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Low Energy Levels In Women: Causes and Solutions

04/07/2022 | 5 min. read

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Decreased energy very commonly affects both men and women. Most, if not all people, have experienced decreased energy at some point in their lives. 

While decreased energy is normal, it can significantly impact your quality of life if it occurs regularly. It can also be a symptom of an underlying health issue. 

While, as aforementioned, all genders can experience decreased energy levels, some of its causes are specific to women and females. 

Such cases should be addressed separately from the other more general causes of low energy. 

What Causes Low Energy Levels in Women?

There are many health issues and factors that are unique to women. This is because of their biological makeup and function, which differs from that of men. These are especially specific to their reproductive organs as well as their increased risk for certain disorders. 

Here are a few of the main reasons and causes. 

Iron Deficiency

Iron is one of the essential minerals our bodies need to function. One of the most important roles iron plays in the body is in red blood cell formation and transportation of oxygen throughout the body. 

Because a lack of oxygen flow can lead to fatigue and weakness, iron deficiency very often causes decreased energy. 

While both men and women are susceptible to iron deficiency, women are disproportionately impacted by it. Twenty percent of women are deficient in iron compared to only about four percent of men. 

This is because many female body functions such as menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause all reduce the amount of iron in the body. Menstruation specifically leads to loss of red blood cells which contain iron. 

Thyroid Problems

The thyroid is a gland in the body that secretes hormones and chemicals to help regulate body temperature, heart rate, and metabolism, among other things. It also plays a role in regulating energy levels in the body. 

While men can experience thyroid problems, women are five to eight times more likely to have thyroid problems. 

They are more commonly seen in women due to hormone fluctuations in the female body and afflict middle-aged women most of all. 

Pregnancy

While pregnancy is not an everyday cause of decreased energy levels, it is a cause that is unique to women and individuals with female reproductive organs. 

While generally speaking, pregnancy takes a toll on the female body and can lead to many health problems, it can also cause day-to-day lethargy and lack of energy. 

This is because the body’s resources are no longer just being used by one person; they are also being used by the fetus as it grows. 

Even after giving birth, many women may suffer from nutrient deficiencies and other health issues that may lead to fatigue and lack of energy. 

Hormonal Changes

As mentioned, hormonal changes very commonly occur throughout a woman’s life. They are caused by menstruation and changes to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. 

While going through hormonal changes, women may suffer from decreased energy and increased fatigue. Because periods are painful and drain the body of nutrients, they may contribute to decreased energy levels in women. 

The same can be said for pregnancy and menopause, during which nutrients are being used and hormones are interfering with the body’s regulation of energy levels. 

How Women Can Improve Their Energy Levels

In identifying the above causes behind decreased energy levels, we can better work towards finding specific solutions and improvements. 

Here are a few ways to do so. 

Increase Iron Intake

Iron deficiency is one of the main causes of decreased energy. Because women are especially susceptible to iron deficiency, women and individuals with female reproductive organs need to consume a sufficient amount of iron daily. 

Women should consume 16 to 19 milligrams of iron a day depending on their age and size. Some iron-rich foods include: 

  • Beef or chicken liver, which delivers 3.5 milligrams of iron a serving. 
  • Mussels, oysters, and sardines contain two to three milligrams of iron a serving. 
  • Red meat and chicken, which provided anywhere from 0.6 to two milligrams of iron a serving. 
  • Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale deliver anywhere from one to four milligrams of iron a serving. 

If you do not get enough iron in your diet or are struggling with severe deficiency, you may want to consider taking an iron supplement as well. 

Get Sufficient Rest

As either a man or a woman, one of the best ways to restore energy is to focus on getting sufficient rest. 

This is especially important for women as a lack of sleep regulation can negatively affect hormonal balance in the body. 

This is because hormones that regulate sleep and energy are closely related to those that regulate female hormones as well as those that are regulated by the thyroid. 

Rest is especially important for women who are pregnant or menstruating, as the body uses up a lot of energy during those periods. 

To ensure sufficient rest, try to avoid distractions before bed. It is also best to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day. 

Consider Taking Tailored Supplements

Alongside iron, the female body needs many other vitamins to function and prevent lapses in energy. A few of these include the B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D. 

While it is best to focus on getting these vitamins and nutrients from your diet, sometimes supplements can help cover all the ones you missed and give you extra support. 

Many women’s vitamins are built especially to cover female needs, and may help improve energy levels when coupled with a balanced diet and lifestyle. 

Sources: 

Postpartum depression | Women’s Health 

What health issues or conditions are specific to women only? | NIH 

Blog – Why am I so tired? Common causes of women's fatigue | Main Line Health

Healthy Directions Staff Editor