• Monica Bell

Can Hormones Help With Fatigue?

Everyone experiences fatigue. But how do you know fatigue is something to be worried about? When your energy level is consistently low and the fatigue you feel is inconsistent with your usual ebb and flow, it is time to look closer at the cause. Hormonal fluctuations and imbalance can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health. A 2017 study found that fatigue was the most frequent symptom experienced by perimenopausal and menopausal women. Hormone replacement can help.

 

Common Causes of Fatigue


The first step in addressing fatigue is to have a complete medical evaluation to rule out any obvious problems like anemia, hypothyroidism, diabetes, dehydration, or heart disease. Once you have done that, here are the other most common causes of fatigue:


Not Enough Sleep


If you are going through perimenopause or menopause, you probably have hot flashes, sweats, and a plummeting progesterone level, all of which make it very difficult to get good sleep. Also, evaluate your sleep hygiene to see what you can improve upon. Poor sleep is the number one cause of fatigue for the vast majority of people.


Sleep Apnea


You may think you are getting adequate sleep but feel fatigued during the day. There are higher levels of estrogen and progesterone before menopause. These hormones maintain your airway and keep it from collapsing. However, as these levels decline during perimenopause and drop to their lowest levels during menopause, the incidence of sleep apnea increases. According to VeryWell Health, “The prevalence of sleep apnea was lowest in pre-menopausal women at 0.6%, intermediate in those post-menopausal women on hormone replacement therapy (1.1%), and highest in post-menopausal women not on hormone replacement at 5.5%.”


Depression


Depression, anxiety, and fluctuating moods can be exhausting. It is essential to get a proper assessment because clinical depression wrecks havoc on people’s lives and relationships, and there are many causes. Hormones could be one of them. The fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone during and after menopause can cause feelings of anxiety or depression. Some women develop a panic disorder during menopause. And, poor sleep can make you up to 10 times more likely to become depressed.


Low Self Esteem and Libido


Low self-esteem and libido can result from cascading emotional and physical events during perimenopause and menopause—loss of interest in sex and not feeling attractive or confident causes low self-esteem.

 

How Can Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Help with Fatigue?


At Optimal Hormone Health, we do a complete assessment of your current hormone levels by drawing labs, getting a full medical history, and assessing risk. We use bioidentical hormone replacement to fit your individual needs. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) remains the gold standard of treatment for menopausal symptoms since it directly addresses the root cause: changing hormone levels. HRT may effectively treat fatigue and the symptoms that can exacerbate it. In several studies, progesterone therapy positively affects insomnia in peri- and postmenopausal women. Let’s look at other ways hormone replacement can help with fatigue.


Estrogen


Estrogen replacement is considered the most effective treatment for symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes that disrupt sleep. Decreased estrogen also causes irritability and mood swings. Replacing estrogen can restore sleep, stabilize mood, increase concentration and memory and improve energy.


Progesterone


Progesterone is known as mother nature’s valium because it provides calmness and relaxation. Progesterone is also classified as a neurosteroid because it stimulates normal brain processes and helps the nervous system function properly. It reduces anxiety and promotes memory. Bottom line: progesterone will help you sleep well at night so you wake up refreshed. Oh, and progesterone also helps with libido.


Testosterone


By the time a woman reaches the age of 40, her testosterone has decreased by half. Low testosterone causes fatigue, muscle weakness, low libido, and depression. Some women are incorrectly diagnosed with clinical depression when the problem is low testosterone and estrogen. Testosterone replacement improves sex drive, muscle mass, bone density, and energy.


Thyroid


Your thyroid is a very complicated and crucial little gland that affects your metabolism by telling your body how much energy to use. 1 out of every 5 women over the age of 65 has a higher than normal TSH level (indicating hypothyroidism). The incidence of hypothyroidism is probably much higher than that due to missed diagnosis. Hypothyroidism causes fatigue, depression, brain fog, and weight gain. Restoring your thyroid to normal levels can have a significant impact on your energy levels.

 

Hormones and Fatigue


Fighting fatigue takes a multi-pronged approach. If you are in perimenopause or menopause, start by restoring your hormones to their optimal levels. Meanwhile, you can’t forget the other health pillars that give you energy and a zest for life. These include regular exercise, a plant-based diet, and stress management. Put it all together for renewed optimism, energy, and well-being.


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