Crashing fatigue is a term used to describe extreme exhaustion. It’s a symptom typically experienced by women between the ages of 35 and 55.
It’s not the same as normal fatigue. In crashing fatigue, energy levels are extremely low- leading to memory lapses, drowsiness, and more.
Doctors believe that this is due to menopause. During menopause, women go through various hormonal imbalances, each of which can lead to tiredness.
In this article, we’ll talk about what causes this symptom, as well as what you can do to alleviate it.
Crashing Fatigue: Overview
The sudden and overwhelming feeling of tiredness and lethargy is known as crashing fatigue.
It can strike anywhere and at any time. When it happens, you may feel the sudden urge to fall asleep.
If you’re at home, then it’s easy to just fall asleep. But if you’re at work, then it’s not so easy.
The worst part about this condition is that it can strike at any time. Due to its unpredictable nature, it can wreak havoc on your life if left unchecked.
Symptoms of Crashing Fatigue
You may experience one or more of the following symptoms with crashing fatigue:
- Muscle Weakness
- Sudden Tiredness After Eating
- Concentration Problems
- Reduced Attention
- Reduced Wakefulness
As you can see, they involve a mix of physical and psychological problems.
Women who experience this symptom will have difficulty finishing simple daily tasks.
Not only can this negatively affect their professional relationships, but it can also ruin their personal life.
The severity and frequency of crashing fatigue symptoms will vary from woman to woman.
What Causes Crashing Fatigue?
The most likely cause of crashing fatigue is a hormonal imbalance caused by menopause. During menopause, hormone levels peak and crash at random times.
This can leave you feeling irritable, stressed, and tired. Additional causes include:
- Poor Diet: If your diet consists of a lot of junk food, and not enough vitamins and nutrients, then you could be at a greater risk.
- Stress: Stress leads to increased cortisol levels in the body. Prolonged periods of elevated cortisol levels can make you feel exhausted.
- Lack of Exercise: You should be exercising a minimum of 5 hours per week. A sedentary lifestyle hurts all areas of health.
When you exercise, eat right, and control your stress, you help stabilize your hormone levels. This can make living with crashing fatigue more manageable.
Many women describe the condition as a “sudden, overwhelming, and deep exhaustion that affects the mind and body”.
The worst part is that most women still feel tired after sleeping.
The Role of Estrogen in Crashing Fatigue
During menopause, one of the key hormones that goes “out of whack” is estrogen.
This hormone acts on cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland.
When estrogen levels decrease during menopause, it allows cortisol levels to skyrocket out of control.
This leads to more frequent and prominent bouts of stress and fatigue.
Estrogen also has a calming effect, which explains why menopausal women are most at risk of getting crashing fatigue.
What is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance is a condition in which the balance of progesterone and estrogen isn’t where it should be.
Specifically, progesterone levels decrease, which can lead to crashing fatigue.
Why does this happen? Because the progesterone goes to the body’s adrenal glands to aid in cortisol production.
Over time, this can lead to adrenal exhaustion. The only way to know if you have estrogen dominance is to get a blood test.
How to Treat Crashing Fatigue
While there’s no “cure” for crashing fatigue, there are ways to reduce its affects. Here are some treatment options to try out:
- Get Tested: First and foremost, you should get your hormone levels tested. You can’t fix the problem if you don’t know what’s causing it.
- Get Enough Vitamins: Make sure that you’re getting enough magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins since these can help restore adrenal function.
- Exercise Daily: Getting exercise daily (running, yoga, etc.) can reduce your stress levels as well as help you sleep better.
- Go Plant-Based: More and more research is showing the potential of a plant-based diet in women with menopause.
Additional things that you can do are reduce your fat, refined sugar, and caffeine intake. Stay hydrated and avoid staying up late.
These solutions combined should make the symptoms of crashing fatigue more manageable (your symptoms might disappear altogether).
Remember that dairy products like milk, butter, and cheese wreak havoc on hormone levels.
Specifically, milk has been known to make estrogen levels in the body fluctuate to strange levels.
Consider cutting down on your dairy intake. If you can eliminate it from your diet completely, that’s even better.