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Fatigue and lack of energy

Possible causes of fatigue: adrenal imbalance, hormonal imbalance, thyroid imbalance

It’s normal to feel fatigue after you’ve had a high-pressure situation that made you stay up late or push yourself hard over a day or two to get things done. But when fatigue is constant and never-ending, and day after day you find it hard to get out of bed in the morning or you lose steam and feel exhausted by mid-afternoon, that’s a signal from your body that a deeper issue has developed. The real cause of fatigue? For many women, fatigue and feeling drained of physical and mental energy is the direct result of an internal hormonal imbalance.

A woman experiencing hormone-related fatigue

What causes fatigue in women?

Fatigue is often attributed to age, but that’s really not the deciding factor. Many sufferers of fatigue are young or middle-aged women. The key commonality for these women is that they exist day to day under a burden of constant stress. Worry, anxiety, and depression keep women tossing and turning throughout the night and add to the physical and emotional demands their bodies are struggling to manage. All of this stress can wreak havoc with a number of hormonal systems.

Fatigue and sex hormone balance

A sex hormone imbalance, commonly experienced during perimenopause and menopause, or at any point in a women's reproductive years, is a well-established trigger for fatigue. Hot flashes, night sweats, and PMS symptoms can disrupt sleep, leading to ongoing fatigue and lack of energy. Additional symptoms of hormonal imbalance, such as mood swings or irritability, as well as uncomfortable physical changes in your body such as bloating or breast tenderness can leave you feeling physically or emotionally drained. Feeling stressed out intensifies these symptoms, making fatigue even worse.

Fatigue and adrenal function

Adrenal hormones are produced in response to stress — and when stress is long-lasting, the adrenals produce cortisol and other stress hormones without pause for long periods, which inevitably leaves you tired but wired. You may go to bed at a reasonable hour but lie awake or toss and turn — either way, your body is denied the rest and recovery it needs. This cycle will leave you feeling tired, perhaps even sluggish and foggy-headed. If you've been coping with lots of chronic stress, that alone can be enough to drain even the healthiest woman's energy levels.

Fatigue and thyroid imbalance

Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, is common in women, particularly as they approach perimenopause. Underactive or “sluggish” thyroid can cause a wide array of symptoms even when conventional testing results may still be in the “normal” range. Women with thyroid issues often both suffer intense fatigue and sleep more than average, yet still don’t feel rested upon waking. They also feel depressed, and their libido may be very low. Loss of energy, difficulty losing weight, trouble tolerating cold temperatures, memory issues, dry skin, and hair loss are part of the extensive collection of possible thyroid-related symptoms.

What fatigue does to your body and mind

In all three of the hormonal imbalances described above, fatigue robs you of the energy you need to keep up with life’s demands, to enjoy life, or even to make important changes to maintain your health. It adds to the pressure you feel at work and at home, and can severely disrupt your personal and social relationships. 

As a way to cope, you may reach for sugary foods or caffeine to give you a jolt of energy.  This self-perpetuating cycle does nothing to relieve your stress or your fatigue. All poor food choices and excess caffeine do is reduce your body’s ability to draw vital nutrients from your food, which again, makes it more difficult for you to ever fully energized.

Breaking the cycle of fatigue means looking carefully at what your symptoms are telling you about how stress is affecting your body.

For instance, with an adrenal imbalance, even though you are bone-tired, you may have difficulty sleeping due to an upside-down cortisol curve. You may notice that lack of physical activity — or, for some women, overexercise — can also sap your body of vigor. Adrenal-related fatigue disrupts your body’s natural, adaptive feedback loops, forcing you to draw on your reserves to respond to life’s ups and downs.

Hormonal imbalance can throw off your normal menstrual cycles or produce perimenopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

Thyroid imbalance is often reflected in dull skin and hair, a slow heartbeat, and weight gain that seems impossible to stop.

Finding relief from fatigue

Here's the good news: Fatigue does not have to be your “new normal.” Whether you are 20, 50 — or even 90 years old — there’s a lot you can do to increase your energy naturally. Regardless of the underlying imbalance, we can lead you up and out of fatigue and away from the downward spiral that has you in its grip. We’ve had such great success in relieving fatigue in women that an increase in energy is usually the first dramatic improvement women notice after beginning to follow our approach.

We start by increasing nutritional support to the body, providing all your hormonal systems with what they need to respond to the demands you face. We also recommend gentle phytotherapy and lifestyle strategies for reducing those demands as well. And we have specific pathways to address the specific causes of your fatigue: adrenal, hormonal, or thyroid.

Supplements that support adrenal health

In our experience, fatigue in women is most often tied to some form of adrenal imbalance, alone or in combination with a sex hormone or thyroid hormone imbalance. To help women find relief, our doctors formulated Adaptisol, our exclusive natural adrenal support supplement made with adaptogenic herbs astragulus, eleuthero, cordyceps and rhodioloa to jump start adrenal fatigue healing and restore energy levels. Adaptisol aids the body’s natural ability to adapt to stress, enhances mental clarity, and supports healthy immune function.

Adaptisol is designed for women whose symptoms cluster around the “tired" end of the adrenal spectrum, including extreme fatigue, brain fog, lack of focus, mood changes and weight gain. For women whose fatigue symptoms leave them feeling anxious and unable to sleep, we developed Serinisol, a soothing natural supplement made with nutrient compounds known for their ability to restore calm and restore healthy sleep patterns.

"I feel more energized throughout the whole day, less stressed and more calm, and am sleeping better throughout the night.” - Kate, Adrenal Health customer

To assess your fatigue symptoms and get customized recommendations for how best to address your symptoms, take our on-line Adrenal Health Profile.

If your your fatigue is related to a sex hormone imbalance, learn about our solutions built to naturally restore hormonal balance, including our Hormonal Stress Combo.

If you think that your fatigue is a symptom of thyroid imbalance, see more about our Thyroid Stress Combo formulated with T-Balance Plus.

Have questions and want to talk to a real woman who understands these different types of fatigue? Call us toll-free at 1-800-448-4919. We're here to listen and help.

Last Updated: July 6, 2022

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