Tired young woman with hand on her face and wondering about low energy levels in females

Understanding low energy levels in females

Medically reviewed on April 24, 2023 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Table of contents

Gender-based fatigue is a problem that affects females of all ages and occupations. Women working in highly-skilled jobs report experiencing workplace burnout and fatigue at nearly a 50% higher rate than population averages. [1] In labor roles, women likewise experience extreme fatigue and pain around twice as often as their male colleagues. [2]

Fatigue follows women as they age as well, and females are susceptible to higher levels of persistent exhaustion at every stage of life more than men are. [3]

What causes low energy levels in females? From hormonal changes to emotional factors, this guide unpacks the reasons why many women consistently feel tired and explores what they can do to address it.

1. Hormonal shifts

From ovulation and menstruation to menopause, women experience significant hormonal changes throughout their lifetimes. The effects these changes have on mood, appetite, and libido are well-known. Perhaps less widely understood, however, are the complex reasons that hormonal shifts may cause extreme fatigue in women, including how they can:

  • Disturb sleep patterns – Do women need more sleep? Women usually tend to sleep longer than men. However, research shows that fluctuations in ovarian hormone levels, such as estrogen or progesterone, can make it difficult for women to fall asleep. Such hormone spikes disrupt the circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock that regulates sleep. Hence, women experience sleep-related disorders, such as insomnia and Restless Leg Syndrome, almost twice as often as men. [4]
  • Weaken women’s muscles – Women experiencing the largest hormonal fluctuations of their monthly cycle, including during ovulation and menstruation, are also more susceptible to muscle fatigue and failure. [5] Weakened, tired muscles can make doing basic tasks more difficult, compounding the fatigue women feel during their cycles.
  • Affect women as they age – As women enter menopause, reproductive hormone levels drop significantly. This sudden change can cause women to suffer shifting moods, stress, and fatigue symptoms. Women experiencing menopause report physical and mental exhaustion at more than twice the rate of premenopausal women (46.5% versus 19.7%). [6]

So, next time you ask yourself “Why am I so tired on my period,” remember that your hormones play a large role in regulating your body.

2. Nutrition

Getting enough healthy food is essential to elevating and maintaining energy levels. With an improper diet, anyone can be at risk of experiencing malnutrition. Women, however, are at a greater risk of suffering from malnutrition than men due to the increased caloric requirements arising from [7]:

  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy
  • Lactation

These elevated nutritional needs, coupled with a variety of gender-based social factors, mean women suffer some nutrition-related issues more acutely than men, including:

  • Hunger – Women and young girls are 50% more likely to suffer from food insecurity than males. [8] And sufficient nutrition is a key factor in powering the body, raising energy levels, and overcoming fatigue. Inadequate nutrition, on the other hand, can lead to a variety of other medical conditions, including stunted growth and anemia.
  • Anemia – Anemia is a blood disorder generally caused by a lack of essential vitamins in one’s body, such as iron, folate, and B12. It can lead to lethargy and tiredness and affects women at a disproportionate rate. [9] Almost 30% of women suffer from anemia, and that figure rises to almost 40% for pregnant women. [10] Women who are menstruating, especially those with heavy menses, are at increased risk for anemia.
  • Magnesium deficiencies – A lack of magnesium can lead to nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. And women are more likely to have insufficient magnesium levels in their bodies, especially past menopause—where up to 84% of women were found to be magnesium deficient. Aside from forgoing fatigue, sufficient magnesium can help prevent the onset of more serious issues, such as osteoporosis. [11]

Womens Health support

3. Emotional factors

Often, energy levels aren’t about how you fuel your body, but how you feel. Emotional stress and mental illness can leave you low and unmotivated—symptoms that feel a lot like fatigue when they’re happening.

Unfortunately, women are also at a greater risk of developing:

  • Depression – Women develop Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) at twice the rate that men do. Symptoms can include apathy, insomnia, and decreased appetite—all of which are major contributors to draining energy levels and leaving women feeling fatigued. [12]
  • Stress and anxiety – Like MDD, women are two times as likely to develop stress and anxiety-related mental health illnesses as men are. [13] Symptoms can mirror those of MDD as well, including loss of appetite, disturbances to sleep patterns, muscle tension, and general fatigue symptoms. [14]

Assess low energy levels with help from Everlywell

So, what can women do about low energy levels? The first step to preventing fatigue is understanding its cause. With a wide variety of potential factors contributing to low energy levels in females, it can be helpful to seek professional medical consultation to determine the best personal treatment.

Fatigue and its root causes, such as depression, can make seeking help feel difficult. Fortunately, if you’re dealing with low energy levels, Everlywell can assess and deliver care, all while you stay in the comfort of your own home.

Start by looking at our online health services for women. You’ll begin by speaking to a clinician who will assess and recommend further care—such as testing, prescriptions, or changes in lifestyle. Then, depending on the specifics of your condition, you can receive treatment and monitoring via Everlywell’s intuitive telehealth platform. You may also want to consider taking the at-home female hormone Test to measure 11 key biomarkers known to play an important role in women’s overall health.

Reach out to learn more about how Everlywell can help you raise your energy levels and rejuvenate your body.

Why am I so tired on my period?

Do women need more sleep?

What This Women’s Hormone Test Can Reveal About Your Health


  1. Verdonk, P., Hooftman, W.E., van Veldhoven, M.J.P.M. et al. Work-related fatigue: the specific case of highly educated women in the Netherlands. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 83, 309–321 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-009-0481-y
  2. Athena K. Ramos, Marcela Carvajal-Suarez, Natalia Trinidad, Tzeyu L. Michaud, Brandon Grimm, Tricia LeVan & Mohammad Siahpush (2020) A Cross-sectional Study of Gender-related Differences in Reporting Fatigue and Pain among Latino/A Migrant Farmworkers, Journal of Agromedicine, 25:3, 319-329. https://doi.org/10.1080/1059924X.2020.1713272
  3. Engberg, I., Segerstedt, J., Waller, G., Wennberg, P., & Eliasson, M. (2017). Fatigue in the general population- associations to age, sex, socioeconomic status, physical activity, sitting time and self-rated health: the northern Sweden MONICA study 2014. BMC public health, 17(1), 654. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4623-y
  4. Dorsey, A., de Lecea, L., & Jennings, K. J. (2021). Neurobiological and Hormonal Mechanisms Regulating Women's Sleep. Frontiers in neuroscience, 14, 625397. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2020.625397
  5. Peltonen, H., Mikkonen-Taipale, R., Uimonen, T., Walker, S., Hackney, A. C., Valtonen, M., Kyröläinen, H., & Ihalainen, J. K. (2022). Power Loading-Induced Fatigue Is Influenced by Menstrual Cycle Phase. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 54(7), 1190–1198. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000002904
  6. Taylor-Swanson, L., Wong, A. E., Pincus, D., Butner, J. E., Hahn-Holbrook, J., Koithan, M., Wann, K., & Woods, N. F. (2018). The dynamics of stress and fatigue across menopause: attractors, coupling, and resilience. Menopause (New York, N.Y.), 25(4), 380–390. https://doi.org/10.1097/GME.0000000000001025
  7. United Nations Standing Committee on Hunger. Gender. https://www.unscn.org/en/topics/gender
  8. World Food Program USA. Gender Inequality. https://www.wfpusa.org/drivers-of-hunger/gender-inequality/
  9. Turner J, Parsi M, Badireddy M. Anemia. [Updated 2022 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499994/
  10. World Health Organization. WHO Global Anaemia estimates, 2021 Edition. https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/themes/topics/anaemia_in_women_and_children.
  11. DiNicolantonio, J. J., O'Keefe, J. H., & Wilson, W. (2018). Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open heart, 5(1), e000668. https://doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2017-000668
  12. Sabic, D., Sabic, A., & Bacic-Becirovic, A. (2021). Major Depressive Disorder and Difference between Genders. Materia socio-medica, 33(2), 105–108. https://doi.org/10.5455/msm.2021.33.105-108
  13. Maeng, L. Y., & Milad, M. R. (2015). Sex differences in anxiety disorders: Interactions between fear, stress, and gonadal hormones. Hormones and behavior, 76, 106–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2015.04.002
  14. Chand SP, Marwaha R. Anxiety. [Updated 2022 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470361/
Everlywell makes lab testing easy and convenient with at-home collection and digital results in days. Learn More