Seven Causes of Fatigue—and How to Fight Them!  

BY Advocate Contributors

July 20 2011 4:00 AM ET

 Undiagnosed Urinary Tract Infection

Although most women associate a urinary tract infection with symptoms such as burning or urgency, Goldberg says in some instances fatigue may be your only clue.

'Not every woman has obvious symptoms of a UTI. Some have no symptoms or mild symptoms that go unnoticed, except for the fatigue,' she says.

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 physician suspects that you have a UTI, your urine will be tested. Treatment is quick and easy, and usually involves an oral antibiotic medication. Goldberg says the fatigue will lift within a week or less.

If your symptoms return, get tested again, she says, because in some women, UTI’s are chronic. If this is the case, talk to your doctor about preventive care, including low dose antibiotics.

Caffeine Overload

Many of us grab a coffee or cola for a quick burst of energy, but for some women, caffeine can have the opposite effect.

In an article published in the journal US Pharmacist, author W. Stephen Pray, PhD, RPh, reports that caffeine is a stimulant, but if you take too much, the tables can turn.

“In some patients, continued abuse results in fatigue,' according to Pray. And if you think this means you simply require more caffeine to get the kick, this isn't the case. 'Any attempts to solve the problem by increasing caffeine intake causes the fatigue to worsen,' he says.

The solution: Eliminate as much caffeine from your diet as possible. This means not only cutting out coffee. Chocolate, tea, soda, and even some medications also contain caffeine and could be causing unexplained fatigue.

Food Allergies

While food is supposed to give us energy, some doctors believe hidden food intolerances—or allergies—can do the opposite. According to Rudy Rivera, MD, author of Your Hidden Food Allergies Are Making You Fat, even mild food intolerance can leave you feeling sleepy. Eat the offending food long enough and you could find yourself feeling continually exhausted.

'Evidence indicates food intolerance as a cause of fatigue, and even suggests that fatigue may be an early warning sign of food intolerance,' he says.

If you suspect that food may be behind all that yawning, Rivera says to start with an elimination diet, cutting out foods that cause you to feel sleepy within 10 to 30 minutes of eating them. You can also talk to your doctor about a food allergy test—or invest in a home test such as ALCAT—which may help you identify the offending foods.



























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