Crashing fatigue

crash fatigueToday I am writing about extreme fatigue during menopause because I am experiencing it right now and it is horrible.  Women often will experience extreme lethargy or fatigue just out of the blue on any given day with no warning.  This actually takes place more often in pre menopause or peri-menopause as the body is trying to get used to its new chemistry created by the changing hormone levels.  There is actually a specific term for this extreme fatigue and it has been labeled by many researchers as “crashing fatigue”.  This is by no means an actual medical term, but there is a lot of literature out there that uses this exact terminology. Typically, crashing fatigue is defined as sudden and overwhelming feelings of weakness, exhaustion and reduced energy level, which can strike at any moment of the day and is not linked to recent physical exertion.  Often times crashing fatigue will strike right before the menstrual period for those women who are still in peri-menopause and are still having somewhat regular periods.

Crashing fatigue can be so debilitating that some women are unable to function with their daily routines, some cannot even get out of bed in the morning.  Crashing fatigue should not be confused with chronic fatigue syndrome, which is a totally different diagnosis. Crashing fatigue can be both physically based and psychologically based, and the two can intertwine.  The changing hormone levels cause many disturbances that throw the body out of whack.  Particularly when sleep is affected, it then of course makes sense that fatigue follows.  Therein lies the physical component to crashing fatigue.  Then there is the psychological portion wherein a woman is dealing with anxiety, emotional stress or generally overdoing things just to keep up with life that has gotten out of control due to other menopause symptoms and issues.  Unfortunately, psychologically caused crashing fatigue can lead women to feeling less emotionally stable which can then aggravate other symptoms. Fortunately, crashing fatigue may only be temporary and can be managed with many supplements and mainly lifestyle changes and in extreme cases with hormone replacement therapy (HRT).  Refer to the section on survival tips for detailed information.

4 Responses to Crashing fatigue

  1. Ang July 10, 2015 at 11:15 pm #

    I finally found information on what I believe I’m suffering from. I have had this ‘crashing fatigue’ for about 7years – right after I had a partial hysterectomy. Except my symptoms also include headaches, stomachaches, nausea, hot/cold spells, and dizziness. My symptoms usually start late at night and continue into the next day. I am debilitated to the point I can’t get out of bed. The symptoms would not subside until late in the day around 5:30. But now they’re continuing into the next day – so getting worse. When I get up the next day I feel like I’ve been hit by a transport truck cause my whole body aches & I’m exhausted. At first I thought they were migraines then panic/anxiety attacks then I found this website and everything I read was exactly what was happening to me. I’m on hormone replacement therapy and seeing a naturopath but so far nothing has stopped these episodes. I am very concerned about what they are doing to my mind and body. Does anyone else have the headaches, stomach/headaches, nausea I’ve described above. Does anyone have any suggestions/advice as to how to stop these episodes. Please let me know.
    Thank you.

    • TigerLyn August 11, 2015 at 2:28 am #

      Ang, I’m suffering from the same symptoms you are….crashing fatigue, weakness, water retension, migraines, hot and cold, bouts of depression, the feeling of pressure in my head…and more symptoms than I can list. I’ll have a few good days then I crash! I feel like I’m made of lead. I don’t have the energy to shower or brush my teeth. I feel like I can’t relax nor can I sleep. I’ve gone as long as 9 nights without sleep. I’m just starting to look into all the possible causes and treatment. I just turned 52. On top of all of these symptoms, I have a severe back injury and have had three back surgeries so I’m constantly in pain. I don’t know the exact causes or causes…I know my pain contributes to a lot of these symptoms but I also have to deal with the pain. You’re not alone in what you’re feeling. I hope we can find the answer and proper treatment. I’ve tried hormone replacement therapy but it made it worse! Hope we can find help. Lyn

  2. KT September 21, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    I also feel both of your pain. I am in surgically induced menopause and I’m only 35. I had a complete hysterectomy at 23 because my reproductive system was glued together from ovarian cysts and endometriosis. I have to stay on HRT the rest of my life because of how dangerous it is for my body to be in menopause at such a young age, but when my hormone levels drop, I get all the symptoms you describe above. I get migraines, nausea, occasional vomiting, hot flashes, depression, weepiness, sweats, achiness, weakness, water retention, but then the hormones adjust and I pee nonstop. I just received my HRT, but it takes 2 to 3 weeks for my body to absorb the meds so I’m currently in the “crashing fatigue” state. As I type this I can barely keep my eyes open, but I have no choice but to continue to fight though it because people see my age and think you should not be tired, but they have no idea what I’m going through.
    I receive estrogen pellets, which are bio-identical hormones that are inserted under the skin in your abdomen and the pellets release over time. It lasts 4-5 months. Unfortunately, it is not FDA approved, so it costs me $240 each insertion, but here’s the crazy part, the testosterone pellets used in men are FDA approved. (conspiracy? lol) The controversy according to the FDA is that the pellets are too hard to control, but apparently they can control the testosterone pellets just fine. As long as your doctor knows what he’s doing they are completely safe. They keep my hormones levels constant and steady. I feel fabulous and “normal” until I’m due for them again and that is when I start feeling the symptoms above, but those only last one to two weeks. I recommend the pellets if you are miserable. They are much safer than other HRT because they do not filter through the liver, but absorb through your blood stream. I’ll be thinking of you ladies. Good luck.

  3. Fpc99 September 28, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    Hi. Thank you so much for putting a name to this.

    I am 51, and get this during the 3-4 days before my (increasingly slight) periods. I’ve had an iud for the last 5 years, so have become accustomed to very light periods. I also had virtually no PMS for 4 years. About 6 months ago things changed.
    Now I am in bed for the 3-4 days leading up to my period with crashing fatigue, massive headache, aches and chills. The first couple times I thought it was the flu. Now it’s happening twice a month.
    In hindsight it makes total sense that it is Menopause. The M word never came up at the doctors office.

    In addition to the article, thank you ladies for sharing your stories. No one else seemed to understand what I was talking about.

    I have found that healing massage and Acupressure help. Last week I went to bed Thursday. By Saturday I was still unable to move. My husband drove me to an acupressure clinic where I described what I was feeling. I won’t say I was dancing after the hour, but I was able to sit up and eat some dinner. The next day I felt considerably better. It has usually taken till Monday.

    Hoping this will help someone.

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