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PCOS & Fatigue

PCOS & Fatigue?noresize

If you have PCOS and feel chronically fatigued (a.k.a overtired), you may be surprised to know that PCOS and fatigue are actually related. While fatigue symptoms may occur for anyone, PCOS has three specific linkages to your chronic fatigue:

Potential Causes for PCOS Fatigue:

Iron Deficiency

Iron transports oxygen throughout your body, so when your iron levels are low, your body will feel rundown and extremely tired.  Due to hormone imbalance and/or heavy menstrual cycle (typical symptom of PCOS), iron deficiency is common.  Check with your doctor to monitor your iron levels before adding in any supplementation.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function and DNA production. Adequate B12 levels also help maintain energy. Your body generally does a great job at storing B12; however, certain medicines can deplete B12 storage. For example, metformin and certain birth control pills may be a culprit.

Insulin Resistance

With a PCOS diagnosis, insulin resistance may also become an issue. If you eat high carbohydrate meals, your body may over-produce insulin, which is then quickly followed by a blood sugar crash…and (you guessed it) extreme fatigue.

A few ways to combat PCOS and fatigue include:

Sleep

This may seem like an obvious answer, but, adequate sleep helps manage your insulin levels, plus good quality sleep helps every system in your body function at its best.  Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

Diet

Most commonly, low energy is related to the foods you eat. Eating a diet high in simple or highly refined carbohydrates may cause you to feel exhausted because of your blood sugar response. Add whole-food starches like brown rice, quinoa or sweet potatoes with higher fiber to slow digestion. Slow digestion prevents an insulin spike (meaning no blood sugar crash!). One way to combat swinging insulin levels is to practice a PCOS-friendly diet – eating a protein at every meal, including slow-digesting carbohydrates, and avoiding dairy when possible

Dehydration

Your body is nearly 70% water and needs adequate hydration in order to provide consistent energy all day long. If you’re starting to feel thirsty, it may mean you are already slightly dehydrated, which may cause fatigue. A good rule of thumb is to drink 64 oz of water daily (though everyone’s needs are different depending on height, weight, age etc.)

Check out our main page to read more about foods to avoid, foods to eat, and how to make easy changes as part of a healthy PCOS diet.

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