7 reasons you're always tired during menopause

Eileen Durward
Ask Eileen

28 May 2018

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be talking about why we can feel so tired all the time in the menopause. This is such a common question, and so many women are asking me why they feel tired the whole time.

Now, the problem here is that it might not be one thing. Sometimes it can be a combination of factors that are going on in our life. They're all contributing together. Our bodies just get so tired that it can't cope with daily life.

So what I'm going to talk to you today about is seven reasons that you might be feeling tired all the time, and some little quick and easy tips that you can add into your daily life just to try and help with tiredness and fatigue.

1. Your physical symptoms

So the first thing that's possibly going to make you feel tired is your physical symptoms. If you're getting a lot of hot flushes or night sweats, if that's disrupting your sleep, you're going to feel tired all the time. If you get a lot of joint aches and joint pains, especially if it's severe, that can interfere with your sleep, but pain itself if you're feeling it on a daily basis can weigh you down very, very quickly.

It can just be the change in hormones, even if you're not really getting any other symptoms at all. Just the way your hormones are changing, your body is trying desperately hard to stay in balance, and that will really drain you of energy, and that can happen really, really quickly. It's amazing how women say, "I just feel I've started the menopause, and the fatigue has just hit me really, really hard."

My Top Tip

So here, the top tip is especially if you're having problems with sleep is to take maybe sleeping herb. We've got our Dormeasan. Get a good sleeping regime sorted in the evening. Don't sit up too late. There'll be a link on the page here to take you over to what you can do to get a good night's sleep.

If you're getting disturbed during the night by night sweats, you could look at the Sage tablets, and if joint pain or muscle pain is an issue, then you could look at the herb Devil's Claw as well.

2. Your emotions

Second thing that can drain you is your emotions, and for some women, the emotional turmoil that goes on is far greater than the physical ones, and this will drain you of energy as well.

If you're stressed, if you're anxious, if you're worried, if you're getting mood swings, all of these things can weigh you down, and that can make you feel extra tired and just totally fed up as well.

My Top Tip

For that one, obviously relaxation every day. I can't say strong enough how important it is to have that little me time to yourself every day. With all the changes that are going on in your body, your body needs that little bit of time, so get half an hour's me time a day, get some good relaxation done.

If necessary, if it's all to do with moods and anxiety, look at some of the calming herbs as well, just to help to take the edge of everything.

3. Poor diet

We've got poor diet, and this is a big one. And it might not necessarily be the fact that you're eating all the wrong things, but we're busy people in this day and age. We can be eating on the run. You might have to just grab a quick sandwich at lunchtime. Not eating enough and, you know, so many of us try to go on diets in the menopause because we're putting weight on, and if you don't eat enough in the menopause, that is going to make you tired and give you fatigue.

My Top Tip

So make sure that you're eating enough. Look at what you're eating as well, because if you get those blood sugar spikes after eating things like high sugar or high salt foods, if you're drinking a lot of caffeine, then that can cause fatigue as well. And remember the water.

So for poor diet, you're looking at adding in lots more vegs if you can, and this need not be a drawn-out affair at night. Frozen vegs, I sometimes find it's great just to put some frozen vegs in a pan and to heat them up. You can have a really quick meal with loads of decent vegs in there as well.

And get plenty of good protein, lean protein. Really important in the menopause as well, some nice healthy grains, and some healthy fats as well. Going on these low fat diets will make you very, very tired, never mind anything else.

4. Nutritional deficiency 

The next one which is sort of joint with the poor diet is nutritional deficiencies. These can make you tired. The changing hormones in the menopause will drain you of energy, as I said before, and your nutritional needs can go sky-high. And it's amazing how many ladies will tell me they're eating a good diet and yet they're still feeling fatigue. And it's just because you need extra at this time, just to help your body to cope.

My Top Tip

So if you're already eating well, if you're drinking plenty of water, and you're watching what you eat, and you're still feeling tired, then look for something like a good female multivit.

Make sure you're getting your iron, your magnesium, your zinc, and your calcium as well. So remember to add those in, too. And have a more varied diet. It's really sensible, the more different foods you eat on a daily basis, the bigger the range of vitamins and minerals that you'll get, so don't fall into the trap of eating the same foods every day because that can be a big part of nutritional deficiency, so just remember that one.

You can look at our Balance Drink, this is a lovely one for fatigue and for tiredness, and that's a great combination of calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D3. I've mentioned water several times already, and I will mention it again.

5. Dehydration

Number five, dehydration will make you tired. Dehydration will give you the fuzzy head so you can't think clearly. It can even cause things like poor muscle function and it is so, so important to get plenty of water every single day.

My Top Tip

So the top tip, plain water, not fizzy water, not flavored waters, especially not with artificial sweeteners in them, and make sure that you are drinking enough.

You need at least one and half litress of plain water over and above whatever else you're drinking, if at all possible. Although, you know, it's not really cheating, the odd cup of pure herbal tea is okay to add in to that as well.

6. Too little or too much exercise

The other thing, number six is exercise. This is a funny one because if you don't do enough exercise, that can make you tired. If you do too much exercise in the menopause, that can make you tired as well.

My Top Tip

So it's striking a balance between getting a little bit of exercise in if you can. If you don't do a lot, then aim for 10 minutes of brisk walking once a day to start with, and it's amazing once you get into the habit of how much better you will feel just doing that short burst of exercise, and a lot of women tell me that once they start that, they then want to go on to do a little bit more because they just feel so much more energised.

For those of you that are doing a lot of exercise, if you are feeling tired, or sore, or miserable after you've done your exercise session, then that's just your body's way of telling you, you have done too much.

If you're already in a state of tiredness and fatigue, and you push yourself with a lot of exercise, you're going to quickly run on empty, so it's really important if you exercise hard in the menopause, that you have a rest day every second day, just to allow your body to catch up. Keep active by all means, but don't push yourself because you can really have a bad crash, and I've seen it happen so many times before.

7. Other health conditions

Now number seven is other health issues. Other health issues can creep into the menopause, make us really tired, make us fatigued and it's not the menopause's fault.

So we're looking at things like low iron, if you have had heavy periods up to the menopause, or you're in the perimenopause, and you're having heavy periods at the moment, then you can quickly get low iron, and that will give you total fatigue.

It could be things like low thyroid function. This is another really common thing that happens in the menopause, and an awful lot of women end up just on the thyroid borderline and that can give you constant tiredness and fatigue as well.

You need to look at other health issues, diabetes can crop up, low vitamin D can give you fatigue a lot of the time, and I know here in the UK it's quite a big epidemic, especially for us up here in Scotland because we've had a very, very long winter so far.

My Top Tip

So if you find that you've tried all the other tips and you're still feeling fatigued, then maybe just go and have a chat with your doctor, and maybe have a look at a few of these tests just to rule them out.

So I hope that's given you a little bit of an insight into tiredness. There are so many other things that can cause tiredness as well, but if you get a rough idea of what's going on, or what maybe causing it, then you can have a good look at your lifestyle, have a good look at your diet, and see if there's anything else that maybe contributing to your tiredness.

If you have any other problems, any other issues, please do get in touch. And I'll see you next week for another edition of A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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