Fatigue in women — it’s a nebulous, common, depressing problem that can slowly sap the joy out of your life.
It’s not fun telling your kids that you’re too tired to play with them. It’s not fun feeling like you just ran a marathon after two flights of stairs.
It’s not fun not having the energy for life.
What Do We Mean When We Say “Fatigue”?
When we talk about the word “fatigue,” what we’re talking about is a lack of energy — feeling tired, sleepy, or worn out even when you shouldn’t.
It’s normal to feel fatigued when you’ve only had 3 hours of sleep or you’ve worked for 12 hours… or both.
It’s not normal to feel fatigued when you’ve had 8 hours of rest and a few days off.
Unfortunately, not only is fatigue incredibly common, it also has a wide variety of possible causes. Here are a handful that could be behind your fatigue:
- Heart disease
- Thyroid problems
- Sleep apnea
- Vitamin deficiency
However, there’s one common cause of fatigue in women that’s often overlooked:
Fatigue in Women and Low Testosterone
I see fatigue in women over and over in my clinic — it’s an incredibly common symptom of low testosterone.
We see this a lot in men too, and I think it’s easy for people to wrap their minds around this idea, the idea that low testosterone in men often manifests as fatigue.
In many cultures and societies, testosterone is thought of as the source of physical strength, power, and “manliness.”
It makes sense then, in a way, that a man with low testosterone would feel tired, or weak.
However, most people often don’t think the same thing when they think about testosterone and women (if they consider it at all).
Unfortunately, because there’s this narrative out there that testosterone is the male hormone, many women will never consider testosterone as a possible cause of their symptoms.
While there’s some truth to the idea of the “male hormone,” the fact is that your body produces testosterone — just not in the same quantities that a man’s does.
When that smaller quantity of testosterone falls below certain levels, you end up with low testosterone, just like a man. And, just like a man, your body needs testosterone to function properly.
When your testosterone is low, you start to experience symptoms — one of which is fatigue.
I see fatigue in women more often than you might think, but that’s not the only symptom of low testosterone. Here are a few others:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Weight issues
- Inability to concentrate
If you’re experiencing these symptoms (or any other symptoms), considering getting your hormones checked.
Certainly, thyroid issues can also be at fault, and this may still be the case if your thyroid labs have been reported as “normal.”
It may be nothing — your levels might be fine, and you might be in good shape.
Or, it might be low testosterone — in which case, you’re fortunate in a way. Treating heart disease or sleep apnea is anything but simple — but treating low testosterone is relatively straightforward (though still quite complex).