What is the number one health complaint during the menopausal transition?
Sep 28, 2022
Would you like to know what the most common menopausal signs and symptoms are?
There are so many different signs and symptoms of the menopausal transition, Andrea Donskey from Morphus has so far counted 84 of them, and her list is still growing!!
When I think of the menopausal transition the first health complaint that springs to mind are hot flushes. But in a recent cohort study by Evernow, which included over 100,000 women they put this symptom at number 5, they found that 70% of women in their study struggled with this symptom.
In number 4 they found that 75.7% of the women in their study experienced brain fog. It doesn’t surprise me at all that this one came in the top 5.
At number 3 was weight changes with 78.1% of women experiencing this symptom.
With 78.6% of women experiencing sleep disruptions, this came in at number 2.
The most common symptom of the menopausal transition as found in Evernow’s 100,000 women cohort study was fatigue and low energy. 81.5% of women in the cohort study struggled with fatigue.
(In case you were wondering number 10 was vaginal dryness, number 9 was mood swings, number 8 was anxiety and or depression, number 7 was joint or muscle discomfort, and number 6 was night sweats.)
Fatigue is such a generic symptom. It is very multifactorial and women can have very different underlying triggers for their lack of energy.
When fatigue strikes it's time to consider the role of phospholipids. These make up your cellular membrane. If you don’t have a healthy membrane you can’t have a healthy cell. It’s within your cell that you will find your mitochondria. Mitochondrial dysfunction is a huge cause of fatigue. Think of your mitochondria as your battery within your cells. If they are out of charge so are you.
Nutrient deficiencies are extremely common these days. A few key nutrients for fatigue include your electrolytes, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and iron (please make sure you check ferritin when you check iron). In some cases like iron, both high levels and low levels can contribute to fatigue.
While you are testing please also consider these ones.
- Glucose, insulin, and HbA1C - are all fasting tests. Blood sugar issues are riff during the menopausal transition. If you have a sweet tooth, this is probably something you should consider. But some women have blood sugar issues without having a sweet tooth and stress may be your problem in that case, as stress releases a stress hormone called cortisol and cortisol releases your stored sugar into the bloodstream to provide you with extra energy to escape whatever predator you're running away from but in reality these days our stressors aren’t chasing us. Instead, they are mental and emotional stresses like a missed deadline and not hungry animals.
- Thyroid dysfunction especially hypothyroidism is another major contributor to feeling fatigued.
- Liver issues, there are several reasons why liver dysfunction results in fatigue. The liver is a critical organ responsible for supporting metabolism, immunity, digestion, detoxification, and more. It’s very busy and unfortunately, we do many things to hinder its work. Things like drinking alcohol, eating heavily sprayed foods, breathing in polluted air, or living in a mould filled home. As well as these environmental toxins there are also viral liver infections like hepatitis that could be making us feel slow and sluggish.
- While we are talking about infections. Both acute and chronic infections can make us feel tired. It probably doesn’t surprise you when you are fighting the latest new bug on the block that you will feel tired but not everyone realises that chronic latent infections like Epstein Barr virus, that you might have caught in your younger days are still in your system and can be either behaving by laying dormant or could be causing trouble. Chronic fatigue usually has an underlying viral component.
Here are a few other considerations
- There is a strong link between mental health and fatigue. Stress, anxiety, and depression all have strong ties to feeling fatigued.
- And last but not least is issues with oxygenation and circulation. An example of an oxygenation issue is sleep apnea, here we don’t get a regular continuous amount of oxygen in overnight. This certainly contributes to fatigue and other serious consequences. Poor circulation slows or reduces the amount of oxygenated blood and other nutrients transported via the blood from reaching our cells.
Another finding they discovered was that the transition may actually be closer to a 20-year journey and not a 10-year one as previously thought. So please do not put your head in the sand and try to wait it out if you are suffering. Consider booking a consultation today.