Tired? Fatigued? Find Out What Could Really Be Causing It

LowEnergy_slide01Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
UPDATE: This post was originally published on March 3.
Since your hormones do more than keep your muscles pumped and sex engine revved, if you feel a lack of optimal energy, talk with your doctor about these possible causes of low energy levels.
Thyroid
Your hypothalamus is responsible for making the hormone that causes your pituitary to produce thyroid-stimulating hormone (a marker for thyroid disease). Most doctors treating the symptoms of thyroid problems (such as fatigue and weight gain), do so based on a number that doesn’t make perfect sense. Doctors should look at both forms of thyroid hormone (free T4 and T3 levels) as well as TSH levels.
Your TSH levels are dictated by your pituitary gland. They act like your internal dimmer, trying to make the lights bright enough to read by. So, your TSH levels go up when your thyroid isn’t pumping enough T4 and T3, in an effort to increase your thyroid gland’s production of T3 and T4. Sometimes, your pituitary fails to succeed, or the wires in your thyroid are frayed. Then, you can’t produce all the T3 and T4 you need.
The drugs used to treat this don’t always work for everyone. There’s a complex, delayed reaction to many drugs that can vary among people. It takes four to eight weeks to arrive at stable levels after you make a dose change. Often, you need to tell your doctor how you feel. Maybe even push to get treated with a bioidentical thyroid hormone that doesn’t just adjust the numbers on the blood test, but also help you feel better.
LowEnergy_slide02Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Adrenal
When you’re hungry, do you quickly switch to feeling so irritable and ravenous that if you don’t eat, you’ll commit a felony? This is a sign that your adrenal (fight-or-flight) glands may not be working properly. You need to address the signs of malfunctioning adrenals.
Blood tests only pick up on very dangerous levels, not just abnormal ones. If all else fails, talk to your doctor about a cortisol-type medicine called Cortef, or its cousin DHEA (not DHA). Your doc will need to measure levels before, and frequently thereafter.
Sex Hormones
Perimenopausal women who experience worsening pain and fatigue around their periods are probably experiencing a drop in estrogen. Cause and effect? Maybe. Remember, pain diverts your energy as well.
Estradiol (a bioidentical estrogen) combined with micronized bioidentical progesterone, preceded by two baby aspirin, has benefits we think exceed risks for most women. This can help your pain, fatigue, and brain fog.
LowEnergy_slide03Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Women and men who have decreased shaving frequency (legs and face, respectively) should consider testosterone if they need it for the associated elevation of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, decreased HDL cholesterol, or loss of libido.
With declining energy, the issue isn’t having one symptom. It’s having one overriding problem (an energy crisis) that plays out in many different ways. Specifically, having low energy or having high pain will make you feel less beautiful. Many muscles feel tired and pained as you start using them.
Remember how low you felt when you had the worst flu ever? That’s how people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome feel at their best. The good news? Solutions work in a large percentage of people. These options even seem to work for little energy boosts we need even if we aren’t as devastated as patients with these conditions.
Pain and a lack of energy aren’t the enemies. Instead, they’re smoke alarms. They act as warning signals that there’s a fire raging in our bodies. You need to find a way to put it out if you want to function with the passion of a beautiful being.

More from Wellness

Can you boost your self-esteem just by changing the way you stand? For years, a few scientists — most recognizably one by the name of Amy Cuddy, PhD (...
Historically, women in West Africa have not had a voice. Men decide if their wife or wives can use birth control or have access to money; fathers decide if...
If you live in the Northeast of the U.S., you might want to check on the meat in your fridge. The CDC announced on Saturday that it is investigating a ...
When it comes to rock climbing, an all-or-nothing approach is key
How many times have you woken up with a disgusting hangover after a heavy night and vowed never to drink again? Well, this common plight could one day be...
Foreplay often doesn't get enough credit — not to mention time or attention. In one study of heterosexual couples published in the Journal of Sexual ...
Sometimes getting motivated to exercise can be harder than the workout itself. That’s why it helps to think of your gym time as a middle school dance: ...
(Paid Content) In this age of label-aversion, hookup apps, and social-media flirtation (nothing says romance like a DM, right?), few would disagree that ...
The benefits of yoga are constantly touted by fitness gurus and scientific researchers alike: practicing yoga has been linked to reducing stress, boosting ...
Working out's a LOT more fun when you can do it on your own terms, in your own crib, with your own tunes, and your own friends
In April, I ran a story called “The Medium-Sized Woman Problem.” The “problem,” of course, was not the women themselves, but the way in which we frame ...
Ashley Graham is breaking barriers. She's the first plus-sized model to cover the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and she's served as our workout ...
Jill Krause writes about all things mom, parenting, and relationships at her blog, Baby Rabies, and she has some words of advice for the non-pregnant ...
Let me introduce you all to the love of my life, Sienna Harper Gernon! I've never felt love like it! @justchrisgernon thank you so much, you have been...