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What Causes Extreme Fatigue Before Period?

Apr 19, 2017

Do you feel too tired to get out of the bed and even do anything at all when you are about to get your periods? Is this occurring almost every month? Well, you are probably suffering from premenstrual fatigue. Many women end up delaying or putting off their daily tasks and obligations due to this extreme fatigue. But, why is that?

What Causes Extreme Fatigue Before Period?

Extreme fatigue is one of the common signs of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) among girls and women, usually occurring about 5 to 7 days before menstrual periods. The real cause of PMS is not known and scientists are still trying to find its underlying cause. However, it is believed that changes in the estrogen and progesterone levels during the menstrual cycle and especially during the second half lead to PMS.

Many factors can trigger PMS such as poor diet, lack of sleep, stress, certain chemical changes in the brain, lack of exercise, being overweight or obese, etc.

Other common symptoms of PMS beside extreme fatigue include:

  • Appetite changes
  • Food cravings
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Tension
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling depressed
  • Crying spells
  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Poor concentration
  • Social withdrawal
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Tender breasts
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Acne
  • Weight gain due to fluid retention

A good thing is that these symptoms tend to disappear within the first four days after menstrual bleeding starts. A small number of women have the so-called premenstrual dystrophic disorder (PMDD) as their symptoms are disabling every single month.

How to Manage Extreme Fatigue Before Period

In order to relieve the extreme fatigue, you will need to get the PMS under control. If anything triggers your PMS, it is recommended to eliminate and avoid them as much as possible. If a lifestyle change is not helpful in preventing your PMS and if PMS is interfering with your daily life activities, then you should consult a healthcare provider and get the best treatment possible.

Lifestyle Changes

Extreme fatigue and other signs of PMS can sometimes easily be managed through simple lifestyle changes. What you eat, how much you exercise, how much you sleep and the amount of stress you have in your daily life are very important. The following tips might be helpful:

  • Eat smaller meals but frequently.
  • Limit your salt intake.
  • Eat foods which are rich in calcium such as dairy products.
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Be physically active at least 30 minutes a day, for at least 5 days a week. You can choose walking, cycling, swimming, or whichever other physical activity you prefer.
  • Sleep good and enough.
  • Avoid stress as much as possible. Yoga, massage or progressive muscle relaxations are great techniques which can help you relax, etc.

It might be also helpful if you keep a good track of the symptoms you experience every month, their severity, how many days before the menstrual bleeding they start and when they disappear once the menstrual bleeding begins. This can help you and your healthcare provider find the best strategy to help relieve your PMS and also extreme fatigue before period.

Medical Treatment

In general, lifestyle changes are enough when trying to control and eliminate the signs and symptoms related to PMS. However, in certain cases, medical treatment is required. Commonly prescribed medications are listed below:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help ease the cramping and discomfort related to PMS.
  • Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) have been successful in the treatment of psychological signs and symptoms of PMS such as depression, mood swings, anxiety, tension, etc. Women dealing with PMS, especially with PMDD need to take these medications daily. However, women dealing with PMS are recommended to take these antidepressant medications only for a limited period of time, about two weeks before the menstrual bleeding begins.
  • Diuretics will help eliminate the excessive amount of fluid from the human body through urination. Spironolactone is the most common used diuretic for the treatment of PMS. Normally, due to increased water retention before menstrual periods, swelling, bloating and fatigue will occur.
  • Hormonal contraceptives work by stopping the ovulation, relieving this way the symptoms related to PMS, including extreme fatigue before period.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies can sometimes be beneficial.

  • Acupuncture consists in inserting small needles throughout the human body, in specific points of the skin, in order to relieve the symptoms of PMS and many other health conditions.
  • Herbal remedies such as ginger, evening primrose oil, ginkgo, chaste berry, or St. John’s wort are known to help relieve the symptoms of PMS, including extreme fatigue before your period. You should consult with your healthcare provider before starting to consume these herbs as they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, meaning that there are no records regarding their safety and effectiveness.
  • Taking about 400 IU (international units) of vitamin E a day may relieve the symptoms of PMS by reducing the production of prostaglandins.
  • Taking about 360 mg of magnesium and 1,200 mg of calcium as a supplement a day may reduce both psychological and physical symptoms related to PMS.