Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

Chronic Fatigue: Tired of Feeling Tired?

Learn what may be causing your chronic fatigue ... and 10 solutions.

Chronic Fatigue Cause No. 3: Anemia

"If you are in your reproductive years, and particularly if you experience heavy menstrual cycles, have fibroid tumors or uterine polyps, or if you've recently given birth, the blood loss may have caused you to develop anemia -- a leading cause of fatigue in women," says Rebecca Amaru, MD, clinical instructor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

Problems occur, she says, when the bleeding leads to a deficiency of hemoglobin, the iron-rich protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of your body. When your tissues and organs don't get enough oxygen, she says, the result is fatigue.

Other causes of anemia include internal bleeding and a deficiency of iron, folic acid, or vitamin B-12. Anemia may also be caused by chronic diseases like kidney disease. Symptoms can include dizziness, feeling cold, and irritability.

To confirm a diagnosis of anemia, your doctor will give you a blood test. Treatment, she says, usually consists of iron supplements if iron deficiency is the cause, and adding iron-rich foods -- such as spinach, broccoli, and red meat -- to your diet.

The good news: With effective treatment for anemia, your fatigue should begin to lift in 30 days or less.

Chronic Fatigue Cause No. 4: Undiagnosed Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Although most women associate a urinary tract infection with symptoms such as burning or urgency, sometimes fatigue is the only clue.

In most instances, a UTI is caused by bacteria in the urinary tract, often the result of improper bathroom hygiene (wiping back to front, for example). Sexual intercourse can increase the risk because it can push bacteria from the vagina into the urethra.

If your doctor suspects that you have a UTI, your urine will be tested. Treatment is quick and easy, and usually involves an oral antibiotic medication. You can expect the fatigue to lift within a week or less if the antibiotic works effectively.

If your symptoms return, get tested again. Some women have chronic UTIs, which are very difficult to resolve. If this is your case, ask your doctor about preventive care, which may include low dose antibiotics.

Chronic Fatigue Cause No. 5: Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are considered separate but related disorders. They share a common symptom -- severe fatigue that greatly interferes with people's lives.

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common causes of relentless fatigue and muscle pain, especially in women, Mcllwain says.

"Many of my fibromyalgia patients complain that no matter how long they sleep, it's never restful, and they're always fatigued during daytime hours. Their sleep may be interrupted by frequent awakening, yet they may not remember these sleep disruptions the next day and live in a constant 'fibro fog' -- a hazy, mental feeling that makes it difficult to concentrate."

Today on WebMD

woman looking in mirror
Article
Woman resting on fitness ball
Evaluator
 
woman collapsed over laundry
Quiz
Public restroom door sign
Slideshow
 
Couple with troubles
Article
Bone density illustration
VIDEO
 
Young woman being vaccinated
Slideshow
woman holding hand to ear
Slideshow
 
Blood pressure check
Slideshow
mother and daughter talking
Evaluator
 
intimate couple
Article
puppy eating
Slideshow