Why Does It Get Worse As We Get Older
When we are younger, we tend not to notice the hormonal transitions happening over the course of the month.
But once our bodies start producing less of hormones like oestrogen and progesterone as we approach the peri-menopause and menopause, our pre-menstrual symptoms are likely to increase, especially those symptoms of fatigue and extreme tiredness.
Interestingly, our PMT symptoms at this stage of life also give us a clue as to what our experience of the menopause might be like.
So its time to take care of ourselves and our hormones now so we can experience a healthier, happier, calmer menopause.
Find out how we can do this by reading my tips below.
No Period Heres How Low Oestrogen And Amenorrhea Can Lead To Injury
In 2019, researchers from St Marys University and FitrWoman studied the responses from over 14,000 female athletes on Strava from around the world. They found that exercise reduced period symptoms in 74% of women and that moderate-intensity exercise like jogging and cycling is most effective at reducing symptoms which is why its not good enough to simply tell women to spend a week doing a little light stretching.
Its high time we were able to make fitness decisions based on what we want to do, not what we have the energy for. With that in mind, how can we get ourselves into a position where we have the energy to actually reap the benefits of exercise during our periods?
For those of us who are anaemic, periods can be a particularly tricky time to exercise. Iron deficiencies can leave you feeling tired at the best of times, but when youre losing blood, it can work to create an overwhelming sense of fatigue. Menstruation lowers the amount of iron in our bodies, explains NHS paediatric dietitian Anjanee Kohli. That can lead to iron deficiency anemia in some, due to the blood loss that comes along with our period and a common symptom of this is tiredness. If you experience extreme fatigue during your period and have an unusually heavy period, this is worth speaking to your GP about. They may recommend getting a blood test done to check your iron levels.
Ways To Fight The Menstrual Fatigue
The tired feeling is all too familiar the week leading up to and during our period. Our hormones are fluctuating, our iron levels are dropping, were even struggling to get a good nights sleep! There are multiple reasons why our energy levels will feel low, and succumbing to our sugar cravings wont help either
Lets find out what causes the PMS fatigue and how we can fight it.
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Extreme Fatigue Before Your Period: Is It Normal
There are many normal factors that affect your energy and alertness. Even occasional exhaustion is normal.
However, if your energy takes a dip around your period, you might be experiencing fatigue due to premenstrual syndrome .
Youre not alone. Many people experience extreme fatigue before their period and mistake it for depression, laziness, or social withdrawal. Dont feel bad for feeling this way youre not alone!
PMS is a real condition that can be overwhelming at times. But there are ways to ease the fatigue.
The first thing you can do for yourself is to take some time away from lifes stressors and try to relax. Try not to feel guilty for not being active. By resting when your body needs it, you are doing a lot for your health and long-term productivity.
You dont have to constantly be active, especially around your period. Taking some time to restore and relax can be just what your body needs to stop fatigue symptoms before or during your period.
Stay Hydrated And Avoid Alcohol
Feeling dehydrated often goes hand in hand with feeling tired. Make sure youre glugging down at least 2 litres of water a day and staying refreshed. Choosing water over sugary drinks or caffeine means you wont have to deal with the crashes or any disturbed sleeps!
Alcohol is a depressant which worsens feelings of tiredness. Try and avoid having that glass of wine with dinner or those after work drinks.
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Which Foods Are High In Antioxidants That Help Cope With Period Fatigue
To fight period fatigue, you should try these antioxidant-rich foods.
- Deeply-coloured fruit, such as blueberries and acai berries
- Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, e.g. mango, carrot and sweet potato
- Leafy green vegetables, including kale and broccoli
- Red-coloured seafood such as salmon and prawns.
It is best that you switch to an anti-inflammatory diet all month instead of reserving it for your period.
As the naturopath Alexandra Preston explains in her book, Infla-Menses, certain inflammatory pathways can make your period heavier by increasing the growth of blood vessels. Your uterine lining is built up over several weeks before finally being broken down during menstruation, so every day counts.
If you want to discover more about inflammation and menstrual problems, you can purchase a copy here:
Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and Damask rose, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, can significantly relieve fatigue during your period by relieving inflammation. This includes mechanisms such as inhibiting the mitochondria-damaging LOX pathway and making your flow lighter by reducing blood vessel growth.
Hunger Before Your Period: You Can Take Action
Many of my patients struggle with intense hunger around their periods, and while each case is different, I often see hormonal imbalance as a common thread.
Know that in most cases, increasing your intake of quality proteins, fats, fruits and vegetables, working on stress management, prioritizing sleep, and moving daily, you can manage your appetite and say goodbye to cravings before your period.
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You Can Get Pregnant During Your Period
Itâs time to squash that age-old myth: Your period doesnât protect you from pregnancy. There are a couple of reasons why. First, some women may bleed when their ovaries release an egg each month, called ovulation, and mistake it for their period. Youâre at your peak fertility when you ovulate. So if you have sex during this time, it could actually make you more likely to get pregnant.
Second, you may ovulate before your period is over or within a few days after the bleeding stops. Since sperm can hang out in your body for up to 3 days, having sex during your period could lead to conception.
Use a condom or other form of birth control to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, no matter what time of the month it is.
Try To Fix Your Sleep Cycle
Fatigue during your period may actually not be about blood cells it might be related to sleep disturbance due to menstrual needs. Professor of obstetrics and gynecology Lauren Streicher explained to YouBeauty that disturbed sleep may be the culprit in many cases of period-related exhaustion. If you’re waking up to take pain-managing medication, change your menstrual protection, or just waking up because you’re in such agony that you can’t stay asleep, it’s a recipe for more tiredness the next day . If that sounds like you, try to minimize the amount of times you get up in the night, by regulating your pain medication to let you sleep through, or getting thicker night-time pads. This may not be possible, of course but if it is, it may help.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Cfs
Chronic fatigue syndrome involves multiple symptoms. The primary symptoms are:
- Lowered ability to do activities that were usual before illness
- Worsening of symptoms after physical or mental activity
- Sleeping issues
- Memory loss or failure to concentrate
- Worsening of symptoms while standing or sitting upright
If you have similar symptoms, track them over time. If they dont go away after six months, make an appointment with your health care provider. They can help you find a way to ease and manage your fatigue.
Turmeric Is Effective At Fighting Period Fatigue
Turmeric, to be specific curcumin, is able to relieve symptoms such as fatigue that appear before and during your period.
Curcumin inhibits many inflammatory pathways, including those controlled by the COX and LOX enzymes.
Aspects of the LOX pathways that curcumin partially blocks can contribute to fatigue during menstruation and all month long by damaging the mitochondria. These are the energy-producing centres of your cells, and a loss of numbers or function leads to fatigue you just cant shake.
A trial on women with PMS found that curcumin supplementation can significantly relieve physical symptoms, from an average score of 41 down to 18.
Is it safe to take turmeric every day?
Yes, it is.
Clinical studies use daily doses of turmeric for weeks or months on end, so it is safe to take every day. For example, a research review included trials where volunteers took turmeric for up to 16 weeks, and it caused fewer side effects than over the counter pharmaceuticals.
To learn more about turmerics benefits, read this article:
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Fatigue During Your Period
It is not uncommon for women to suffer from tiredness during their periods. Although this might not occur every month, it can leave women feeling out of their normal selves and looking for relief. Continue reading to learn more about fatigue during your period, including why it happens, when you should be concerned, and what can be done for optimal energy levels.
Estrogen Dominancefatigue From High Levels Of Estrogen
While estrogen can give you energy, abnormally high levels of estrogen creates a hormonal imbalance. Your bodys estrogen will begin overpowering your bodys progesterone levels. Progesterone is responsible for regulating your period. It also plays a key role in offsetting the negative side effects that estrogen can create. One of theseas you may have guessedis fatigue. When your estrogen levels are much higher than your progesterone levels, this condition is called estrogen dominance.
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Natural Remedies To Help
If feeling overly tired is a common monthly routine for you then it might be time to try out some natural remedies:
- A good iron tonic Many women are at risk of anaemia if they have heavy periods and the recommended daily amount for iron is higher for women than men. Find a good quality iron tonic which will be well absorbed and in a form that is unlikely to cause digestive upset
- Agnus castus Having anaemia contributing to your lack of energy often comes hand in hand with heavy periods and very heavy periods are often a sign you have an oestrogen imbalance! Agnus castus is a licensed herbal remedy which is used to help relieve symptoms of PMS.
Please note, if you are taking hormonal contraceptives such as the pill, hormone-balancing herbal remedies may not be suitable for you.
And What Certainly Isn’t Normal
The pre-period fatigue we just mentioned, should be just that, pre-period. Struggling with energy levels 2 or 3 weeks out of 4 in the month is a sign that your body, hormones and energy production may need some attention.
Other signs of fatigue that youll want to watch out for are:
- Getting a good 8 hours of sleep each night yet struggling to make it through the day.
- Relying on pick-me-ups like coffee, sugary foods or energy drinks for a buzz.
- Your 3pm slump has turned into more of an all day erryday slump.
- Waking up regularly feeling like youve had a night on the tequila, when you were really you were in bed by 9pm, sans liquor.
- Finding it difficult to wake up in the morning, but struggling to fall asleep at night.
- Feeling as though you dont have the energy for even gentle exercise. Heck, just walking upstairs feels like a workout!
The reality is that feeling tired all the time has become so common for many of us that we accept this foggy state as normal. Sure, it may be common. But that doesnt make it normal.
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Try Acupuncture For Period Fatigue
People who experience serious PMS are sometimes recommended regular sessions of acupuncture. Dr. Dweck says she would “absolutely consider to be complementary,” and that she’s seen it help many of her patients before. Studies have shown that acupuncture can successfully treat insomnia, and it’s a therapy known to make you feel more energetic.
Keep An Eye On What You’re Eating Right Before & During Your Period
During the luteal phase, or the week before your period, you might be particularly craving comfort food, since PMS is so uncomfortable. Often, these foods can cause sugar levels to spike, and in turn, make your insulin levels rise â leading to a hard crash later in the afternoon or evening.
“Diet manipulation is a really good way to manage period fatigue,” Dr. Dweck says. She recommends eating small, frequent meals throughout the day, and munch on plenty of protein. A little chunk of dark chocolate when you’re menstruating will never steer you wrong. While there’s a lot of value in choosing comfort food â it’s right in the name! â these adjustments will keep your energy up and help you sleep better.
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Improving Sleep Quality Can Kick Away The Period Fatigue
If you want to kick away period fatigue and improve your energy all month long, the most important thing may be to improve sleep quality.
Inflammation and a fall in some neurotransmitters can make you feel even worse when you arent sleeping well enough, as your baseline energy levels are lower.
Our circadian rhythms, or body clocks, work using a regular 24-hour rhythm. Improving sleep quality to kick away period fatigue involves supporting these rhythms and restoring them to a time more in sync with sunrise and sunset.
Why Do I Get So Fatigued During My Period
Lets be realperiods can be hard to manage at times. The cramps, inconvenience, cravings, and hormonal changes may be overwhelming. When you add fatigue into the mix, the negative effects of every other symptom becomes intensified. But why do you get so fatigued during your period?
Fatiguefeeling overtired or having abnormally low energycan interrupt your work, personal life, relationships, and well being.
In the field of functional medicine, we know that taking the time to understand the underlying source of the problem is the first step towards feeling better. Here are some of the causes of menstrual fatigue and how you can start feeling more like yourself during your period.
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