Newspoll research* released today reveals a ‘fatigue phenomenon’ which is hitting women hard, interfering with their sex and social lives and is also making them clumsy, angry and impatient. Yet women are dismissive of the severity and impact of their tiredness, with 83 percent (translating to 4.5 million Aussie women) simply accepting it as part of life.
The research shows six-in-ten women admit their tiredness is getting in the way of not only having sex, but also feeling sexy, while a total of seven-in-ten confess to letting friendships fall or skipping the social scene because they are just too exhausted.
Additionally, nine-in-ten women admit to clumsy behaviour as a result of being worn out, with the majority admitting to losing items, bumping into and tripping over things.
The ‘fatigue phenomenon’ doesn’t discriminate, with both stay-at-home mums and fulltime professional women falling victims.
Nine-in-ten admit to feeling irritable, angry and impatient with family and friends, and just under half are less affectionate towards their partner or children because of their tiredness. Experts are urging women to take their tiredness more seriously as it may not necessarily be due to everyday life.
“Many women often blame the symptoms of tiredness on a hectic lifestyle and therefore the underlying problem is never discovered. Feeling tired and run down can actually be signs of iron deficiency,” says Dr James Biggs, haematologist with a long-standing interest in iron metabolism.
“These new findings confirm that regardless of age, social standing and profession, being tired is something all Australian women have in common,” said Dr Biggs.
The findings also reveal most women try to self-manage their tiredness. Australian women are attempting to fight fatigue by getting a better night’s sleep (84 percent), trying to worry less (77 percent) and trying to achieve a better work-life balance (59 percent).
However, Dr Amanda Patterson from the Nutrition and Dietetics department, School of Health Sciences, University of Newcastle, says sometimes it’s not that simple or clear cut. “Women should seriously consider getting their iron levels checked to see if iron deficiency is the cause of their tiredness, especially as one-in-three women has been diagnosed as having iron deficiency at some stage in their life.
“Simple solutions such as dietary changes or supplementation can result in improved concentration and reduced fatigue. Iron is a vital mineral and iron deficiency is associated with decreased general health and increased fatigue, so it’s a vicious circle for many women. It’s not surprising that women’s lives are impacted on a personal and social level,” said Dr Patterson.
Women can become iron deficient for many reasons including a poor diet, heavy periods, pregnancy or from suffering a prolonged illness. The amount of iron absorbed by each individual differs and depends on the amount of iron already stored in the body.
Dr Biggs adds “For women who have a poor diet, heavy periods or during pregnancy, it’s important to be aware that iron deficiency might be the problem. Women should consult their GP for advice, investigation and treatment.”
*Newspoll research conducted online in March 2008 amongst 1,036 females aged 18-54 nationally on their beliefs in relation to
tiredness, commissioned by Abbott Australasia