A.Vogel’s Menopause Flash: Waves of fatigue

Welcome to another edition of A.Vogel’s Menopause Flash. As menopause approaches, your hormones will take a roller-coaster ride, which might leave you feeling especially tired. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal.

Menopause | Stress and sleep

Mackie Vadacchino

15 March 2017

We’re bothered by hot flashes all day and we soak the sheets sweating at night, that is, when insomnia isn’t keeping us awake instead. Eventually, we manage to function, at least somewhat, despite being tired all the time. But there’s also that other kind of fatigue that comes with menopause. The dramatic kind. It comes in waves and bowls us over both physically and mentally.

Waves of fatigue don’t really make us want to sleep, they just bring us to a standstill by depleting our energy, throwing us for a loop even after a good night’s sleep.

A range of factors can lead to fatigue, the most significant ones being stress and anxiety. We should all learn ways to manage stress and take the time to relax.

It’s important not to confuse perimenopause and hypothyroidism, because their symptoms are similar: fatigue, depression, mood swings and sleep disorders. Anemia and chronic fatigue syndrome may also be to blame. If you’re regularly hit by waves of fatigue, or if you always feel tired, it’s best to ask your doctor for help finding the cause.

All about balance

Why do waves of fatigue roll in during menopause? You could blame it on hormones (again), and you’d be right! When estrogen levels drop through the floor, your energy levels take a hit. Conversely, if progesterone hits rock bottom and estrogen is left in a dominant position, the estrogen will hinder the body’s ability to manage stress. In the long run, the adrenal glands, which manage the hormones that are linked to stress, tire out and lose their ability to function normally. Throw in some hot flashes, mood swings and insomnia and you’re left with crippling waves of fatigue.

When your ovaries stop producing estrogen following the onset of menopause, these same adrenals take over. But if they’re already worn out from all the ups and downs of perimenopause, your menopausal symptoms will last longer. So it’s best to go easy on your adrenal glands.

What do you need to do to take care of your adrenal glands and temper those waves of fatigue?

  • Sleep! Of course, it’s so obvious: when you’re tired, you go to bed! During this period of big changes, you should get between 7½ and 9 hours of sleep—remember your teenage years? And you need to spend that time sleeping, not tossing and turning or drenching the sheets in sweat. Some plants – including hops and valerian – will enable us to enjoy a good night’s rest without the drawbacks of sleeping pills.
  • Keep hydrated! Drink a lot of water. Dehydration causes fatigue. By the way, coffee and alcohol don’t count because they actually dehydrate you.
  • Keep stress to a minimum. Always being worried and anxious doesn’t do you any good, so take the time to relax every day. Exercise is a fabulous way to relieve stress!
  • Eat healthy! Sugar, coffee and white flour provide only a short-term energy boost and won’t help you in the long run. Instead, opt for fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts.
  • To pamper your adrenal glands and improve your energy, the combination of rhodiola, flowering oat and magnesium is outstanding. Use it during perimenopause to avoid fatigue and during menopause to help the adrenals take over.

When a wave of fatigue bowls you over, it’s a message from your body you need to listen to: put the brakes on! Whether it’s because of stress, hormones, lack of sleep, hot flashes, a poor diet or a combination of all of it, your body needs you to work with it.

It’s something that happens during every major change you go through: puberty, pregnancy (remember how tired you were during the first trimester?) and now the onset of menopause. Give yourself a fighting chance!

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