Fatigue and the Menopause

One of the common symptoms of menopause is a feeling of exhaustion and fatigue – mental and physical. This blog post looks at the causes of fatigue and provides you with tips to combat fatigue and bring back your energy. I will share my experience of using Homeopathic remedies to help fatigue at the period of Change.

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Menopause fatigue can be mental and physical

During menopause and perimenopause, many women may experience an on-going and persistent lack of energy and feelings of tiredness and weakness. You may be surprised to find yourself feeling exhausted in an unexplainable way. The signs of menopausal fatigue include decreased wakefulness, lowered attention span, mental fuzziness, irritability and memory lapses. You may find that you are lacking your usual zest for life.

What causes the menopausal fatigue?

The main cause of menopausal fatigue is the change in hormone levels. Oestrogen, progesterone, thyroid and adrenal hormones are all involved in regulating cellular energy in the body which when compromised can lead to fatigue.

Physical menopausal symptoms like night sweats and insomnia contribute to fatigue. Many women find themselves suffering from a chronic lack of sleep and this is a contributory factor in fatigue during the day. Fatigue exacerbates menopausal symptoms such as anxiety, poor concentration, and a lack of confidence. You can easily find yourself in a vicious circle.

Braking the cycle of fatigue. Steps to try.

  • Don’t over-exercise

Fatigue can be greatly helped by doing gentle exercise, ideally 30 minutes every day, but you can increase fatigue by over-exercising. Regular gentle exercise, such as walking, swimming, cycling and yoga, can be very beneficial during the menopause to balance a wide range of symptoms. Remember – over-exercise can be counter-productive. I find walking in the fresh air, is a great energy boost and I often come back home with a fresh perspective. If you have a dog you’ll know all about this. Yoga or pilates can be good as well, ideal you can rotate between a few different form of exercising. It all depends on your preferences.

  • Cut down on stimulants like coffee and alcohol 

In addition to changing hormone levels and poor sleep patterns, menopausal fatigue can be caused by factors such as low iron levels, stress, too much work, food allergies, and other nutritional deficiencies. Your adrenal system is working hard to re-balance hormones during menopause, therefore it is important not to put your adrenal glands under additional pressure. So try to reduce stress, and cut down on stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and cigarettes. Be aware that black tea, green tea, other caffeinated drinks as well as oranges and cheese are stimulating the adrenals and have to be avoided.

  • Take a power nap 

Many women find it very helpful to have a short 20-30 minutes nap during the day to reduce fatigue. Jump into bed, set an alarm and snooze. If you work in an office, and if it is possible, find a quiet place during your lunch break and close your eyes. A power nap is an essential tool to revitalize our bodies and mind. A 15-20 minute meditation will create the same impact. Some people use apps like 1Giant Mind’s App for a reboot.

  • Breathe at your desk

If this snoozing or meditation is not possible for you, find your favourite way to relax. If, for example, you’re at a desk all day, carry out a regular breathing exercise.  Close your eyes, breathe in deeply and slowly to the count of 4, and then breathe out slowly to the count of 6. Do this 10 times each hour. Each exercise will only take 15 seconds, but the impact will be huge. 

  • Fresh air

Make sure to get out into the fresh air every day at lunchtime and during other breaks – hail, rain or shine. In fact, sometimes bad weather is the most exhilarating if you can push yourself out the door.

  • Find things that boost YOUR energy

One thing that’s very evident at menopause is that we all have different experiences, see what appeals to you. Some women love art and craft and find them relaxing others would rather de-clutter a drawer or go dancing. Take a moment and think about what boosts your energy. Maybe try something new. Is there anything you always wanted to learn but never had time? Like a pottery class or Latin dancing? Consider taking up mindfulness, or yoga? These practices can help rest the mind, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and produce feelings of deep relaxation which can be drawn on during busy or stressful times. Don’t overstretch yourself with commitments and people or situations that drain your energy. You may need to learn to say No!

  • Use herbal or nutritional support

Many women find that they are deficient in certain key vitamins at menopause. For example, B Vitamins are vital to ensuring that you have adequate energy. Magnesium can help sleep – either take a supplement or use a spray oil before going to bed. It’s best to consult an expert nutritionist or herbalist who can advise on your needs and potential deficiencies at midlife. Many of us are depleted by the time we get to our late 40s. Avoid caffeine as much as possible – especially after lunch. Chamomile tea or other herbal teas of your choice are a great alternative. Siberian Ginseng or Adrenal Support help to give them more energy and aid in rebalancing hormones. 

  • Check you Thyroid function

Often at the period of perimenopause the thyroid function may decline as well. The main symptoms of hypothyroidism are fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, low temperature. For a peace of mind get your thyroid function checked by your GP if you have the symptoms mentioned above. Homeopathic remedies can be used to help balance the thyroid function.

Homeopathic remedies for fatigue at menopause

Lachesis

Lachesis is an important remedy during the menopause and is indicated for in women who have never felt well since the onset of menopause. Other menopausal symptoms of the remedy are:

  • Haemorrhages
  • Fainting
  • Weakness
  • Melancholy
  • Periods every twenty-one days
  • Periods profuse
  • Generally worse before menses, and pains and mood better once the flow starts
  • Hot flushes, with headaches, palpitations and hot sweats
  • Headaches, especially in the vertex, with burning sensations
  • Some nausea, diarrhea or haemorrhoids

The left ovary can also be painful and swollen, and there may be prolapsed uterus. Women may be asthmatic since reaching the menopause. They generally feel worse in the mornings, can’t stand the heat and are hypersensitive to any tight clothing at the neck or waist.

Sepia

Women who need this remedy:

  • Are worn down
  • Exhausted
  • Weepy
  • Weak
  • Perspire profusely
  • Need air
  • Must sit down and cross their legs, as they feel their insides will fall out
  • Are so worn out they can appear indifferent to their loved ones

Sepia has a sharp tongue, and almost take pleasure from hurting loved ones. This is not because they don’t love their family; it’s because they are just worn out and exhausted and have nothing more to give to anyone. A woman who was formerly warm and loving is now saying ‘I don’t have any emotions’; sometimes she will say she can’t even remember the sensation or feeling of happiness or joy. She can feel she must hold on to something to prevent herself from screaming. She can have dullness of mind; feel stupid and absent-minded, with no initiative.

Physically, during the menopause, she may have a dry vagina, pain on intercourse, and lack the desire or aversion to sex. She may have flooding during periods, sudden flushes of heat, weakness, perspiration and a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. In general, she feels better from activity, especially in the open air, and better for warmth and from eating. She also feels better after sleep, even a short nap (this is the opposite of Lachesis). She generally feels worse in the evenings.

Sulphuric Acid

This is another very useful remedy during menopause. Like all the acids, weakness and debility are common to this remedy, especially in the digestive tract, giving a very relaxed feeling to the stomach, and a craving for stimulants. They feel a weakenss out of all propotion to the problem. It affects the blood and blood vessels, causing haemorrhages of thin, black blood. Other symptoms of this remedy are:

  • Prolapse of vagina and uterus from weakness
  • Flushes of heat, followed by sweating and a trembling all over
  • Irritability
  • Weepiness over the slightest thing

They can have nightmares before or after periods. They must do everything in a hurry. They get angry and impatient because things move so slowly. No one does anything to please them.

Folliculinum

Folliculinum is a very useful remedy for women with hormonal symptoms who may have used the Pill, and also useful for symptoms during the menopause.There will often be a history of abuse, sexual, physical or psychological. The woman may have had a very strict upbringing. She can be unfocused, feel ‘spaced’ and may totally lose herself in her relationships.

Assilem expands on the symptoms: ‘She becomes addicted to rescuing people. She feels drained. She has become a door-mat. She has forgotten who she is, she has no individuality.’

Folliculinum can help restore the will and re-empower the person. It is generally seen after this remedy that the person takes control of her life again, finds her own identity, becomes her own rescuer and won’t allow herself to be used ever again. It allows people to break the patterns from the past that they find hard to change. It helps to restore clarity.

Possible physical symptoms of Folliculinum during menopause:

  • Restless, hyperactive, worse at rest
  • Dizziness and faintness
  • Puts on weight without overeating
  • Huge food cravings, especially for sugar, sweets
  • Cycle irregularities
  • Flooding
  • Hot flushes, night sweats
  • Abdominal heaviness
  • Fibroids
  • Vaginal dryness

Calcium Carbonicum

Calcium carbonicum (Calc. carb.) is a very useful remedy during the menopause. The typical Calc. carb. woman is responsible, dutiful and hard-working. She can take on too many responsibilities and become overwhelmed by them. Mentally, she can be tired and unable to hold onto thoughts or details, and then she feels that she is going mad and worries that other people will realize it. She has always worried about what others think of her and even more so now. She has a strong focus on security, with lots of anxieties around money and health. When she is ill, she can despair of ever recovering her health.

You can imagine a Calc. carb. woman if she develops troublesome symptoms during the menopause. She will worry about her health; she can think she will never feel ‘normal’ again. She will worry about her family; her children and her husband should anything happen to her. She will be anxious about the future.

Some physical menopausal symptoms experienced by women who need Calc. carb. are:

  • Hot flushes, with burning sensations in the vertex
  • Head and neck wet with perspirations, worse during sleep
  • Metrorrhagia and uterine fibroids, sometimes with marked uterine haemorrhages.

Pulsatilla

Pulsatilla is a very important remedy for women’s complaints and is often of use during the menopause. The woman needing this remedy is of a gentle, mild disposition. She is emotional and easily moved to laughter or tears. Her moods are changeable; she can cry at every little thing and loves to be comforted. She can also be easily irritated and has a tendency to feel slighted, or be fearful of being slighted. In general, she feels better in the fresh air and feels worse in a warm, stuffy room and in the evenings.

Physical problems include irregular menstruation, whether it is too early or too late, too scanty or too profuse. The menses can be painful enough to cause nausea or vomiting, and bending double can help the pains. An unusual symptom for Pulsatilla is that the bleeding can happen during the day only. She can have difficulty sleeping because of hot flushes and anxious thoughts, and her legs can be very restless at night.

More about other homeopathic remedies for fatigue you can read here.

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Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of your physician or health care provider.

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