Why Your Fatigue Might Be Hormonal — And How to Fix It
Menopausal fatigue is no joke.
It’s normal to be exhausted sometimes. Participating in life’s adventures — even running errands and doing chores — can take its toll on your energy levels. But if you’re fatigued more often than not, you may be suffering from something more specific. If you’re frequently tired and experience two or more of the following, hormonal changes due to menopause may be to blame:
- Blue moods
- Brain fog
- Hot flashes
- Low libido
- Weight gain
You are far from alone in dealing with this discomfort, because every woman goes through these changes. The good news is that easing your symptoms doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to be effective. Tired of being tired? Read on to see how you can help ease your menopausal fatigue the natural way.
If you’re feeling uneasy, unrested, and unsure how to feel better, you’re in good company. The hormonal changes of menopause leave 80 percent of women anxious and exhausted, according to a new study. “Estrogen influences brain areas that regulate mood, emotions and other mental processes,” says Taz Bhatia, MD, author of Super Woman Rx (Buy from Amazon, $14.23). “So when estrogen declines, we can lose its balancing effects.” Plus, drop-offs in progesterone lower levels of GABA, a calming brain chemical. The result: Menopausal fatigue, anxiety, brain fog, and more. Adding to the problem: A study in the journal Menopause finds the stress hormone cortisol climbs in menopause, worsening draining symptoms.
If you think you may be suffering from menopausal fatigue, consult your doctor. Doctors can order blood, urine and saliva tests to ID hormone deficits and imbalances. And while many prescribe treatments such as HRT and anti-anxiety medication, the steps below can ease symptoms naturally.
Tap your way to relief.
A technique known as EFT can reduce anxiety by 40 percent and boost happiness by 31 percent, say researchers in the Journal of Evidence Based Integrative Medicine. Short for “Emotional Freedom Technique,” it involves tapping key acupoints on the body with your fingers, which lowers stress hormones and lifts GABA. Subjects in the study attended daily EFT sessions, but you can find tutorials on YouTube.
Take a natural supplement.
Supplements can help. A Korean study found taking chasteberry (also known as Vitex) eased menopausal fatigue, anxiety, and blue moods. Credit goes to phytoestrogens and flavonoids in the herb that rebalance hormones. The dose Dr. Taz advises: 400 milligrams a day. To try: Nature’s Way Vitex Fruit Vegetarian Capsules 400 mg. (Buy from Walgreens, $7.74).
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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