There is no getting away from the fact that modern life is extremely tiring, especially for women, many of whom are often expected to work full time as well as do the lion’s share of the housework and childcare. But apart from the obvious culprits, what causes fatigue in women?
For most people, solving a fatigue problem is simply a matter of taking a few early nights to catch up on sleep, but unexplained fatigue in women that lasts longer than a week usually requires further exploration in order to rule out any more serious underlying health problems.
What causes fatigue in women?
Anemia is a very common reason for unexplained fatigue. Anemia is caused by an iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12 deficiency. Anemia can also be caused by heavy menstrual bleeding, fibroids, or uterine polyps. The treatment for anemia is simple: iron supplements can be taken or iron rich foods can be added to the diet.
A feeling of utter exhaustion is common in the first trimester of pregnancy and unexplained fatigue is sometimes a symptom of an undiagnosed pregnancy. Other signs commonly seen in the early stages of pregnancy include cessation of normal periods, nausea, breast tenderness and weight gain.
At the other end of the cycle, one of the symptoms of menopause is fatigue and extreme tiredness. Fluctuating levels of hormones can disrupt sleep patterns and cause fatigue, all of which will be exacerbated by poor diet choices and a lack of regular exercise.
An underactive thyroid will cause you to feel very tired and run down for no apparent reason. Hypothyroidism often goes undiagnosed, but can easily be picked up via a simple blood test that detects the levels of thyroid hormones. If the test is positive, you will be given thyroxin to take on a daily basis and you should recover very quickly.
An undiagnosed urinary tract infection can cause chronic fatigue, and although most women suffer from painful urination when they acquire a UTI, for some the only symptom is unexplained fatigue. A urine test will be able to detect the presence of a urinary tract infection and a dose of antibiotics will soon clear it up.
What are the more serious causes of unexplained fatigue in women?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes patients to suffer frequent interruptions to their normal sleep cycles, only they are completely unaware of the problem. Often the only clue a person is suffering from sleep apnea is the fact that they still feel tired despite believing they have had plenty of sleep. Sleep apnea can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and strokes, and is therefore a serious condition that will require treatment.
An undiagnosed heart condition can also cause unexplained fatigue in women, especially if ordinary activities cause extreme tiredness for no apparent reason. If heart disease runs in the family, or there are other known risk factors such as smoking or weight issues, a checkup will probably be carried out to rule out the possibility of cardiovascular disease.