Home Remedies to Overcome PMS Fatigue
How to Overcome Extreme Fatigue During Menstruation
Menstruation is a normal bodily function that occurs every month for women once they reach puberty until they go through menopause. Many women experience fatigue during menstruation — the level of fatigue varies from woman to woman. While there is a tendency to blame fatigue on hormones, there is no data to support this claim, and it is unclear why women feel fatigue during this time. Despite this, you can still treat fatigue by adjusting your diet, making lifestyle changes, and addressing any underlying health problems with your doctor.
Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day.When you eat small meals throughout the day, rather than three large meals each day, you should be able to maintain a high energy level. Going too long without eating can decrease your energy levels, making it important to eat small, healthy snacks between meals.
- When you eat a large meal, your body puts more energy towards digesting the food, which in turn can make you tired.
Eat more protein to boost your energy levels.Proteins help to create enzymes and hormones that keep you from feeling as fatigued. Eating lean proteins can also help to keep your blood sugar levels balanced so that you don’t experience a peak (and subsequent crash) that could heighten your fatigue.Foods that are considered to be good sources of protein include:
- Poultry like chicken, duck, and turkey.
- Lean cuts of beef, ham and pork.
- Seafood like salmon, tuna, trout, and cod.
- Beans, peas, and processed soy products.
- Nuts and seeds like almonds or sunflower seeds.
Eat fewer carbohydrates and sugars.In your everyday diet, avoid eating carbohydrates and sugars and spiking your blood sugar.Researchers have linked the symptoms of PMS with low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Although it would seem that you should eat more sugar and carbohydrates to raise your sugar level, it actually has the opposite effect. Within two hours your sugar level has plummeted again after insulin has metabolized all the glucose in your bloodstream.
- Often times women reach for comfort foods during their periods. Things like mac 'n cheese or a slice of cake may strike you as exactly what you need to help you feel better when you have your period, but it actually works against you by making you feel more tired. Do your best to resist cravings and comfort foods and reach for healthy snacks instead.
- Instead, it is important to eat foods that are high in healthy fats, which will stabilize your blood sugar and protect your heart from heart disease and stroke.
- These are not trans-fats found in baked goods, which are the worst type of fat that you can eat.The baked goods are also high in carbohydrates, which spike your blood sugar.
- Try eating complex carbs (like whole grain bread or a baked potato), a tablespoon of almond butter, low-fat string cheese, an apple or pear, or a handful of nuts when cravings strike.
Prevent anemia.Sometimes a combination of blood loss and poor nutrition can lead to iron deficiency anemia, which contributes significantly to extreme fatigue. Women who have fibroid growths in the uterus, which lead to greater blood loss during menstruation, or those who have poor nutritional habits can experience anemia.
- Iron-rich foods, such as beef, dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and lentils will help prevent anemia from poor nutrition.
- See your physician if changes you make at home do not improve your symptoms or if you believe that your periods have gotten heavier over time. Up to 10% of women under 49 are anemic. Long-term effects of anemia can include negative effects on the heart muscle and increase the risk of cardiac conditions.
Using Lifestyle Changes
Exercise.Exercise will help reduce feelings of fatigue.Although it may seem counterintuitive to expend energy when you feel fatigued, exercise can help reduce many of the symptoms of PMS, including fatigue. Getting regular aerobic exercise 30 minutes four to six times each week will help to balance your hormones, improve your lipid profiles, reduce your risk of heart disease, and improve your overall health.
- Exercise also helps to reduce stress levels and improve the quality of your sleep. Being physically active will reduce cramps and help you manage the psychological effects of PMS as well as boosting your body’s natural production of endorphins, a natural antidepressant.
- Increasing the amount of exercise you get during the premenstrual and menstrual period of time can help promote more deep-sleep stages that are restorative and reduce fatigue.
Lose weight.Obesity is one risk factor for suffering from premenstrual syndrome, including extreme fatigue. One study interviewing over 870 women found that those who had a BMI (Body Mass Index) over 30, which indicates obesity, had a three-fold increased risk of suffering from symptoms of PMS.
- Obesity, although difficult, is a modifiable risk factor. This means that although a challenge, you can reduce your risk by losing weight.
- By following a balanced diet that is high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates, as well as including 30 minutes of exercise, you can lower the risk of fatigue.
Hydrate yourself.Dehydration can cause you to feel fatigued, so you need to keep hydrated. Drink at least 64 ounces (2 liters) of water each day and eat foods that are also high in water content, such as vegetables.
- Although it can seem counterintuitive, the more water you drink, the less water you retain. Water retention and bloating can contribute to your mental and emotional health, which can affect your fatigue.
Drink less alcohol.Avoid alcohol, especially when you are close to your period. Alcohol is a natural depressant, which increases feelings of fatigue.
- Avoid alcohol altogether during premenstrual time periods as your progesterone levels are higher between ovulation and menstruation. These high progesterone levels can exacerbate the effects of alcohol, or make the already depressant effects of alcohol worse, thus increasing your experience of fatigue.
- Test the beverages you would like to include in your diet and chart the effects on your level of fatigue.
Get enough sleep.Get between seven to nine hours of sleep each night.Research has determined that these are the hours needed to reduce fatigue, improve health, and increase productivity.
- However, PMS can cause sleep disturbances which contribute to feelings of fatigue.These sleep issues are related to the fluctuating estrogen levels in the body during menstruation.
- If you have a hard time sleeping when you are premenstrual and menstruating, practice stress reduction strategies to improve the quality of sleep you get.Strategies can include deep breathing exercises, listening to calming music, learning to laugh each day, watching comedy shows, taking a walk outside in the sunshine, and talking with close friends and relatives.
Using Supplements and Medications
Take a multivitamin.Your body requires a balanced diet to support optimal functioning. Unfortunately, most of us don’t eat a diet complete with all of the vitamins and minerals necessary. To make sure you get enough, take a high-quality multivitamin each day to help reduce your overall health risk and support bodily functions.
- Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or nutritionist for recommendations about which brand of vitamin to take. Not all multivitamins are the same, and because they are not regulated by the FDA, you want to make sure you are buying a brand you can trust.
Consider additional supplementation.Multivitamins will help balance your vitamin intake, in order to reduce the effects of fatigue during menstruation. Although you may be taking a multivitamin, it may not meet all your requirements, depending upon your nutritional plan. It can be difficult to ensure you receive enough of all the right vitamins every day.
- 200 mg of magnesium daily has been shown to reduce symptoms of PMS and fluid retention.
- The addition of vitamin B6 with magnesium reduced the severity of symptoms of PMS, including fatigue, in a study performed on over 150 women.
- Take 1200 mg of calcium carbonate each day. In studies of women between 18 and 45 years of age, this dose of calcium carbonate supplement was found to decrease symptoms of PMS, including fatigue.
- In other studies, the use of L-tryptophan was demonstrated to reduce the effects of PMDD, including fatigue, in women.However, L-tryptophan is not used without some risk. Side effects can include blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, head twitching, hives, nausea, sweating and tremors. Do not add l-tryptophan to your treatment regimen or supplementation until you discuss your individual medical condition with your physician.
Take birth control pills.Birth control pills can help reduce the effects of PMS and extreme fatigue by modulating the hormonal levels in your body during your menstrual cycle. Use the pill for three to four months to determine if it will have the effect you desire.
- The pill will also lighten your period, help clear your skin and can reduce your risk of ovarian cancer.
Understanding Menstruation Fatigue
Learn about menstruation.Menstruation is controlled by hormones, which are released from both the pituitary gland and the ovaries. This process prepares the uterus to accept a fertilized egg and grow the child for nine months. Some women can suffer from more symptoms of fatigue and discomfort during the time period immediately prior to and in the first days of menstruation.
Recognize normal menstruation fatigue.Some fatigue during your period is normal so it is important to plan your life around this very normal part of being a woman; however, while some fatigue is normal, extreme fatigue is not. That feeling that you have to take a nap can seem overwhelming. You may not have the energy to go out with friends and your fatigue may interfere with work or your social life.
- These symptoms can be a part of both premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).Note, too, that these are bothpremenstrual, so they should generally be resolved when you actually begin menstruating. If your extreme fatigue continues during menstruation or starts when you begin menstruating, then it is likely caused by something else.
Look for extreme symptoms.If you have a difficult time dragging yourself to work in the week before and during your period, don’t go out with friends or find that you can do nothing more than sit on the couch for three days a month, it’s time to take other measures to address what is now extreme fatigue. Your first step is to determine if the fatigue you experience is related to your menstrual period. This will help you to plan a strategy which can help reduce symptoms and help recognize when it may be necessary to see a physician.
- Other illnesses, such as severe depression, anxiety and seasonal affective disorder can also cause fatigue but are not also related to the timing of your menstrual period.
Track your symptoms.Pay close attention to your symptoms throughout the month. Keep a calendar in which you chart how energetic you feel each day. Use a ranking system of one to 10 to help chart the days of the month you feel fatigued. Also chart your menstrual periods, both ovulation and menstruation.
- This is to help determine if there is a correlation between when you begin to feel fatigued each month and when your menstrual period is starting.
Watch for abnormally heavy periods.If you have abnormally heavy periods or feel that your blood loss has gradually increased over time, you may be suffering from fatigue related to iron deficiency; however, before running out to the pharmacy to get an over-the-counter iron supplement, it is important that you determine you are not losing blood from loss through your stool or any other source of bleeding in your body.
- You and your physician can discuss testing which may be necessary to evaluate your anemia.
Look for signs of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).PMDD is a combination of symptoms related to the menstrual period and the hormones which control this event. The disorder is more severe that Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and will cause greater fatigue and other more severe physical and mental disturbances. You and your doctor will develop a plan to help relieve the symptoms of PMDD, including fatigue, which will include exercise, exercise, and possibly medications.Common symptoms include:
- Lack of interest in daily activities
- Sadness, hopelessness, sometimes thoughts of suicide
- Anxiety and out of control feelings
- Food cravings
- Binge eating
- Mood swings, crying attacks, and irritability
- Bloating, headaches, breast tenderness, muscle pain, and joint pain
- Problems sleeping and concentrating
QuestionIs it normal to be dizzy on my period and feel like every time I stand up, I feel nauseous?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. During your cycle there are a lot of hormonal changes and imbalances you will be facing. As a result, you might be feeling nauseous and dizzy.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the cause of severe pain in the lower abdomen during menstruation?Top AnswererCramps are caused by hormones called prostglandins. Their function is to contract the uterus and allow the endometrium to be expelled from the vagina. Depending on your stress level, how much endometrium built up, and unknown factors, cramps can be mild to severe. If it is severe enough to make painkillers ineffective or interfere with your daily life, that warrants a gynecologist visit.Thanks!
QuestionI only feel tired during the afternoon and on my period and a bit before it. Is this normal?Community AnswerIt is very common for women (and men) to feel tired in the afternoon. This is a normal effect of the sleep/wake cycle (circadian rhythm). This is why tea time is at 4 p.m. Try a little exercise in the afternoon or a cup of tea. Most women feel tired during and a bit before their periods. Exercise and extra rest might help at these times.Thanks!
- Understand that the lifestyle changes you make to reduce fatigue usually must be kept up during the entire month. These changes improve your overall health and are not strictly related to just your menstrual health.
- Although there is some evidence that herbal supplements can help alleviate breast pain and tenderness, mood changes and bloating, thus far there are no herbal supplements that are used specifically to treat the symptoms of extreme fatigue.
- Only two to ten percent of women of the 75% who suffer from PMS will also suffer from PMDD.
Sources and Citations
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