Fatigue is more than just being physically tired from a hard workout or drowsy from a night of poor sleep. Fatigue is a state of constant weariness that will limits your life. You may start using too much caffeine or eating sugary foods for some kind of boost. While fatigue can be exacerbated by allergies and by anemia, hormonal fatigue often impacts women in perimenopause and menopause.
When women are in their childbearing years, they may notice a change in their energy level during the buildup to ovulation. While energy may drop after ovulation, a relatively high level of estrogen prevents hormonal fatigue. As estrogen levels drop, women can experience a loss of muscle strength and elasticity, a lowering of their sex drive and a loss of mental focus.
Women headed into menopause may also suffer from low testosterone. While we tend to think of testosterone as a male hormone, women have it too. Low testosterone can impact your mood, your ability to focus and think, and your tolerance for stress.
It’s been a stressful few years. If the anxiety and uncertainty since 2020 has you struggling to manage life, keep exercising, eat well and keep your weight level, you’re not alone!
How To Manage Hormonal Fatigue
Many sufferers of allergy-related fatigue can get help with a nasal spray, particularly with a short-term steroid dosage. However, those with hormonal fatigue will need to come at the problem from several different directions.
You will want to look at your diet. Each meal should contain a serving of protein to lower the level of ghrelin, or the hunger hormone. Aim for at least 20 grams of protein per meal. Eggs for breakfast, beans with lunch and fish or chicken for dinner can be a wonderful start to helping you feel more full.
As you work on your protein intake, make sure you protect your cut with plenty of fiber. Aim for vegetables as part of at least 2 meals a day and 1 snack. Fresh fruit is also a good source of fiber, but your current dietary choices as you fight the hormonal fatigue need to be low in sugar.
Regular exercise can boost your testosterone production. Make sure you’re walking each day; get out before you shower and before it’s fully dark if you need to split your walking routine into two trips. If going to the gym doesn’t work with your schedule, invest in some resistance bands. One hook in the floor and one in the wall can serve as connection points so you can use the bands for chest press, curls, and even overhead press.
Take a hard look at how you manage stress. It can be very hard to address your stress when you’re self-medicating with caffeine. When you’re exhausted, procrastinating may be hard to stop. When you’re procrastinating, you’ll have people unhappy with you and projects left undone. Being under pressure can increase your cortisol production, which will leave you feeling hungry all the time; when you’re tired and stressed, you seldom reach for the healthy stuff.
For women in perimenopause or menopause, estrogen supplementation can help. However, you will want to work with a practitioner who will give you time to track your adjustment. For example, a very small dosage of estrogen that can be quickly absorbed by your body may have an almost immediate impact to your energy level. Over time, it may also increase your testosterone production as your energy levels come up.
Accessing bio-identical hormonal supplements can reduce the risks that hormone replacement therapy may bring, particularly if you have a family history of illness tied to the reproductive organs. Tracking your dosage, your reaction and your increase in energy over time can help you find relief from hormonal fatigue without using too high a dose.
As your body adjusts to a new level of “normal” hormones, you may find that your cravings change. You may sleep better, exercise harder and skip the middle of the afternoon sugary snack and caffeine bump. If you are interested in managing it by changing your diet and exercise routine, go ahead and start but do track your intake and your results before you start using bio-identical hormone replacement. Ready to get started? Call us today at 205-352-9141.