No, you are not just lazy. Yes, there is an explanation for all that exhaustion. It could be PCOS. Let's find out the connection between PCOS and fatigue.
Women are known for being multitasking superheroes and you could be forgiven for thinking that fatigue is a result of this in most cases. However, if you constantly complain about tiredness and lack of energy, it can be due to an underlying health condition. Ever heard of the connection between PCOS and fatigue? Let us understand it in detail.
Can PCOS be the Cause of Fatigue?
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that occurs commonly in women of childbearing age. The exact cause of PCOS is not known, but insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, along with genetics are thought to contribute to it. Excess androgen (male hormone) levels are behind most PCOS symptoms, including ovulation problems and irregular menstrual cycles.
One interesting aspect of PCOS is that its signs and symptoms vary from individual to individual. You can have a few or many of the commonly listed symptoms. You may also have PCOS and none of its associated symptoms.
Fatigue, which is extreme tiredness and lack of energy, is not listed among the most commonly seen symptoms of PCOS. However, a lot of women with PCOS complain about it. It is one of the causes of tiredness in females.
What Does PCOS Fatigue Feel Like?
PCOS fatigue can feel like one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sluggishness and lethargy
- Too tired to step out of bed in the morning
- Excessively sleepy and tired in the day
- Headache and migraines
- Vision changes
- Shakiness and sweating
Why Does PCOS Cause Fatigue?
So, can PCOS cause extreme fatigue? Yes, it can. How does it cause fatigue? The science behind PCOS is still evolving and researchers do not know the exact connection between PCOS and fatigue.
However, here are a few possible reasons that can cause fatigue in women with PCOS.
Insulin Resistance and Blood Sugar Levels
Many women with PCOS may develop insulin resistance. It is a condition in which the cells in your body lose the ability to respond to insulin, which can result in uncontrolled glucose levels and low energy levels, thus causing fatigue.
Iron Deficiency Anaemia
In women with PCOS, heavy menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia can be one of the reported symptoms. Losing a lot of blood from your body can cause lower levels of iron in your blood and increase the risk of iron deficiency anaemia. This can cause low energy levels in PCOS and make you feel tired and weak.
Living with PCOS is stressful. Managing the symptoms of PCOS, such as excessive facial hair, body weight, and infertility can cause a lot of mental discomfort and be emotionally draining. Chronic stress may also cause changes to your insulin and blood sugar levels, again contributing to fatigue in PCOS.
Women with PCOS are more prone to sleep disturbances. When you don’t sleep well, it makes everything worse. Your blood sugar levels can be affected and insulin resistance can be worsened. You may feel more stressed as well. All of these factors can contribute to fatigue in PCOS.
Many women with PCOS may be more prone to depression. Obesity, insulin resistance, inflammation, and the stress of living with PCOS is believed to contribute to depression in PCOS. Depression may lead to disturbance in sleep patterns or chronic insomnia, changes in appetite, and overall reduced quality of life. These factors may cause fatigue in PCOS.
As per some studies, certain medications used to treat PCOS can cause fatigue as a side effect. For instance, metformin can cause vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause anaemia, weakness, and tiredness.
How to Get Rid of Fatigue and Weakness in PCOS?
If you have PCOS, it is important to consult your doctor at the earliest. Management of PCOS with medication and lifestyle changes should help with resolving the symptoms of PCOS, including fatigue.
Here are a few more ways you can fight PCOS fatigue in your daily life.
Have a Balanced Diet
Your diet plays an important role in helping manage your insulin resistance and blood sugar levels, and thus your energy levels. Adopt a balanced diet including healthy portions of fat, complex carbohydrates, fibre, and protein with every meal. Eliminate refined and processed foods from your diet as much as possible.
It is not just what you eat but also when you eat that matters. Eat regularly over the course of the day and have small healthy snacks in between meals if hungry.
Normalise Your Sleep Pattern
It is important for everyone to get at least 7 hours of quality sleep every night. Avoiding heavy meals for dinner, staying away from screens, and limiting caffeine intake a few hours before sleep can help normalise your sleep pattern. Develop your own sleep hygiene steps and try to follow a consistent sleep schedule.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Dehydration is known to worsen fatigue. Drink water and other fluids regularly throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated and your energy levels high.
Manage your stress levels by practising activities you enjoy, such as yoga, meditation, walking, gardening, or spending time with your loved ones. As your stress levels reduce, you may notice that the fatigue is manageable too.
Simple exercise, even for 30 minutes every day for at least five days a week, can help improve blood circulation in your body and make you feel better. Try walking, yoga, and tai chi, which are not physically demanding and can help improve your energy levels.
Lastly, your fatigue may be related to another underlying medical condition seen in women with PCOS, such as iron deficiency anaemia, hypothyroidism, vitamin B12 deficiency, and depression. Getting prompt diagnosis and treatment for the condition can help you manage the related fatigue.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a common hormonal disorder in women, shows up with different symptoms in different individuals. Some women with PCOS may complain of fatigue, which is extreme tiredness and lack of energy.
- Experts suggest that insulin resistance, iron deficiency anaemia, stress, lack of sleep, depression, and the side effects of medications in PCOS may result in fatigue.
- Management of PCOS should help resolve its symptoms, including fatigue. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by following a balanced diet, maintaining a regular sleep pattern, keeping yourself hydrated, managing your stress levels, and exercising regularly can help reduce the fatigue associated with PCOS.
- Start your PCOS management journey with Phable. Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading gynaecologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, and dieticians; order medicines; book lab tests; and get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a PCOS Management program that provides 360º care.
Friendly Asked Questions
Yes, PCOS can cause extreme fatigue in some women who have it, which can affect their quality of life. Though it is not exactly known why this happens, insulin resistance, disturbed blood sugar levels, sleep disturbance, iron deficiency anaemia, stress, and depression in PCOS may contribute to fatigue.
You can manage the fatigue related to PCOS by managing PCOS first, with medication and lifestyle changes. Further, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping yourself hydrated, managing your stress levels, sleeping enough, and treating any underlying condition with PCOS can also help you control PCOS-related fatigue.
Yes, some people with PCOS may sleep a lot. Many people with PCOS experience fatigue and sleep disturbances, which can cause them to sleep a lot at once and during odd hours.
Yes, the fatigue associated with PCOS in some individuals can make them feel dizzy.
Some women with PCOS may complain of fatigue. The exact cause of fatigue in women with PCOS is unknown. However, it is believed that insulin resistance, disturbed blood sugar levels, iron deficiency anaemia, lack of sleep, stress, and depression may contribute to fatigue.