How WellnessScript patients go from low energy and brain fog to feeling energized and thriving without bouncing around from doctor to doctor to get proper treatment.
After finally getting the treatment I needed to handle the extreme fatigue and body aches I was experiencing daily, my life completely changed.
I went from waking up late and taking several daily naps to feeling energized, focused and thriving. My life now has purpose!…
…but what caused such a shift in my energy levels? ––
Fatigue has many causes: some are simple (“I didn’t sleep well last night”) while others are more complex (“I haven an ongoing autoimmune disease”). Fatigue that lasts more than a couple of weeks and isn’t explained by an obvious cause should be evaluated appropriately.
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Unfortunately, traditional (transactional) medicine falls short when it comes to investigating your fatigue in depth. Because there are so many possibilities to sort out in the usual 10-15 minute office visit, most doctors take a superficial approach. In the end, you may end up with a prescription for a stimulant, or an antidepressant, or with some shallow advice: “You just need to slow down.”
How do you slow down when you are already dragging?
It may take some time and testing to figure out what is causing your fatigue, and many times it isn’t one thing. Working with a holistic clinician–one who will evaluate physical, emotional, and lifestyle contributions–can help you figure out the root cause of your fatigue and get you feeling like yourself again.
Here are some of the most common causes of fatigue that I see in my practice:
- Adrenal fatigue–when stress dominates your existence for a long period of time, your body’s chronic stress hormone, cortisol, is released by the adrenal glands in excess. Cortisol disturbs almost every bodily function, including sleep, sugar metabolism, and hormone function. Eventually, with prolonged stress cortisol levels become depleted, and severe, unrelenting fatigue follows.
- Low thyroid function (hypothyroidism)–since the role of thyroid hormone is to set the “pace” of all of the body’s functions, is makes sense that a low functioning thyroid feels like someone just turned down every dial in your body. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism, along with weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, constipation, and palpitations.
- Perimenopause–when female hormones start to wane in perimenopause, sleep is disturbed (most often from progesterone deficiency). Having frequent awakenings during the night, and difficulty going back to sleep, will most certainly cause fatigue!
- Nutritional deficiencies–even if you consume a decent diet, the nutritional value of many foods has changed over the years, making it more difficult for some of us to get the right balance of nutrients from the foods we eat. Throw in some genetic predisposition to proper use of nutrients in the body, and you have yourself a nice recipe for fatigue! Most doctors will check the obvious nutrients (like iron and B12), but to really understand the full picture, a more in depth evaluation is necessary.
- Poor sleep hygiene–many of us are guilty of falling asleep with our smart phones in hand, or with the TV on. Or we go to bed at different times every night, sometimes falling asleep on the couch. These poor sleep habits disrupt our normal circadian rhythm, leading to poor quality sleep. We may be getting 7-8 hours of sleep, but they are not restorative ones.
- Caffeine or alcohol use–many of us are sensitive to caffeine, lacking the genetics to process it well. If we drink caffeinated beverages too close to bedtime, we may have difficulty falling asleep. As we slog through our day, we may rely on caffeine to get us through, putting additional stress on our adrenal glands. Similarly, alcohol can be very disruptive to good sleep, causing shifts in blood sugar, and waking us up when the alcohol leaves our system.
- Sleep apnea–when the soft palate portion of the back of our throat temporarily cuts off our breathing, we experience an apnea episode. This is more common in people with nasal obstruction (allergies, deviated septum), or obesity (the weight of the neck presses down on the throat). Sometimes we are jarred awake by the episode, but other times the apnea doesn’t fully wakes us, but it keeps us from falling into deep, restorative sleep.
While this is an obviously incomplete list of causes, it is important to discover why you are tired. Your health and happiness depend on it.
At WellnessScript, we focus on solving health problems others can’t. Our video appointments bring experts from across the country into your home or office and are great for everyone as they fit into our crazy and hectic schedules and ensure that you have the time you need to feel heard and get all of your questions answered.
$250 Initial Consult - 1 hour
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Dr. Tiffany Mullen, DO
Follow-up Appointment: $125 for 30 min/$250 for 60 min
Expertise: Hormonal balancing, hormone replacement, menopause, thyroid problems, autoimmune disease, genetics
Clinical Experience: 20+ years of practicing medicine, certified in integrative and functional medicine, dual board certification in family medicine and integrative medicine.