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Women and fatigue: common culprits of exhaustion

Posted by CarePoint Health on Jan 8, 2016 1:00:00 PM

symptoms and causes of chronic fatigueMany of us accept that being tired is just a way of life, with overloaded schedules and numerous daily commitments. But if you’re eating right, getting exercise, and getting seven to eight hours of sleep, you shouldn’t feel tired all the time. If you’re suffering from constant fatigue, this may be a flag for an underlying health condition, such as one of the following:

  • B12 deficiency: B12 deficiency is a type of anemia, and can cause a variety of symptoms. In addition to fatigue, it can cause loss of appetite, dizziness, shortness of breath, and pale skin. B12 is found in dairy, meat, fish, eggs, and poultry. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you may need a B12 supplement. Severe cases may require B12 injections given at your doctor’s office.
  • Iron deficiency: The most well-known form of anemia is iron-deficiency anemia, and it is common in women of childbearing age. If you have heavy periods or were recently pregnant or breastfeeding, you have an increased risk of having anemia. The best absorbed form of iron is found in meat, poultry, and fish. Vegetables and beans also contain it, but the body doesn’t absorb it as effectively. Like B12 deficiency, it can be detected by blood test. Iron supplements are typically prescribed.
  • Thyroid problems: An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, constipation, feeling cold, and dry skin. Thyroid problems can also cause infertility and menstrual problems. Fortunately, a blood test can detect hypothyroidism and it can be treated with medications.
  • Poor quality sleep: Many women suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, which interrupts deep sleep throughout the night and leaves you feeling exhausted in the morning. If you’ve been diligent about getting seven to eight hours a night but don’t feel rested, talk to your doctor about a sleep study.
  • Depression: Fatigue alone will not be the only symptom of depression, but because it’s so common, especially in women, it should be considered a possibility. Depression often causes feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, loss of interest in activities, as well as sleep changes such as insomnia or sleeping too much.

Don’t accept that you must deal with fatigue on a daily basis. Often it’s caused by a condition that is treatable with the help of your physician. With some routine tests and discussion of your symptoms, you can get back to feeling like yourself again.

CarePoint Health Gynecology

With the help of a skilled gynecologist at CarePoint Health, you can make educated decisions about your health to be at your best at any stage of life. For more information about the comprehensive women’s services we provide, please contact us.

Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.

Topics: OBGYN, Women's health, Health, Sleep

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