Can Menopause Make You Tired?

Menopause occurs when a female's menstrual cycle (period) permanently stops for 12 consecutive months. While menopause is different for all women, it can cause fatigue or extreme tiredness. Factors such as caregiving, high stress, or illness can put menopausal women at higher risk for fatigue.

This article reviews the causes of fatigue, symptoms of menopause, and how women can boost energy levels.

Language Considerations

The words “female” and "women" are used here to refer to people who identify as women and have typical reproductive organs of a cisgender female. We recognize that some people who identify as women do not have the same anatomy as that depicted in this article.

Woman with stomach ache lying on the sofa

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What Is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause, the time leading up to menopause, usually begins when a woman is in her 40s or 50s. During this transition, you might skip your period or experience irregular, heavier, or lighter cycles. It can take two to eight years for your period to permanently stop for 12 consecutive months.

What Is Menopause Fatigue?

Women with menopause fatigue experience exhaustion or extreme tiredness that continues after rest. It depletes their energy, motivation, and concentration. For some women, it is debilitating and keeps them from their daily activities.

Causes

During perimenopause and menopause, hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, thyroid, and adrenal gland hormones fluctuate. When they are imbalanced it affects how the body regulates energy and can cause fatigue. In addition, many women experience sleep disorders, hot flashes, and night sweats which can keep them up at night.

Signs

Women sometimes feel like they have an illness because the fatigue from menopause completely wears them down and persists even after a good night's rest. Other symptoms that accompany menopausal fatigue include:

  • Brain fog and forgetfulness 
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Emotional stress 
  • Lack of enthusiasm

Risk Factors

The following are factors that increase the risk for menopausal fatigue:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems such as sleep apnea
  • Lack of support
  • Caregiving
  • Poor nutrition
  • Anemia
  • Illness or infection
  • High blood pressure
  • Substance misuse

Menopause Timing

Menopause is typically a natural part of a woman’s life. Sometimes it is brought on by surgery, medical treatments, or diseases. The timing and symptoms vary for each woman. 

Other Menopause Symptoms

Decreased production of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can cause menopause symptoms, including:

Energy-Boosting Tips

There are various methods you can use to help boost your energy levels. These include:

  • Exercise: Exercise generally increases energy levels. Being physically active during the day can help you sleep better at night. It also has many other health benefits and can help build confidence. 
  • Hydrate: Low hormone levels make it more difficult for the body to replenish fluids. This can cause dehydration that leads to fatigue. Drinking water helps your body replace fluid it loses throughout the day.
  • Sleep aids: Some people take over-the-counter sleep aids such as melatonin or passionflower to help them rest. For severe insomnia, your healthcare provider may choose to prescribe medications to help you sleep.
  • Avoid eating late or having caffeine too late in the day: Both of these practices can interrupt sleep. Caffeine can be found in some teas, coffees, chocolate, and soda.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption: While alcohol may make it easier to fall asleep, the effect wears off during the night, and it may be difficult to fall back asleep. Alcohol also triggers hot flashes and is dehydrating. It’s best to keep alcohol consumption mild and avoid it later in the evening. 
  • Medications: Depending on your medical history, your healthcare provider may want to prescribe hormone replacement therapy or other medications to help alleviate menopausal fatigue.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of talk therapy that uses a problem-solving approach to help improve sleep. Look for a trained mental health professional with experience working with women during menopause.
  • Alternative therapies: There are no scientific studies to prove that alternative methods reduce menopause symptoms. However, meditation, yoga, and relaxation techniques are safe methods to help with stress and fatigue. 

Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene

Strong sleep hygiene involves steps you can take to get better rest and includes: 

  • A consistent sleep schedule: This means beginning your nighttime routine, going to bed, and waking up around the same time each day. 
  • A relaxing bedtime routine: Bedtime routines include a bath or shower, unwinding, relaxation techniques, and unplugging from electronics.
  • Keeping your bedroom comfortable: Most people sleep better when they keep their bedroom temperature cool with an air conditioner or a fan. It is also helpful to wear lightweight fabrics and have comfortable bedding.
  • Decrease or block out the light: Decrease the lighting from electronics in your room. Heavy curtains or a sleep mask can also help block out light.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While menopause is a natural part of life, the symptoms should not be so severe that they interfere with any of the following:

  • Ability to work 
  • Daily activities
  • Interactions with your family

For severe menopause symptoms not resolved through rest or lifestyle changes, it’s best to make an appointment with your healthcare provider. It’s also a good idea to see your provider yearly to review your overall health.

Summary

Menopause typically occurs in a woman’s 40s or 50s and is different for every person. During this time, hormones fluctuate and can cause symptoms such as hot flashes, anxiety, or fatigue. Women with other stressors or illnesses are at a higher risk for menopause fatigue. Lifestyle changes such as exercise, hydration, and sleep hygiene may help boost energy levels.

A Word From Verywell

Experiencing the limitations that menopausal fatigue can place on your life can be frustrating. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider about severe symptoms, including over tiredness or exhaustion. They may want to rule out other causes or prescribe medications to help you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What age does menopause start?

    Perimenopause usually begins when a woman is in her 40s or 50s, with the average age of menopause being 52 years old. 

  • How long does menopause last?

    The transition from perimenopause to menopause can take two to eight years. You will know you’ve reached menopause when you stop having periods for 12 months in a row. Hot flashes can last four to 10 years after menopause.

  • What happens during menopause?

    During perimenopause (the time leading up to menopause) hormone levels drop. Your periods may become irregular, heavier, or lighter. You may occasionally skip periods until they stop completely. You might have symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia, and fatigue. 

15 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  7. The North American Menopause Society. Perimenopause & premature menopause FAQs.

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  10. Harvard Medical School Health Publishing. Fight fatigue with fluids.

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By Brandi Jones, MSN-ED RN-BC
Brandi is a nurse and the owner of Brandi Jones LLC. She specializes in health and wellness writing including blogs, articles, and education.