I hear this statement, or some version of it All. Week. Long. Men and women alike are coming to me complaining of fatigue, and I am not talking normal “I just work too much and the kids are driving me nuts” fatigue. I am talking about the “my bones feel tired” type of fatigue. This type of tiredness has you crawling to bed and waking up tired, and nothing improves it, not even sleep!
Did you know that fatigue is one of the most common symptoms that brings women into a doctor’s office? When I worked in family practice it always made me laugh to hear the conditions we, as women “Web-MD” ourselves with, because we can’t imagine that the intensity of symptoms we have could be anything other than that rare brain tumor we diagnosed ourselves with. Granted, we do catch medical anomalies in the early stages more often in women because of our attention to detail and impeccable ability to nag our doctors into submission (keep doing what you’re doing girl, it works!). Medically, many conditions can cause
fatigue, but in an otherwise healthy, aging individual, most often, believe it or not, this is coming from low testosterone.
One way to quickly diagnose your fatigue or insomnia as hormone-related before we even look at a blood test is to consider WHEN and HOW it occurs. If you’re waking up between 2-3:30 am, and unable to fall back to sleep until 4 or 5, you have a lack of dreaming and deep sleep, this wasn’t a problem before the age of 35, and finally, if you're waking up fatigued and not feeling refreshed, it's likely hormonal. Don’t believe me? Why do you think infomercials play around 2 am and target middle-aged women? In the past low testosterone was just treated with a DHEA supplement. DHEA triggers the testosterone factory in our ovaries to produce more testosterone. However, if you’ve had your ovaries removed, or if you are creeping up on menopause and the factory is slowing down,
the only way to improve testosterone and energy levels is to replace it. Testosterone has many incredible benefits in the body because it triggers the secretion
of other hormones. These other hormones may explain many of the other symptoms you have as well, but they give us energy in the following ways:
● Cortisol improves usable energy, adrenaline, and blood pressure, helping us manage our stress
● Growth hormone increases metabolism to help us burn calories, generate heat and lose fat
● Insulin improves the use of blood sugar, decreasing fatigue and making usable energy
● Norepinephrine, which we make in our brain, stimulates energy, wakefulness, and motivation
● Melatonin improves restful sleep
● Oxytocin increases sexual energy
● Serotonin improves mental energy and mood.
So, if you’re thinking you are just TIRED of feeling TIRED, then you’ve come to the right place. But, don’t worry girl, I'll still run a full blood panel to see if you really do have what you saw on Grey’s Anatomy.