Being constantly tired is NOT normal. And when you’re tired with PCOS, its a double whammy.
Your body is incredibly clever. Your body is programmed to be awake for the day, to be working efficiently and giving you the energy to lead a fulfilled life. But why are so many women constantly tired with PCOS?
Why is it so common?
I thought for years that it must be to do with the hormone imbalance in my body that was contributing to the highs and lows I experienced throughout a typical day at the office. Walking in with my eyes still shut, downing black coffee thinking it would give me the energy boost I needed. Watching the clock count down until 12 so I could stuff my face with a salad hoping it would give me the spring in my step back.
But no, this led to feeling even more tired, struggling to see my screen and reaching for anything sugary I could get my hands on.
I’d drag myself to a gym class after work I didn’t want to do, getting home and barely being able to shower only wanting to crawl into bed and think negative thoughts about myself.
To start the process all over again the next day.
Being tired with PCOS is not fun and it’s not pretty.
Can you relate?
Your hormone imbalance actually isn’t the reason behind your fatigue, it’s the mechanism that’s causing it. Stressing our hormones out by crazy workouts, eating the wrong foods causing a sugar roller-coaster and restricting our bodies from the nutritious foods it really needs.
The good news though, we can kill two birds with one stone here. If we treat the underlying cause through diet and lifestyle, in turn both will be fixed. Et Voila!
Why are you tired with PCOS?
‘Adrenal Fatigue’ is the most common one we see. Simply put, it’s when you’ve been stressed for a very long time and your stress response doesn’t work properly anymore.
Many factors can contribute to this, which you might not even realise. Hence I always call stress the ‘silent killer’. Yes there is stress from work – horrendous clients, demanding bosses, running around to meetings all over the place and just generally being run into the ground.
However, we also get stressed from other areas in our life – over exercising, chronic illnesses which take us time to recover from, lack of sleep, not eating the right foods and so on.
I was exactly this, and it’s what I see from so many of my clients too. High stressed jobs, not putting themselves first, trying to smash HIIT workouts on literally no calories. It’s completely chaotic for your body and your hormones – hence being tired with PCOS will hit you slam bang in the face!
Cortisol is your key stress hormone, and one I talk about a lot on my 1 to 1 coaching. There’s another one we need to know called DHEA-S. Its basically testosterones brother and can cause hair growth, acne and mess with our periods.
30% of women with PCOS have high levels of DHEA-S.
That my ladies is a root cause. This is what is causing your fatigue or majorly contributing to it.
The blood sugar Roller-coaster
Cortisol also has another function and that’s to release stored blood sugar when your body needs it. Glucose is stored as Glycogen in the liver. When our levels drop cortisol helps to release it.
If we have low levels of cortisol, your body won’t get the adequate amount of glucose it needs to bring your levels back to normal, which leads to you feeling haaaangry. Tired, jittery, shakey and basically craving sugar.
Vitamins and Minerals – are you deficient?
There is a huge community of these that our bodies need to function properly. Some are produced in the body, but some we don’t get enough from outsources and can affect our overall ability to perform well.
Iron deficiency is a major problem. Its what transports oxygen around our body – what we need to survive.
11% of women in the western world are said to be deficient.
If we’re already tired with PCOS and then are deficient in Iron, we’re really in for hard time.
B12 – An Essential Part of of life
B12 is something I personally suffered with, and I went through a very scary experience in Dubai. I was on metformin for many years, taking a completely abnormal amount prescribed from my doctor. Little did I know then as of course, we believe our doctor right?!
B12 is critical for our body to make energy. If we only have 50% of it, we’ll only produce 50% of the energy we normally would.
Metformin literally strips your body from B12. After years of abusing this drug, I started to feel insanely tired, sleeping all the time and could hardly keep my eyes open.
A normal level of B12 is 250-900 ng/mL, but you want to be more towards 900 of course.
When I went to the doctors with my symptoms, my doctor literally didn’t understand how I was still standing awake. My level was 58, the lowest he had ever seen. I had to have a B12 injection in my bum every day for 2 weeks, and consistently every month for a good year.
Absolutely madness that a legal, prescribed drug can have such a detrimental affect on other essential functions of your body.
I can’t express enough girls – be SO careful with metformin!
What’s a normal level of tiredness?
To be honest, so many things are considered ‘normal’ in this crazy world we live in and have just been ‘accepted’ that It’s hard to distinguish.
If you’ve had a very busy day, running around looking after kids, school runs, in the office hitting deadlines and fitting in a gym session then yes its normal to get into bed at 10pm and fall asleep with a few minutes of trying.
What’s not normal is to wake up loads in the night, struggle to switch off, or wake up feeling like you’ve literally been hit by a bus.
HOW TO GET MORE ENERGY WITH PCOS
Just to make sure we actually see what’s going on inside of you, I’d advise anyone to get their bloods checked for thyroid function, iron and vitamin B12.
My other recommendations may seem simple, but they are crucial to stop feeling tired with PCOS.
Put yourself first ladies, I’m pretty sure your job would be able to replace you the next day as harsh as that might be. You only have yourself to rely on in this world so look after it!
Obviously, everyone needs to work to survive (well, most of us!) but you can still do this and not be so stressed it detriments your health. Clock off at a reasonable hour, put your phone on silent mode an hour before you sleep, take yourself to the spa and treat yourself, catch up with your friends and have a giggle.
Mix up your Training
Say goodbye to spin and HIIT for a while. Give your body a break. Try something new like hot yoga or pilates, take a long stroll (doing work calls while walking is what you call multi-tasking) and incorporate strength training.
Lifting weights really will change the game.
Cut the Caffeine
I promise you, you do NOT need coffee to survive. You might think caffeine has a positive affect on your energy levels but its only contributing to your adrenal glands which will produce even more stress hormones.
If you love the taste of coffee like I do, make the swap to de-cafe! You might experience some headaches as you wein yourself off it but trust me it’s worth it.
To sum it up, feeling tired is part of life but feeling CONSTANTLY tired is not. It’s not normal or nice to not be living your best life and like most things, there is something you can do about it just through diet and lifestyle.
I’d love to help you.
Lots of love cyster – take care of yourself.