Could fatigue be due to stress?

My daughter is nearly a year old, and although I breastfed her only for the first three months, I've only had two periods since she was born. I'm also exhausted all the time (I work full-time), am a few pounds underweight, and have a lower-than-normal sex drive, but when I went to the doctor, she could find nothing wrong: I don't have a thyroid problem, I'm not anemic, and my prolactin levels are normal. Could this simply be the result of stress?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Although the 2 periods since delivery is quite normal, your exhaustion affects all aspects of your life - your relationship with your husband, your daughter and with the outside world.

I'm wondering if depression isn't a possibility. There is some interesting research being done on the need for additional estrogen in some women to prevent postpartum depression. If you are not getting periods, this sounds like a reasonable hypothesis. If you can find a physician who would prescribe a estrogen progesterone combination similar to that used in menopause, that might help.

Stress can cause anything I've learned over the years, and it is extremely stressful caring for a pre-toddler without your symptoms but must be very difficult considering the fatigue.

I would recommend lots of sunlight, an extremely good diet rich in B vitamins and even an extra B6 supplement, and an exercise program. See if you cannot get a mother's helper to play with the baby while you read a book, soak in the tub or start a hobby. Plan a get away once a month with your husband. Play groups are a good thing to establish or join also. After a few months, the parents sometimes do exchange programs for overnights if no grandparents are close by.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is another consideration here. Change care providers if you must to get the required help.

I wish you success in dealing with this.

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