Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a long-lasting condition in which one experiences extreme exhaustion that is not linked to an underlying medical condition. This feeling of constant tiredness doesn’t go away with rest and only increases with mental or physical activities. A person who has CFS is not able to shed off the fatigue even after a good night’s sleep and wakes up tired.

This fatigue syndrome is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis and systemic exertion intolerance disease. It is quite challenging to diagnose because it shares symptoms with other illnesses as well. The exact cause behind this condition hasn’t been found yet, however, it is thought that stress, viral infections or both can be behind it.

Symptoms Of CFS

The symptoms of this condition vary from one person to another. Fatigue is the primary symptom of the ailment. However, one must experience it for about 6 months for it to be confirmed that he has the condition. Other symptoms of SEID include loss of focus and memory, muscle pain, headaches, sore throat, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, swollen lymph nodes, and joint pain.

Chronic insomnia also accompanies chronic fatigue syndrome as a symptom. What’s more, victims of this syndrome may not be able to feel refreshed even after sleeping. Their fatigue may worsen following physical and mental activities which in itself is a condition called post-exertional malaise. One may experience CFS in a cycle of remission and relapse.

Causes Behind CFS

The cause behind chronic fatigue syndrome has not been found yet. Researchers have so far come to the conclusion that hormonal imbalances, stress, weakened immunity, and viruses can be behind the condition. Bacterial infections can also be a cause and a combination of these factors may be the cause behind ME as well.

Emotional trauma, other than stress, can be the cause behind it too. Over and above that, women are more likely to experience CFS than men by two to four times. The condition is likely to develop when a person is in his 40s and 50s. Allergies and genetics are two risk factors that can raise one’s chances of developing the disease.

Treatment Of CFS

There is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome as of yet. Doctors develop treatment plans based on patients’ set of symptoms. The goal is to eliminate the symptoms of the condition. In this regard, a structured exercise plan may be recommended to alleviate PEM. Cognitive behavioral therapy may also be used for treatment purposes.

Medications for improving sleep, relieving pain, etc. are also recommended. Over and above that, certain lifestyle changes can also help improve one’s condition such as cutting back on alcohol and nicotine use. Alternative medicine such as yoga, acupuncture, massage, etc. can also be added to one’s treatment plan for better results.

Key Takeaway

A person with chronic fatigue syndrome experiences extreme tiredness that continues for more than 6 months. This syndrome can develop due to an infection, stress, trauma, etc. It can be challenging to diagnose and treat. CBT, structured exercise, prescription medicine and alternative medicine can be used as part of the treatment plan.