Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as systemic exertion intolerance disease or myalgic encephalomyelitis, is a complex disorder wherein the patient experiences extreme tiredness that cannot be explained by any underlying condition. It can happen suddenly and can last for months or years, and it may be accompanied by muscle aches.
Physical or mental activity may worsen chronic fatigue syndrome. There is no cure yet for this condition, but treatment can help ease the symptoms.
Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There are many theories regarding the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome, from viral infections to psychological stress. However, medical professionals still haven’t identified its specific cause, insofar as why some people have this reaction to the infection or the stress while others do not.
Some people may be predisposed to CFS, and the condition can therefore be triggered by several factors, including the following:
Complications of the immune system
- Hormonal irregularities
- Viral infections
There’s no individual test used to conclude a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome because its symptoms mimic other health issues. You may need several medical tests to get a diagnosis. Treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome mainly focuses on relieving the symptoms accompanying it.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The signs of chronic fatigue syndrome can match the symptoms of other diseases like influenza. CFS symptoms can make a person’s daily life challenging, and symptoms may come and go over time. Its severity may also increase or decrease.
Some of the symptoms are the following:
- Muscle pains
- Joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Sleep difficulties
- Cognitive difficulties, such as attention and memory problems
- Severe, unrelenting fatigue lasting for months, regardless of sleep
- Extreme tiredness for more than 24 hours after physical or mental activity
- Sensitivity to light
The less-common symptoms of CFS may include:
- Numbness in the hands, face, or feet
- Mood swings, anxiety, and irritability
- Night sweats
- Vision problems
- Bowel issues (diarrhea, painful bloating, gas, constipation)
Who Can Get CFS?
The following factors may increase your risk of developing chronic fatigue syndrome:
- Women are more likely to be diagnosed with CFS than are men.
- Young children and teenagers can develop CFS, but it is more common in adults in their 40s and 50s.
- If you have difficulty handling stress, you are more at risk of developing chronic fatigue syndrome.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The diagnosis of CFS depends on two main criteria:
- Duration and severity of symptoms: If the chronic tiredness lasts for more than six months, and there is no other underlying medical condition
- Number of symptoms: Four or more symptoms of CFS can lead to a diagnosis
Regarding treatment, vitamin supplements and medicines can help by alleviating the symptoms. Your doctor will take into account the severity of your condition, overall health, medical history, resistance to specific medicines, and procedures or therapies you have had in the past.
The prescribed treatment may include the following:
- Low-impact aerobic exercise
- Medications including corticosteroids, antidepressants, and pain relievers
- Herbal products and dietary supplements
- Psychotherapy and supportive counseling
- Nerve blocks
Pain Management Experts in Austin, Texas
Chronic fatigue syndrome can have many adverse effects on your life. It can restrict your relationships with other people and limit your movements. If you’re feeling symptoms mirroring chronic fatigue syndrome, it is best to consult with medical professionals who can guide you in dealing with these problems.
Our skilled staff here at Balcones Pain Consultants will work closely with you in identifying and developing the most efficient course of treatment for your specific needs. Our medical team will answer your questions about chronic fatigue syndrome and pain management.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact us today by calling us at (512) 834-4141 or fill out our appointment request form now. We look forward to helping you get to the bottom of your condition so you can get back to enjoying life again.