Over the years of meeting with both men and women and listening to what symptoms they struggle with the most, feeling exhausted is always at the top of the list.
Does this story sound familiar to you?
“Most days I struggle getting out of bed because I am so tired. I get my kids off to school and then, if my schedule allows, I crawl back into bed for a nap. I never feel rested. Some days are better than others, but usually I am forcing myself to do even one of my daily tasks. Usually I can fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. Other times I struggle to fall asleep because I feel so wired.”
This is heartbreaking to hear over and over again! People who want the energy to live life. Yes, to do those things they used to do, that were fun and brought joy like going for a bike ride, painting or gardening. But even just walking out to the car or preparing a simple meal feels like they are dragging through mud.
A conventional approach may be to check iron or a thyroid level, or possibly give a diagnosis of depression. While having a low mood and feeling depressed may be accurate - it’s possible you are depressed because you have no energy to do what you want to do. That can be depressing!
There is absolutely a place for prescription medications when it comes to depression. Many times it helps the energy a little too. But, it isn’t the only solution, and oftentimes the underlying trigger or cause for the fatigue and low mood are going untreated. If we deploy the Functional Medicine approach - there is oh so much more to be looking at!
Here is a list of a few avenues I go down when addressing chronic fatigue:
Timeline can be key (when did this start? Was there a triggering event?)
A Chronic infection (Epstein Barr Virus/Mono or Lyme?)
Nutrient Deficiencies (and if so, why? Is it poor digestion and absorption?)
Hormonal imbalances (Insulin, Cortisol and Thyroid are the biggest players here)
Autoimmunity (Hashimotos, Celiac, Rheumatoid Arthritis to name a few)
Sleep Quality (You may be getting enough sleep, but what is the quality? Possible sleep apnea?)
Nutrition (you know I was going to go here! What’s your fuel source? Possible food sensitivities or intolerances?)
There are of course other things to look at, but that is a good list to get us started.
If you haven’t been evaluated for these things being contributing factors to the fatigue you are experiencing, ask your provider - or, come see me!
I’ll be doing an IG Live this Friday to talk more in depth about some of the above triggers for fatigue. I’ll save it to my stories in my Instagram (@alyssafnp) for anybody who misses it.