link to BRAINFOG BLOG), irritable, and even prone to weight gain.
Tips to try: taking a warm bath, avoiding screens three hours before bedtime, stopping liquid intake 3 hours before bed (especially alcohol, a diuretic, which makes you have to urinate more frequently), keeping the room temperature comfortable and practicing diaphragmatic breathing (using your diaphragm correctly while breathing to reduce blood pressure and improve heart rate and relaxation.
Turn Exercise Into A Habit
Getting your heart rate up has been found to be one of the best solutions for fatigue. Once you get moving, you’ll start feeling better almost immediately. A study published in the journal Menopause explains that working out creates feel-good hormones and gives you instant energy, and generally improves your mood. Tip: Aim for at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise most days of the week (brisk walking counts) to feel a positive change.
The trick? Pick something you enjoy, like walking during lunch, yoga class, jogging or biking or even bowling! Work exercise into your daily life and you’re bound to see an increase in energy. Consider some of the many streaming workouts you can do in your own home with minimal equipment. Get moving!
Fine Tune Your Meal Plan
Consuming a big dinner close to bedtime can leave you feeling uncomfortably full. According to Dr. Shrikhande, “A diet high in greens and lean protein can provide you with B Vitamins and D Vitamins which are often culprits for low energy when they are depleted.” And eating smaller portions of healthier foods is a good choice—no matter what stage of life you’re in.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine
What About Caffeine and Wine?
As always, you know your body best. Says Dr. Shrikhande, “In small doses, coffee may have positive effects on energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function as caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, which leads to a stimulant effect.” But, here comes the caveat: “For some people it may make you jittery or anxious, and may even have a negative effect on your bladder, causing urinary urgency.” Worth it? Your call.
And That 6 PM cocktail?
Bear in mind that there is some evidence that, in menopausal women, alcohol can exacerbate symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings and insomnia. Wine, in particular, seems to make you feel worse the next day than any other alcohol.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) defines high-risk drinking as more than 7 drinks a week, or more than 3 on a given day.
There are some benefits to moderate drinking, such as:
- Slight increase in bone density
- Lower risk of heart disease and stroke
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- Lower risk of dementia
Overcome Your Sugar Addiction
You might be mistaking menopause fatigue for roller-coaster blood sugar. Get a handle on your sweet tooth: Sugar is known to cause inflammation, which speeds up aging. And, of course, it does nothing for your jean size. Dr. Shrikhande’s advice? “Detox, detox, detox! Stop the sugar coming into your body and after 48-72 hours the cravings will be gone.”
A quick test of this hypothesis showed that, at the very least, cravings dissipated dramatically over a couple of sweet-free days (although a few bites of coffee ice cream still came in handy while working on a late-night deadline, full disclosure). Thankfully, our chocolates and gummies have the least amount of sugar possible, so they won’t interfere with their designed function (or your jean size!)
Yoga and meditation
Yoga: Does It (Really) Help Make Menopause More Tolerable?
Indeed, studies show that it does, according to Dallas-based OB/GYN (and StellaVia Founder) Dr. Jessica Shepherd. “Menopause is a holistic change in the body, and practicing things like mindfulness, yoga, meditation and acupuncture can make significant difference in how you experience the transition.” True, everyone experiences this change differently based on genetics, lifestyle and environment. But it’s a proven fact that treating your whole body, mind, and spirit is more beneficial than addressing physical symptoms one by one.
Truth: According to a recent study, after practicing yoga for 12 weeks, women showed statistically lower scores for menopausal symptoms, stress levels and depression symptoms and much higher scores in overall quality of life.( Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27261993/)
So sign up for that class or download that app (we like glo.com) and start treating yourself to a better level of energy (and mood!)
Supplements (about Stella Via’s products)
StellaVia has a host of effective, doctor-formulated treats that help increase your energy. We use cocoa which has been shown to help battle fatigue without the usual culprits, such as too much sugar.
You should visit your doctor if…
Is Menopause To Blame For My Fatigue?
Remember: Even if you are in your 40s or 50s, fatigue may not be a sure sign of menopause. Other, dangerous conditions cause tiredness as well, so it’s always best to check in with your doctor to rule them out:
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Chronic Fatigue syndrome
- Heart Disease
- Medication Side Effects
- Poor Diet
- Underactive Thyroid Gland