Endometriosis is a medical condition that affects the female reproductive system. It is characterized by endometrial tissue that usually lines the uterus growing outside the uterus.
Fatigue is an underestimated symptom of endometriosis, and it affects most women with the condition. Fatigue describes a state of physical exhaustion and is associated with low energy, muscle pain, and loss of memory. Fatigue is often overlooked because it is difficult to measure and can be mistaken for being tired or lazy.
Causes of fatigue in endometriosis
Endometriotic lesions cause inflammation at the site where they occur and activate the immune system, which tries to eliminate the lesions. This active immune response is likely to play a causative role in fatigue.
Fatigue usually is most severe at the time around the menstrual cycle and can be a warning sign for a flare-up of pain. Pain also may cause fatigue, but these two symptoms are not necessarily related and can occur independently.
Other underlying medical conditions also may contribute to fatigue. Regular medical check-ups can rule out other causes of fatigue. Blood tests can detect mineral or vitamin deficiencies, which may be corrected with dietary supplements.
Effects of fatigue
Fatigue can have a substantial effect on everyday life. It can reduce productivity at work and also negatively influence social life. Because of fatigue, women with endometriosis often have to cancel social activities that they otherwise enjoy. They also often develop mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, due to fatigue and pain.
Management of fatigue
A healthy, nutrient-rich diet can help reduce fatigue and boost energy levels. Foods that are high in sugar and simple carbohydrates should be avoided because they cause a blood sugar spike, which then suddenly drops. These extreme blood sugar fluctuations can intensify fatigue. A high BMI also is associated with fatigue.
Exercise can be a challenge for women with endometriosis experiencing fatigue, but it might help increase energy levels in the long-term. Low-intensity exercise, such as walking, swimming, or dancing is recommended. Physical activity also can reduce pain.
Even though fatigue should not be mistaken for a lack of sleep or tiredness, getting enough sleep can help reduce fatigue. Many women with endometriosis experience insomnia, which also contributes to fatigue. Avoiding daytime napping usually helps enhance the quality of sleep at night.
Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.