41 answers

Extreme Fatigue the Week Prior to My Period

I have received such great response on other topics, I just had to post this question. The week prior to my period I become very fatigued and lethargic. All I want to do is sleep, lay on the couch, etc. I also become very moody, not my normal patient self. It is very frustrating. It is almost as though I am in the first trimester of pregnancy (being so tired). This has been persisting for almost 2 years (since my son was born). I am not on any birth control, my fiance had a vasectomy so no worries on becoming pregnant again. Has anyone experienced this? What helped you through it? Is there any hope? I hate the way I feel during that time, and feel as though I lose an entire week each month because of it. Thanks in advance for any advice you have to offer!!!!!

1 mom found this helpful

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Featured Answers

Dear D.,
I have found the negitive feelings associated with "that time of month" tend to be a lot less noticable with 1) lots of water 2) many leafy-green vegetables and 3)some people say primrose oil capsules are helpful.
Good luck ! Gill

1 mom found this helpful

A 500 to 1000 mcg B12 supplement helps me with my energy level when I feel sluggish before my period. Studies have shown that taking a calicium supplement (I can't recall how much but 1000 mcg/mg comes to mind) has been shown to help with pre-ministral mood swings. And then regular moderate exercize always helps as well.

1 mom found this helpful

I do not know how old you are-but, I am now 40 and have the same problem. Plus, I have zero patience. It is like a alien has taken over my body. I have no ideas on what will help.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Go on the 'women to women' website. It offers supplements, nutritional support and advice from a nurse. Check it out. Their program has perked me up.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi D.,

Two things would be good to do:
(1) Go to your OB/GYN and have a series of blood tests run to rule out anemia and have your progesterone/estrogen/testosterone balances checked.

(2) Search out a local practitioner of Oriental/Chinese medicine, preferably someone who has experience with herbal medicine and women's health concerns. There are some issues with Liver here (nothing to do with Liver in the western sense) that may be related to irritability, fatigue and hormonal imbalance. A good practitioner will know how to address this after checking your meridian pulses, tongue and other symptoms. And you don't have to live with this.

Best of luck,

S. Ihrig, L.Ac.
Lotus Wellspring Healthcare
456 E. Mission Road, Suite 100
San Marcos, CA 92069
###-###-####
____@____.com
www.lotuswellspring.com

2 moms found this helpful

D., you are not the only one who has this problem. After my second child, I had your same symptoms. I was so tired, I looked sick and pale!! I am studying to be a doctor of natural health, so I make it a personal mission to find remedies that really work. We are all different, so what works for one person may not work for another. After trial and error, process of elimination and research, this is what I have found to work best.

1. Lifewave energy patches. Based on accupunture/accupressure. These work extremely well, especially if you put them on before exercising. You will not be disappointed. Lifewave.com/kherihealth for more info.

2. One tablespoon of Blackstrap molasses mixed with rice milk and quarter tsp. each of clove powder and cinnamon makes for a healthy and balanced energy booster. It taste like chai tea. Works best if you put it in a blender. Molasses is full of iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Perfect for PMS. This drink is very inexpensive and is quickly absorbed by the body. Do not waste your money on supplements that contain these minerals. Clove kills infection and parasites. Cinnamon slows sugar absorption, lowers high blood pressure and reduces bad cholesterol. Both spices contain anti-inflamatory compounds that help with menstrual discomfort. There is a lot more that these spices do. You can google them for more info.

3. Drink plenty of water, but do not overhydrate yourself. This will cause your cells to burst and make you exhausted. Like overfilling a water balloon, it burst and becomes useless. Over watering a plant will kill it. You get the picture.

4. Eat healthy and exercise. Walking outside in the fresh air does wonders.

Good luck. K.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi D.,
You should really discuss this with your OB/GYN, it sounds like you may be suffering from "true" PMSD, Pre-menstrual Syndrome Dysfunction. If you are open to it, there are medications you can take that may help you feel better. There is no sense in letting this continue on. I wish you the best. ~~L.

2 moms found this helpful

I have awful periods (before and during). The docs have suggested that I use an IUD or minipill of some sort. The other option that they have suggested to me (which is one that I'm really considering) is uterine ablation. My doc said that this would lessen all symptoms and I would not have to spend a couple days in bed each month because of my period.

B.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.;
I also experience extreme fatigue, although usually only 2 days or so. I have found that keeping up with my daily Omega's throughout the month has been helpful. I also take Milk Thistle on a daily basis for improved liver function. A friend of mine told me that when our hormones are out of balance it is troublesome for the liver.
I'm not a nutritionist or anything, but these help me. Hope you find something that works.
Best regards,
S.

1 mom found this helpful

You didn't mention your age, I'm 40 since February. My mom had mentioned to me on my Birthday that that's when she started menopause.

I have noted the last 2 months feeling like all I want to do is sleep, plus I'm mean-crabby. Before I knew what made me moody it was simply cleanliness. I'm a neat freak but can control myself that we live here and kids make messes and leave things out. But the week before my period I deep clean and constantly pick up to keep it clean. As long as things are clean that week I'm level headed and not crabby. This month and last, I still cleaned, but the smallest things seem to drive me into mean, and I'm very aware that I'm not a nice person because I told my kids when they weren't listening to me that: this is not a good time for you to act this way I'm not a nice person right now. I have also noticed a small amount of depression, like I can't get out of this box and I need a change, I've tried buying myself something new but that didn't help. Anyway the ladies here at work told me that it sounds like begining stages of menopause. And told me to see a doctor for the simptoms. There are things on the market but the doctor would be the one to help me decide what's best for me. I'm now trying to decide what exactly bothers me So that I can forworn my family.

Iron pills may help with the tiredness. If that is truly the only simptom. Good luck with finding the reason your tired. J.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,
Oriental Medicine/Acupuncture helped me soo much with this. I would highly recommend finding a reputable practitioner and try it for several cycles.
best of luck,
S.

1 mom found this helpful

I am the same way, still breast feeding and not working. Perhaps you should put your teaching and school on hold and be a mom for a while. Who raises your kids when you're at work?

1 mom found this helpful

Since you're not looking to get pregnant again, you might want to consider going back on birth control--specifically the Seasonale, where you only deal with your period every 3 months. This way, you're not spending the week following trying to recover from your period only to turn around and deal with it again in a few short weeks. You might want to consider discussing this with your doc to see it it can work for you. So good luck, congrats and best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi! I don't have this issue but have you been to your OB/GYN to see what they say? If so, you could consider a natural balancing cream. Arbonne has one that seems to be really good as I have several clients who swear by it. You can check it out on www.arbonne.com. I hope you can find something that works-could be going into pre menopause as well in which case your hormones could be slightly off and making you feel this way.

1 mom found this helpful

I do not know how old you are-but, I am now 40 and have the same problem. Plus, I have zero patience. It is like a alien has taken over my body. I have no ideas on what will help.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear D.,
I have found the negitive feelings associated with "that time of month" tend to be a lot less noticable with 1) lots of water 2) many leafy-green vegetables and 3)some people say primrose oil capsules are helpful.
Good luck ! Gill

1 mom found this helpful

Hey D.-
I have found that drinking Emergen-C in the morning the week before my cycle helps give me that extra energy that I lack. It's not like it makes me super hyper or anything, I just feel like my normal happy self instead of a tired, moody, PMS'er. :) I hope you start feeling better.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,

I have been using this supplement made for women called "Feminine". It is made up of natural herbs. I take 2 tablet daily and it helped me trmendously with the moodiness. I also take an antioxidant OPC-3, it gives me energy and at the same time fights free-radicals in the body. I have not gotten sick since taking these products for the past year, and I usually get sick at minimum 2 times per year. I believe in these products so much that I became a distributor myself...better than paying retail. Ifyou're interested, you can contact me either by phone or e-mail.

Thanks,
M. Tam
Cell ###-###-####
____@____.com

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,
I know what you're going through. However, different things work for different people and I would suggest consulting your physician to find out what might work best for you.

1 mom found this helpful

I totally know what you mean about fatigue before your period. I went through this until about 3 months ago. My solution was actually to exercise! I had never been one to exercise, especially since having a kid. I mean, who has the time?? But, my husband suggested this to me and I tried it. Even though I was exhausted, I did some cardio at home (step aerobics or treadmill) while my son was napping. It was amazing how much energy I had that day. I still don't exercise everyday but when I do something at least 3x a week, I definitely feel a difference in my energy level and attitude. Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,
It sounds like your hormones are just off since you had your baby - which is normal. Your body constantly changes. Acupuncture worked for me! I originally went to help with my asthma but the side effect was that it got rid of all my PMS symptoms. My mom said I stopped being moody. I went about once a month from 1994 through 1999. However, the last 9 years I have only gone for acupuncture occassionally, but I still have no PMS. If you're up for it, it's worth a try and can help with lots of other ailments.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Certainly seems worth getting a physical. My first suspicion would be anemia, but who knows. When I was low on iron I definitely was a little sluggish. Sounds like you are feeling worse than sluggish so definitely go for a checkup!

1 mom found this helpful

I heat that pms symptoms get worse the more kids you have and the older you get. I have noticed I am more tired the week before too.

You could have your thyroid checked, or get checked for anemia. Go see a doc to rule things out, try diet change.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello, D.,

A couple of days before "the big week" try eliminating all processed foods. Starbucks, soda, boxed/bottled juices and drinks, chips, cookies, and especially fast or convenient food? Eat more fresh, raw, organic.

Enjoy how you feel. Hey! You just invented a "diet", a way of living actually, where you will feel great and lose weight, to boot!

If you would like to give it a try next month, I can help. I have a great collection of recipes called, 88 Recipes That Heal. I would be happy to email them to you. I am also a nutrition coach.

Thank you for reaching out.

T.

1 mom found this helpful

D.,
I experienced similar symptoms, but strangely when I was on Jenny Craig the symptoms were much less, sometimes virtually unnoticable! I did a little detective work and I think it had something to do with the amount of soy that is in the food. I've known that soy practically has more estrogen in it than birth control pills, which is why many homeopathic menopause remedies are soy based. Anyway, I experimented a bit and it seems that if I load up on tofu, edamamme, vegan meat substitutes, and soy milk the week or two before my period, my physical symptoms aches, cramps etc. and my mood are greatly improved.
Best of luck to you!
sg

1 mom found this helpful

I had the exact same symptoms and I also had a horrible headache 1 week prior. My doc put me on Zoloft. She said one of the less common uses for the drug is for PMDD (which used to be called PMS). It took a couple cycles to feel the effects, but it was great, I had more energy, wasn't a bitch and my headaches lessened. I also had terrible lower back cramps when my cycle hit and was taking vicodin for them and now I don't have to take the vicodin cause the Zoloft worked for that too! I'm not a huge fan of taking drugs, but in this case it really makes my life more "normal" during the period cycle. It's at least worth a try! Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

A 500 to 1000 mcg B12 supplement helps me with my energy level when I feel sluggish before my period. Studies have shown that taking a calicium supplement (I can't recall how much but 1000 mcg/mg comes to mind) has been shown to help with pre-ministral mood swings. And then regular moderate exercize always helps as well.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,
WOW when I read the subject line I just had to read what you wrote!! I am the EXACT same way a week, sometimes 9 days, before my period!! It always makes me wonder if I'm pregnant!! I was on the birth control so I tried getting off of it to see if it made a difference and it didn't! I have a dr appt next month and I am going to bring this issue to my dr attention to see if there is anything that can be done!! I know how you are feeling, it is the most awful feeling being so incredibly tired and moody for an entire week out of the month!! So my only advice to you is to talk to your dr!!

Best wishes,
Jes

1 mom found this helpful

D.,

I also found that I felt extremely fatigued and moody for a week to a week and a half prior to my menstrual cycle as well as my cycle became irregular and I started to experienced more cramping prior to my cycle. I also began to start breaking out on my face and neck which I thought was wild because I had never really been prone to acne before. This began a few months after the birth of my last son.
I tried vitamins and other supplements, exercise, more sleep, etc and nothing really seemed to help. I discussed it both with my OB/GYN and my primary care physician. We finally decided to put me back on birth control. Same as you, my husband had had a vasectomy so birth control hadn't been necessary. So even though they had brought it up before I had put it off a few years until I tried other means. So anyhow, recently they put me on Seasonique. Don't know if you've heard of it, but its a low dose birth control that produces some hormones in your body and is meant to balance them. It also reduces your cycle to once every three months, which I was leary of because I thought that would only build up more hormones. However, my PCP was currently on it herself and had been for a while. She said she'd experienced similar symptoms to me and really found that if anything, it helped her feel more balanced everyday whether she was on her cycle or not.
So I've been on it for two months myself and so far so good. So there's my suggestion and good luck with whatever you decide.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.! I am SO glad that you brought this up. I have been feeling this way too for the last 8 months, usually about 10 days before my period (which started becoming irregular). I'm not on any birth control and haven't been since 2003. I had a son in June 2005 and then another son in May 2006 so I thought it might just be my hormones all messed up w/the back to back pregnancies or I was perimenopausal so I had my primary MD run hormone tests and they came back normal twice. He even ran pregnancy tests and they were negative. So I went to see my OB and he said that it's not my hormones, that it may just be my system not communicating w/each other after the pregnancies AND that I may be also experiencing more prominent PMS symptoms at my age (37) which is normal. He also said that I was probably not ovulating for some reason so he prescribed Progesterone pills. I tried that a couple of months and felt better. My period was okay the following month without the Progesterone, but then I was late 12 days again the following month and wasn't pregnant and hormones were okay but period was very short. You didn't mention if your period was regular or irregular. Anyway, I went back to see my OB and he said that I could increase my dose on the Progesterone and try that again (which I will do next month) or get on birth control pill to get back on track and maybe feel better. So you might want to see your OB. Hope that helps. Take care, B.

P.S. I forgot to add that you might want to ask your MD to check your thyroid and to see if you're anemic or have an infection of any kind that might be the cause of your symptoms. They found that I had a recurrent UTI (which I've never had in my life until last yr) and my thyroid was fine and so was my blood count (not anemic) and everything else. Good luck and take care.

1 mom found this helpful

OH Girlfriend I SO know what you mean! My GYN told me that I just need more estrogen than most women do, and that as my estrogen level dropped pre-period, I would have zero energy. Like you, hubby got clipped, so birth control wasn't an issue. Not only was I tired, but also lacked balance, I was constantly getting into household accidents during that week (once I cut off the tip of my finger - stuff like that. The only thing that helped me was using an estrogen patch (Vivelle Dot)....ask your doc if he/she thinks that might help you. Good Luck! L.

1 mom found this helpful

D.,
our hormones shift and some experience PMS to the point of depression and other symptoms;do you think you are anemic? Eat lots of leafy greens, sunflower seeds, raisens, broccoli etc at this time.
I experienced stronger periods after baby# 1, and many women do...also if you have a 2 yr old and are working on your credential... life is exhausting; are you sleeping well? Are you getting any exercise? Also are you hydrated with 8-10 glasses of H20 a day?
See your MD for a blood test if this persisits-could be your thyroid too.
You may benefit from vitamins; I use the USANA brand that is 5 star and pharmaceutical grade,endorsed by Dr Christianne Northrup who wrote womens bodies , Womens Wisdom.
I aim to eat "whole foods' often, but have 2 teens, husband, physical therapy and fitness
businesses...and these vitamins...including fish oil for brain /heart health...help me have an enhanced feeling of wellness. I wake with energy, and go all day!
I can offer you a sample for 5 days if you like; typical vitamins (cos co etc)only have to have 40% of what they say they have in them; USANA are pharmaceutical grade and pure.
In Health,

M.

M. Mason-Cover, MS PT, ACE
Health and Wellness Educator
www.BenchFit.com
____@____.com
###-###-####

1 mom found this helpful

You may want to check w/ your doctor and try some form of hormones. I take Seasonale -- 3 month birth control --- at least you'd only be tired 4 weeks a year instead of 12. I am a teacher and just finished our 1st week back. I was so exhausted, I took a nap from 6-8pm and went to bed a 9pm. My husband gave me a hard time, but he just doesn't understand how exhausting the first weeks of school are -- 180 new faces, not to mention your body is not used to being on your feet all day in something besides sneakers and talking all the time. Good luck w/ your school year job.

1 mom found this helpful

Adrenal fatigue maybe?
http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/

I'm reading the book on that website now. (And yes, a crappy diet will play a part in it. I avoid sodas, junk food, but my diet is not as great as it can be. The book mentions chocolate (!!!!) as a trigger! The other day, I indulged myself in a hot chocolate made at home... within 2 hours I wanted to go to bed and stay there. :( Bums me out.... but now I just want to pay attention and keep a LOG of what the hell is triggering me, because it really sucks to be tired all the time. Especially being who I am - I like to be active with my kids.)

I am seeing a local MD who specializes in "anti-aging medicine" but it's just really alternative medicine. I have extreme fatigue from time to time and she is saying my adrenals are shot. (She went through the same thing and she said she was far worse than me.) My symptoms are different than yours (my period doesn't set me off every month) but I spent all weekend in bed... and reading the book I was trying to figure out "what set me off?" It wasn't my period... it was emotional. I was furious at a friend (and I never get furious at anybody).

In November 2006 she did a complete work up on me (including checking cortisol levels) and my testosterone and progesterone were extremely low. So were cortisol levels I think.

I'm getting tested again... she said levels came back a lot better... now my blood work is going in. When I saw her again in July (I bought a new mini-van and started having the WORSE headaches - due to the offgassing of formadelhyde and other chemicals in my new car) she gave me the "works" in supplements... all these herbal, non-harmful, adrenal support supplements. I do feel a lot better.

The book says that stress (obviously) is what does people in. A lot of people go-go-go (that was me) and don't stop to relax and recharge (me). The book also says that stress comes from all angles - marriage (unhappy marriages or relationships), children, job, etc... so basically as a married mom of 2 active children - ack!!!! LOL I have to be very careful to SLOW myself down and enjoy what I have.

Start reading that book and go from there. Hopefully you can find someone local who can help you. The problem with seeing a regular doctor is that they don't know how to help you and will do all the tests and most of it will come back normal and may just suggest counseling. Lots of stories like that in the book and the same happened to my husband (he is set off by colds and flu's - not me - and he is bedridden for a month.) Nobody knew how to help him and he isn't very open-minded to "try seeing this person instead."

1 mom found this helpful

I would try slow release iron tablets, they're over the counter, if it doesn't work have your dr. do a full blood work-up to check everything :)

1 mom found this helpful

Have you had your thyroid checked?

1 mom found this helpful

It might be worth having your iron levels checked. I'm not a doctor, but I recently had a test done and was surprised to find that my levels were low enough to leave me feeling pretty wiped out.

I'd never had a problem before or during my first pregnancy, but my doctor said it wasn't surprising, given that I've been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for most of the last 3 years.

1 mom found this helpful

Could be anemia? Try time release iron pills. Definitely talk to your OB about it. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D., My name is S. and I have three grown children and one teen adopted from an orphanage in Africa last year. I work in the health and wellness field. I hear your story daily and know that the reason this is happening is because your body is not making hormone properly. It is a breakdown of the endrocrine system. This happens to all of us as we live in a toxic world and live stressful lives. We also are challenged with eating right.
If you support the body with the right nutrients you will see a huge change in your energy levels. If you would like to know more about what nutrients could make a difference please let me know and I would be happy to talk with you.

S.

1 mom found this helpful

I will be 45 in 1 month. never had children & have the same symptoms. I am mostly concerned about the extreme fatigue. The irritability and lack of patience was always to be expected before my period. BUT the ftaigue is ongoing for almost a week and it interferes with my lifestyle. I excersize regulary, take GNC multi omega 3 , flax seed, amino acid, vitamin c without missing a beat. i have resorted to drinking speed shot energy drink, just to get me up and moving during this difficult time. I eat fresh veggies & fruit , all whole grains, nuts and do not eat red meat or pork. This problem is obviously hormonal related..but not sure what I can do to prevent it.

I have the same exact symptoms. I haven't found anything yet, but I sure am open to any comments and suggestions. It is hard functioning on a day to day basis sometimes.

Wow! When I began reading your post, for a moment I thought you were writing about me. I have been struggling with the same problem since the birth of my second child. I am extremely exhausted and lethargic all the time before my period. All I want to do is sleep. I usually lay down and totally pass out. I go through the moods, irritability, bloating and headaches.Have been to many different gynecologists and no one has been able to help me. It's been quite frustrating and I feel very helpless. Good to know that I am not alone.

D., I experienced the same symptoms until I saw a clinical nutritionist who figured out why that was happening. I took a few natural supplements and foods that she assessed would work for my body. TREMENDOUS DIFFERENCE... within a few days. I don't experience that fatigue any more.

Her name is Keverne Collison and she owns Balanced Vitality in Corona del Mar. ###-###-####

C., physical therapist
www.momeezpt.com

I have to say I am so glad I'm not alone ....I just woke up and am so tired still all I want to do is go back to bed..I am 2 days away from my menstrual cycle to begin and I just feel exhausted. I have read a lot of the responses and I be heard a lot of good advice . I just feel like I'm using my mind. I'm 35 and am already going through perimenopause so my symptoms have worsened.

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