Fatigue is known to drain energy levels and motivation
Medically reviewed by Monique Rainford, MD
Female fatigue is sometimes related to the hormonal changes of periods, pregnancy, and perimenopause. Females are also more likely to develop certain health conditions linked to fatigue, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Some of your daily medications can cause fatigue, or you may be burned out from juggling too many responsibilities and not having adequate sleep.
This article lists some common causes of female fatigue with tips on how to boost energy.
20 Reasons for Female Fatigue and Low Energy
Female fatigue and low energy are common. It can happen for many reasons, from lifestyle factors to medical conditions.
Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron deficiency anemia means your body lacks the iron to make enough healthy red blood cells. It can happen due to different reasons including your type of diet, heavy menstruation, or certain medical conditions. Females who menstruate or are pregnant need more iron than others.
Fatigue can be a symptom of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). It's also a symptom of thyroid diseases like Hashimoto's and Graves' diseases. Thyroid conditions tend to affect women more than men, with 1 in 8 women developing a thyroid problem, particularly following pregnancy and menopause.
Heart disease is the top cause of death in women in the United States. Heart disease symptoms in women aren't always the same as in men, and some are less obvious. Fatigue can be a symptom of heart disease or heart attack.
About half of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have severe fatigue. COPD is a lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. In the United States, more women than men are living with COPD.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder affecting up to 13% of women of reproductive age. And women with PCOS are more likely to feel fatigued or have sleep disorders than women without PCOS.
Endometriosis or Adenomyosis
Endometriosis and adenomyosis are gynecologic conditions that are associated with fatigue. In endometriosis, uterine lining-like tissue grows outside the uterus. In adenomyosis, the uterus lining-like tissue grows into the uterine walls.
Not Enough Exercise
A sedentary lifestyle will likely make you feel more tired than rested. Research suggests that regular physical activity is associated with higher energy levels and lower fatigue levels in women.
Drinking alcohol during the day can make you drowsy. And while it might help you go to sleep at night, it also interferes with quality sleep, which can lead to fatigue.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which you pause breathing while you sleep. You may think you sleep all night, but it's not quality sleep. Besides fatigue, you may also experience dry throat, trouble concentrating, or mood changes.
Insomnia involves trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early. You might develop insomnia because you have too much on your mind or work a night shift. Or it can be related to a condition that interferes with sleep, such as restless legs syndrome.
Over 90% of people with major depressive disorder report also having fatigue. Other symptoms of depression include persistent sadness or emptiness, unexplained aches and pains, and a lack of interest in things you used to enjoy.
Stress and Anxiety
Natural hormonal fluctuations occur throughout a woman's life. Hormones rise and fall with puberty, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and perimenopause. Evidence suggests that estrogen and progesterone directly impact a woman's sleep cycle.
Painful Bladder Syndrome
Anyone can get painful bladder syndrome, which is also called interstitial cystitis. But it's more common among women than men. Because you might have to wake up often during the night to urinate, it can lead to fatigue.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a long-term illness more common among women than men. The main symptom is debilitating fatigue, making it difficult to perform daily tasks or normal functions.
Fatigue is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). It's the primary central nervous system disease of young adults, about 75% of whom are female. The rate of sleep disorders among people with MS is 3 to 5 times higher than in the general population.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that affects women more than men, and the risk grows with age. In addition to fatigue, you might have sleep problems and a heightened sensitivity to pain.
Lupus is an autoimmune condition that affects women nine times more often than men. Aside from fatigue and tiredness, symptoms may include a butterfly-shaped rash across the nose and cheeks.
Fatigue can be a side effect of certain medications, especially those you take daily. Some drugs that can lead to fatigue are:
What Causes Sudden Fatigue in Females?
Burnout fatigue happens when you have more responsibilities than you can handle at work, home, or both. Research suggests that, on average, women's involvement in household chores is more than double that of their male partners.
There's also caregiver burnout. Caregiving is an ongoing task that can take a physical and mental toll. Most caregivers are women. And nearly 3 in 5 women also have jobs.
Sudden fatigue can also be a sign of perimenopause. You may not make the connection right away because the age of perimenopause varies. Symptoms start, on average, around age 47, and many women begin to notice sleep changes in their 40s.
Other things that can cause sudden fatigue are:
Viral or bacterial infection
Not getting enough sleep due to shift work, jet lag, etc.
What to Do When You’re Overly Fatigued
If you can't take a nap or call it a day, try these quick tips for shaking off fatigue:
Stretch to improve circulation, especially if you've been sitting for a long time.
Take a walk; a 15-minute walk can boost energy.
Drink water; even mild dehydration can make you feel tired.
Splash some cold water on your face, or take a refreshing shower.
Play some upbeat music.
Get outside for some fresh air.
How to Improve Fatigue on Your Own
You might be able to improve symptoms of fatigue by tweaking basic lifestyle routines, such as:
Eat nutritious meals and healthy snacks every three to four hours instead of three larger meals.
Build an exercise routine until you reach two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity weekly aerobic exercise.
Try to go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
Ensure your bedroom is comfortable, cool, and dark to promote good sleep.
Use meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or other relaxation techniques to help manage stress.
Ask for help when you have too much on your plate.
Turning to a Provider for Fatigue Treatment
If you have unexplained fatigue lasting over a few weeks, see a healthcare professional to find out why. Once you have a diagnosis, managing the condition may resolve the fatigue. If not, your provider can recommend the next steps. If you think fatigue is linked to an emotional or mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, it may help to see a therapist.
There are many potential reasons for female fatigue, from lack of sleep to burnout to chronic illness. There are some things you can do on your own to combat fatigue. But fatigue can signal an underlying health condition, so seeing a healthcare provider is important. Learning the cause can help find the solution and improve the overall quality of life.
Read the original article on Verywell Health.