Crashing fatigue is a real and challenging symptom that women can face during their menopause transition. In this blog, we’ll let you know more about crashing fatigue during menopause.
What is Chronic Fatigue?
Chronic fatigue isn’t just ordinary tiredness; it’s a profound and relentless exhaustion that can strike at any time, leaving women feeling depleted and unable to function optimally. It is especially frustrating as it can occur even with a good night’s sleep.
Used to being flooded with oestrogen, the enforced withdrawal at menopause can shut you down. This fatigue can significantly impact daily life, affecting work, relationships and overall quality of life.
The relationship between oestrogen, progesterone and the stress hormone cortisol, which increases at menopause, is complex and poorly understood. This additional stress increases cortisol levels, can exacerbate menopause symptoms and worsen heart and bone health.
What are the causes of Crashing Fatigue during Menopause?
1. Hormonal Changes: The primary driver of menopausal fatigue is the decline in hormone levels, namely oestrogen. Low oestrogen in isolation leads to low energy, low mood and loss of resilience, whilst raised cortisol can leave women in a simmering stress response state.
2. Sleep Disturbances: sleep disruption is a major contributor to menopausal fatigue. Hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety and an increased need to urinate during the night can all interfere with a refreshing night’s sleep and can all result in daytime somnolence. Sleep apnoea, or breathholding, also becomes more common during menopause, in part due to weight gain.
3. Lifestyle Factors: As women enter the menopausal years, they often face increased responsibilities, such as caring for ageing parents or grandchildren. Balancing these demands with work and personal life can lead to heightened stress and fatigue.
4. Physical Symptoms: Other physical symptoms like joint pain, headaches, and weight gain can also contribute to the overall sense of exhaustion during menopause.
How to manage Crashing Fatigue during Menopause
While menopausal fatigue can be debilitating, there are strategies and lifestyle changes that can help manage and alleviate this symptom. Here are some tips for dealing with crashing fatigue during menopause:
1. Always Prioritise Sleep: Establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a comfortable sleeping environment. Consider using cooling bedding (cooling pet bedding is much cheaper than those marketed for menopause!) and clothing to reduce the impact of night sweats. Take magnesium glycinate. Reduce caffeine, stimulant drinks and alcohol intake, all of which are diuretics and increase the urine volume.
2. Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity, such as walking, yoga, or strength training, which can help improve sleep quality, boost energy levels, lift mood and reduce stress.
3. Balanced Diet: Consume a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol intake, as they can disrupt sleep and worsen fatigue.
4. Stress Management: Practise relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga and mindfulness to manage stress and improve overall well-being. Try the Sleepio app!
5. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): consider HRT as a treatment which may aid sleep and alleviate fatigue.
6. Seek Support: If your fatigue is severe or persistent, consult your Doctor to rule out underlying medical conditions such as anaemia or an underactive thyroid, which can all contribute to exhaustion.
How can we help with Crashing Fatigue during Menopause?
Crashing fatigue during menopause can have a profound effect on your quality of life. By understanding its causes and implementing practical strategies for managing it, you can regain your vitality and navigate this transformative phase of life with greater ease.
If you’re struggling with menopausal symptoms, including fatigue, consider speaking to your boss or HR about an altered work schedule to meet your needs. Additionally, seek support and discuss treatment options with your Doctor. It is vital to exclude other causes for your symptoms before assuming it is menopause related. Take stock; this may be nature’s way of telling you to slow down, that you are no longer able to juggle all those plates.
We hope this article on chronic fatigue at menopause has been useful. Are you struggling with menopausal symptoms? Use our menopause assessment form to track your symptoms.
Dr Summerhill is a GP and Menopause Specialist. She qualified from Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’s (GKT) School of Medical Education in London in 2007. She qualified as a GP from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in 2015 and has undertaken specialist training in women’s health having achieved diplomas from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (DRCOG) as well as the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (DFSRH). She has the Letter of Competence from the FSRH for both coils and implants. Dr Summerhill has undertaken extensive training in menopause management and holds an Advanced Menopause Specialist certificate with the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare.