Menopause Fatigue - Causes and Natural Treatments

Menopause fatigue is most often related to hormone imbalance and poor diet. Weak adrenal gland function, low thyroid hormone, and the work your liver and other body systems are doing during this transformational time can all be causes of fatigue. All of these conditions can be enhanced or made worse by the foods you eat and don't eat.

Before menopause and premenopause, your ovaries make your female hormones, the estrogens and progesterone. When you enter premenopause, the ovaries begin to make less and less, until eventually they stop making these hormones altogether.

Your adrenal glands begin to take over production of these hormones. If you are under a lot of stress, or have been under long-term stress (and who hasn't in America today?), your adrenal glands are not up to the task. They need a break, not more work to do. Since they are performing sub-optimally, you will have the typical menopause symptoms - hot flashes, insomnia, etc.

Symptoms of weak adrenal function include morning fatigue, needing caffeine, sugary or salty foods to keep going, feeling run down and stressed, or feeling tired for no reason.

Many women have low thyroid hormone as they approach menopause. Common symptoms of low thyroid are excess weight, fatigue that doesn't go away, sensitivity to cold with cold hands and feet, dry skin, depression, mental confusion, and many many more.

Estrogen dominance, common in many women even before menopause, is due to falling progesterone levels in premenopause and zenoestrogens in the environment. Estrogen dominance can interfere with thyroid hormone. Symptoms of estrogen dominance include bloating; water retention; breast tenderness; fat gain, especially around stomach, hips and thighs; insomnia; PMS; zinc and magnesium deficiency, and more.

Your liver has to work very hard during this time, breaking down excess hormones like follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which rises in perimenopause. If your liver is overworked, it won't be able to fully detoxify and build your body. This will cause fatigue.

Other causes of menopause fatigue include insomnia or being woken up by hot flashes or night sweats, new food intolerances that show up at premenopause, and poor diet.

Strategies for Reducing Menopause Fatigue

Find out whether you have weak adrenal or thyroid function by getting tested. You can also test your levels of estrogen and progesterone. There are bioidentical hormones for balancing your estrogen and progesterone levels. If you have low thyroid, you may need medication.

Adrenal health can be greatly supported by a good diet and supplementation. You must give up your stimulants! Coffee and other drinks containing caffeine, chocolate and sugar. See the general dietary suggestions below. Vitamins A, C, D and the B vitamins are critical. Herbs that can help include Siberian ginseng, ashwaganda and licorice.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good diet to improve menopause fatigue. Get plenty of good quality proteins and healthy fats. Avoid trans fats, caffeine and refined sugar and flour products. If you suspect you have food intolerances, avoid those foods. Digestion takes an enormous amount of energy, and if you have to digest substances your body doesn't want or need, the impact on your energy level is something you have to experience to believe.

Supplement with whole food vitamins; high vitamin cod liver oil, rich in vitamins A and D, and essential fatty acids; and nutritional yeast that has been processed at low temperatures. Nutritional yeast is full of B vitamins and can help with sugar and alcohol cravings.

Eating well, using high quality food based supplements, and avoiding foods and drinks that are not health-supportive will give your body the raw materials it needs to help you sleep, build your hormones, regenerate your digestive system and give you bountiful amounts of energy and well-being.

For more information, see menopause fatigue ( More about herbal and other remedies at Natural Approaches to Menopause ( Candice Hughes studied herbal medicine at the Pacific School of Herbal Medicine

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