An EndoSister came to me with complaints of fatigue, exhaustion, and a general lack of energy. Is it related to her Endometriosis? If so, why? And is she the only one who has to take 2-3 naps every day? Let the research begin!
Fatigue & Endo
Fatigue is one of the many common symptoms of Endometriosis. But why does something growing in our bodies make us tired? No one is really sure. Some feel that it could be our body’s coping mechanism to the pain, it could be that our body’s immune system is working on overdrive to fight our inflammation, it could be from depression, or it could be due to the mental and physical stress women with Endometriosis endure. It could even been some deeper unforeseen medical reason that nobody has figured out yet…
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
A news release issued in 2002 by the National Health Institute suggests that women with Endometriosis are more susceptible to other immune deficiency disorders, and may suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. The study was of 3,200 women with Endometriosis and it indicates, “The women in the study were over a hundred times more likely to experience chronic fatigue syndrome than the general population of U.S. women.”
The Mayo Clinic defines Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as “a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that can’t be explained by any underlying medical condition. The fatigue may worsen with physical or mental activity, but doesn’t improve with rest.”
Talk to your physician if you have been overly exhausted, no longer have energy for everyday tasks, or just want to rule out if you have CFS. It may take time to obtain a proper diagnosis; however, during that time you just might find ways to manage.
There are several studies out there that link chronic inflammation to complaints of fatigue. If you can control the heightened levels of inflammation due to Endometriosis implants and adhesions, you may be able to better your sense of fatigue. Inflammation can be somewhat controlled, or at least lessened, through diet changes and taking supplements. More on what to eat (or not to eat) to help with Endometriosis symptoms (including inflammation) can be found here.
Stress raises certain hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones makes us more alert, hyped up, ready for anything! And also deprive us of our sleep and relaxation. If heightened levels of adrenal hormones are your norm, it may effect your sleeping patterns and overall state of being. Chronic adrenal fatigue may lower your blood sugar levels as well.
Many women with Endometriosis also suffer from depression. Having a chronic, incurable disease can do that to you. Some women are depressed because their friends, family, or physicians do not believe their pain levels, or are unable to seek proper treatment. Some are just stuck lingering on the thought that it will come back, never truly go away, no end in sight. Others miss the lives they never had. Others want to raise a family, and are unable to conceive. Many, many reasons why depression may be rampant in the EndoCommunity. Depression fuels fatigue…and fatigue fuels depression. It’s a viscous cycle. If you are suffering from depression and are unable to pull out of it, you may wish to seek professional help. And it may just help with your fatigue.
Here are several ways you can try to combat your fatigue:
- Drink more water : staying hydrated is very important to maintaining a healthy body. Our bodies may grow more sluggish if we’re not getting enough water intake. For more info on why proper hydration is SO important, click here.
- Distract your brain : feeling too tired to leave the house? Find something inside to keep your mind occupied. Whether it be needlepoint, reading, gardening, or cleaning, the distraction may trick your body into forgetting it’s tired.
- Find some happiness : if depression may be leading to your overall “blah” exhaustion, find something that you enjoy, that makes you smile, or go do something that makes you happy. Surround yourself with friends once a week, or buy fresh cut flowers for a bit of beauty in the house. Pet the cat or dog. Sing. Lifting your spirits may help lift the fog.
- Exercise : who wants to exercise when they’re exhausted? Not me! But going for a walk around the block or bouncing around on your trampoline may help release good endorphin levels, raising your spirits and your energy levels. Follow it with water and a small snack! Reward yourself for the endeavor. And smile while you do it!
- Maintain a healthy sleep cycle : go to bed at the same time every night (at a reasonable hour), try to get the same hours of sleep every night, wake up at the same time each morning. Force your body into a sleeping habit that is healthy. And if you need a nap or two during the day, maintain that routine as well.
- Keep a Journal : Document your energy patterns! See if you can identify any triggers for your fatigue, or things that seem to help. Monitor your diet and exercise as well. Go back every few weeks and review for insight.
We may never know why Endo seems to cause fatigue, but what we do know : if you have Endometriosis and you’re suffering from fatigue, exhaustion, lack of energy, or tiredness, you’re NOT alone.
*Sunday is “Reader’s Choice” where my readers, friends, and family get to suggest a topic. Today’s topic came from my friend, Dana, who wanted to know if there was a connection with Endometriosis, inflammation, and her exhaustion. So let the research began! Again, I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa