Do I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And How Did I Get It?

Do I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And How Did I Get It?

do i have chronic fatigue syndrome

 

Do I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome + How Did I Get It?

Are You wondering ‘Do I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’?

Well you might wonder, because chronic fatigue syndrome is a misunderstood condition. There is no single test diagnosing this illness making it tricky to identify.

Your doctor will rule out other illnesses first before giving a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating disorder with the main characteristic being unrelenting fatigue not relieved by sleep.

The fatigue can be so severe that it affects your daily activities. Many people have to stop working completely or reduce their work hours to cope with the many accompanying symptoms.

Each persons’ experience of chronic fatigue syndrome is individual. Some people can continue working whilst others are completely bedridden. Many sufferers have to change their lifestyle completely in order to find a way of dealing with their illness. Often an option is to reduce full time work to part time as a way to cope with reduced energy levels.

The feelings of fatigue experienced are not normal tiredness. Rather, it is an overwhelming feeling that you are walking through wet cement. Everyday feels like you are battling with the flu or a virus. However, unlike the flu your body just doesn’t bounce back.

You wake up exhausted and continue through the day exhausted. The exhaustion is complete and unrelenting. The fatigue does not diminish with a full night’s sleep. Poor sleep quality and sleep disturbances are common.

In some cases, chronic fatigue syndrome can appear to go into some form of remission for a while. But it reappears again later, often in an even more serious form as further body systems are affected and begin to falter.

There is no single identifiable cause of the illness. Many other illnesses produce similar symptoms. This makes chronic fatigue syndrome challenging to diagnose. A diagnosis can also take quite some time to come up with. Your doctor arrives at the diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome by first eliminating other illnesses.

Chronic fatigue syndrome affects more women than men, and commonly during middle age. However children and teenagers can also have the illness. Because you probably do not look ill, doctors might not recognize that you do in fact have an illness.

Some symptoms that affect people with chronic fatigue syndrome include:

  • Debilitating fatigue – this is the main symptom, fatigue that is not improved with rest.
  • Brain fog – short term memory issues and difficulty concentrating or focusing on a task. 
  • Muscle aches and pains – unexplained tightness in muscles, particularly in the neck, shoulders and upper back. Feeling like you have had a good work out.
  • Post Exertional Malaise – a lack of stamina and delayed exhaustion from mental or physical activity that can last for several days. 
  • Unrefreshing sleep – waking up still tired after a full nights’ sleep.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in neck and armpits – experiencing swollen glands often.
  • Recurring sore throat- often having painful inflamed sore throats.
  • Digestive complaints – bloating, indigestion, diarrhea or constipation.
  • Fluid retention – generalized fluid retention.
  • Sleep problems – difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep.

 

What Happens When You Ask Your Doctor – ‘ Do I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’?

do i have chronic fatigue syndromeFirst your doctor will review your medical history. Doing lab tests will rule out other possible illnesses. The doctor will review your symptoms to make sure you exhibit a few of those listed above.

Additionally, he will ask about the duration of your fatigue. A diagnosis of chronic fatigue will follow only if you have been experiencing fatigue symptoms for 6 months or more.

Your doctor may also recommend some type of medication to treat your symptoms. There is no known single cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. Due to this, he can only offer help to relieve some of your symptoms. You may be prescribed pain killers to help with muscle and joint pain or anti- depressants.

This is the point you need to realize that there is a limit to the help a medical doctor can give you. I did not ever consider any pharmaceuticals to help me when I had chronic fatigue syndrome.

However, it is important to use natural methods to support your body to enable recovery. Supplements and herbal medication can not only help with symptoms but actually help build your body systems again once testing is carried out to work out what your individual illness is caused by.

How Did I Get It?

By working with a naturopath you can work out how you developed chronic fatigue syndrome. As it is a multi factorial illness you will need the help of a professional.

A naturopath experienced in fatigue issues will help you. You need to peel back all the layers of your symptoms until you get to the root cause(s) of your illness.

This takes time and persistence. You have to uncover what is causing your particular form of chronic fatigue syndrome. Carrying out testing step by step will help you discover what is going on with your body.

15 Possible Causes Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

do i have chronic fatigue syndromeThe following list of possible causes is by no means exhaustive. Sometimes one of the causes below will be a ‘sub’ cause. Meaning, the condition of your body systems can deteriorate as your illness progresses. When this happens, more and more ’causes’ for your symptoms appear.

It is like a cascade effect on your total health. One system after another breaks down. Your health declines as your body struggles to work.

This is one of the reasons it can take time to keep digging for the root cause(s). By working to eliminate one cause after another, you finally start reducing symptoms. This leads you to the final reason(s) for your chronic fatigue syndrome.

Remember there may be more than one root cause of your chronic fatigue syndrome.

 

1. HPA Axis Dysfunction – The HPA axis is a set of interactions between the hypothalamic, pituitary and adrenal axis. It contributes to how your body reacts to stress.

Researchers acknowledge a link between dysfunction of the HPA axis and chronic fatigue syndrome. A decrease in the activity of the HPA axis results in hypoactivity of the HPA axis.

This shows up in chronic fatigue sufferers as reduced cortisol production which leads to fatigue.

2. Mitochondrial Dysfunction– ATP (adenosine diphosphate) produced in the mitochondria is the energy currency for functions of the body. ATP turns into the phosphate ADP. This then releases energy to produce different functions in the body. For example, muscle contractions and nerve impulses.

Mitochondrial dysfunction, results in fatigue. A correlation exists between the severity of chronic fatigue syndrome and the degree of mitochondrial dysfunction.

3. Food Sensitivities – When you eat foods that your body is sensitive to, digestion is not complete. This results in a lack of absorbed nutrients which your body badly needs when you lack energy. Your body also uses a great deal of energy trying to process the foods you are sensitive to. Introducing an elimination diet once sensitivities are identified can give your digestion a rest.

4. Gut Issues – If your digestive system is not functioning well, it affects energy production. You are unable to convert food to nutrients. Also, being unable to absorb nutrients perhaps due to a damaged gut will affect energy production. The end result of this is fatigue.

Your gut issues can be leaky gut, dysbiosis (imbalance of the good and bad bacteria),  parasite infections and candida overgrowth. It is possible you could have a combination of all four. If this is the case, it can take quite some time to make the necessary changes to your overall gut health.

5. Epstein Barr Virus – A member of the herpesvirus family. Epstein Barr Virus is one of the most common human viruses. All herpes viruses remain in your system forever, generally remaining dormant.

But, in chronic fatigue sufferers, EBV can reactivate if your immune system is not working. In healthy people the immune system produces B and T cells which produce antibodies to knock the EBV out.

However, in chronic fatigue sufferers, the B and T cells are unable to remember EBV. This allows the virus to reactivate, grow and reproduce thereby causing symptoms. Research found this damaged cellular memory in 76 percent of the participants of the study.

6. MTHFR Variations – Gene testing that shows MTHFR variations can lead to the inability to use folate. Due to this, methylation issues arise. If the methylation cycle doesn’t work it affects the immune system.

When the immune system doesn’t work it affects the detoxification system. This then affects the body’s ability to detoxify and repair, fatigue ensues. Learn more about MTHFR variations here

7. Bacterial Infections – Bacterial infections can be a causal factor for chronic fatigue syndrome. They can also be opportunistic and add to an already weakened state.

Coxiella Burnetti is a bacterial infection that causes Q fever. This infection can affect the liver, lungs, heart and other body parts.

8. Immune System Issues – A malfunctioning immune system is unable to shut down its response to a past infection. Researchers found that in chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers, the immune system continued to produce cytokines (chemical messengers) after the infection was over. This is due to the immune system being unable to regulate.

9. Mental Health Issues – Emotional trauma, for example grief and unresolved emotional issues. Also, ongoing mental stress can all trigger chronic fatigue syndrome.

10. Human Herpes Virus, 6 – Affecting AIDS patients and recipients of organ transplants. This virus causes chronic fatigue syndrome.

11. Enterovirus – Causing a range of acute infections enterovirus are usually mild, like a common cold. But enterovirus infections cause chronic fatigue syndrome in certain circumstances.

12. Ross River Virus– Spread by mosquitoes, this virus is a known trigger for chronic fatigue syndrome.

13. Abnormal Hormone Levels– Thyroid hormone levels can be low in chronic fatigue sufferers. Often T3 and T4 levels are lower but the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) level is high. Also, reverse T3 and inflammation can be high.

14. Allergies– A sensitive immune system can lead to allergies. Allergies to food, and environmental irritants are common in chronic fatigue sufferers. Irritants in the environment can include mold, pollen, pet dander etc.

The result is hay fever type symptoms of a runny or stuffy nose. Constant sneezing, itchy watery eyes, or a persistent cough are other symptoms.

15. Heavy Metal Toxicity– The build up of heavy metals can accumulate in the body. Mercury, arsenic, lead, aluminium, PFC’s and cadmium all cause stress on organs resulting in fatigue. Heavy metals can also cause damage to the membranes of the mitochondria which in turn affects the energy currency of the cells.

Putting It All Together

If you are asking, ‘Do I have chronic fatigue syndrome and how did I get it’? As you can see, there are many causes that contribute to this illness. Recovery will depend on how severe your symptoms are and how long you have been ill.

It takes persistence and patience to work with your chosen health professional, carry out tests, and work through the many possible causes of the illness. Only once this work is done will you find a way to recover. However, it is important to know that recovery IS possible.

Please leave a comment below or contact me with any queries you might have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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38 Comments

  • Dean Gunter October 5, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    I have not ever heard of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome before until now. Doctors always look at the things that are most common and take forever to diagnose the actual illness, in my opinion doctors are not trained or educated to do their jobs correctly.

    This article will help many others to look at the symptoms that you have described and can go to the doctor with this information and tell them exactly what their symptoms are and that this could be the possible illness.

    So great article to help people and for them to cut down on the time of suffering.

    Thank you for sharing, have a great day and al, the success and prosperity that you deserve.

    Kind regards.

    Dean.

    • Ann October 6, 2018 at 12:46 am

      Hi Dean thanks for your comments I’m glad you found it helpful. As you say, the aim of the article is to bring awareness of what could be the cause of chronic fatigue as there are so many things contributing to it.

  • AV 2001 November 26, 2018 at 10:31 am

    This is a great blog on “Chronic Fatigue” as it contains tonnes of valuable info. I’ve suffered from the syndrome and the only way to get rid of it is to exercise regularly. According to my personal experience, exercise is what cured me from this syndrome but I still continue to exercise regularly and eat healthy. 

    Thanks a lot for taking your time in creating this quality post Ann. I really loved it and would love to come back for more.

    Cheers!!!

    • Ann November 26, 2018 at 10:59 am

      Hi Av thanks for leaving a comment, but if you had chronic fatigue syndrome you couldn’t cure it by exercising. Exercising will have a negative effect on anyone who truly has chronic fatigue syndrome. In any case, I’m glad you experienced an improvement.

  • Dany November 26, 2018 at 10:32 am

    At one moment in time, I think, all of experienced the chronic fatigue symptom. It’s hard to put a diagnose, and as you mention, each person behaves differently. When you search for medical help, usually the doctors that a predefined path before getting into the problem. It’s time-consuming for a person in suffering.

    I’m sure your article will open the eyes of many readers and thank you for sharing this informative article.

    • Ann November 26, 2018 at 10:56 am

      Hi Dany thanks for leaving a comment.

  • Kuu November 26, 2018 at 10:35 am

    This post is truly an eye opening. Throughout my life, I have never heard or come across someone who has experience such disorder. But reading your post on this disorder was very informative and made me aware of this disorder. It’s seems that this disease can really affect your health and lifestyle badly. This includes changing your diet, reducing your working hours and other things. It’s sounds like this disease is similar to cancer the way it affects you negatively. The good is news is how you can spot the symptoms and signs quickly and then report them to the doctor. Thanks for this post Ann. 

    • Ann November 26, 2018 at 10:55 am

      Kuu thanks for your comments.

  • Samson Oklobia November 26, 2018 at 10:37 am

    This is so strange to me but i am thankful i came across this article today. I never knew fatigue can be serious enough to get chronic, considering it can caused by a number of things including allergies and bacterial infection. I cannot be thankful enough for this article, Ann, now i know just enough to avoid this in the future. Cheers

    • Ann November 26, 2018 at 10:54 am

      Hi Samson thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, I’m glad you found the article useful.

  • Cinderella November 26, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Thank you for this comprehensive Chronic fatigue syndrome, I experienced fatigue due to hormonal imbalance which lead to fibroid, but the main cause for me to stress which become chronic, but I have come to believe that the body has the capacity to heal itself from any disease by finding peace, love and harmony  in your soul.

    I have been healed from everything that went through wrong just by affirmations and finding that peace.  I cannot even imagine thinking about someone be tired for a long time, it happened like for 2 months but it was a very bad experience.

    Thank you for the 15 ways you have outlined.  Great article.

    • Ann November 26, 2018 at 10:53 am

      Hi Cinderella, thanks for the comment. Yes chronic fatigue syndrome is way different to being tired. Hopefully my artilce helps people distinguish between the two.

  • Jay November 26, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Great read and so much information that I did not really know anything about. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a rather complicated disorder. A lot of people could have it and not even know that they do They might attribute the way they feel to stress and other factors and not realize that they are suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.

    This is an enlightening post that points out how to know if one has this disorder and would help a lot of people to know exactly what is going on with them. The time frame for the healing process seems to be unknown and would differ depending on how long one has had this aliment or also on the person’s system. 

    • Ann November 26, 2018 at 10:52 am

      Hi Jay thanks for stopping by. Hopefully my article helps people understand the difference between just being tired and having chronic fatigue syndrome. 

  • Alice November 26, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Hey Ann, another enlightening article on chronic fatigue syndrome, thanks.

    After reading your article on chronic fatigue syndrome personality, I started following your posts. As I said in my comment on that article, I might have this syndrome because I exhibit some of the traits you enumerated. I did try some of the pointers you gave on how to get my mind off things that are causing me fatigue. However, they seemed ineffective to me so I thought maybe the doctor can help.

    But then on second thought, maybe there are other remedies that do not require medications. You mentioned something about working with a naturopath. How do I get hold of such? To be honest, I’ve never heard of a naturopath but if they can help me to recover from chronic fatigue syndrome, I am willing to consult one and work with him to until such time that my issues are resolved.

    • Ann November 26, 2018 at 11:18 am

      Hi Alice as a first step you might want to be diagnosed by your GP, they will rule out any other illnesses that have similar symptoms to chronic fatigue syndrome. I’m not sure which country you are in, where you are they may not be called naturopaths. Try looking for a ‘functional medicine doctor’. However, it will take some time to find one who specializes in fatigue issues. I intend to do some investigation to find naturopaths/functional medicine doctors who have this specialization and provide this information in a post, but it’s taking me some time.

      It’s important to understand that a GP can only give you medication to help with symptoms but they can’t get you well.  You need to work with a doctor of natural medicine to uncover the reason for your chronic fatigue syndrome. Please keep in touch and let me know how you go. If you are interested I can give you the details of the naturopath in Australia who got me well. They can do Skype consults. 

  • Emmanuel Buysse November 26, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Great article and good info.

    It is known that more and more people will suffer from it. But it is like you mentioned, it is hard to find out if you really have CFS.

    I know a doctor and he said that they are close to a solution, but you know, what is close?

    You described the sickness very well, well sickness is very big said, but for the people who has it, it isn’t a joke.

    Anyway, thanks for the info and I think you will help many people with it!

    • Ann November 26, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Hi Emmauel thanks for your comments. Unfortunately I don’t believe the medical community is close to a ‘solution’. There are many studies that have been carried out on different aspects of CFS., but as a multi factorial illness I don’t think there is one simple solution. If only there was!

  • Midge Mayers January 26, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    I was diagnosed many years ago. My main problem has always been trying to find a health professional who is remotely interested. It’s like constantly banging your head against a brick wall. On the other hand one can’t keep running to ones GP with symptoms you know they can’t do anything about. It’s like living in a continual vicious circle. Nothing seems to help and no-one is interested.

    • Ann January 26, 2019 at 7:08 pm

      Hi Midge thanks for leaving a comment. Sorry to hear you are struggling to get help. I think it’s pointless going to GP’s as they can only give you a prescription to alleviate symptoms e.g., sleeping pills, pain meds etc. I recovered after 8 years of chronic fatigue syndrome with the help of a naturopath experienced in treating this illness. You need to work with an alternative health practitioner to discover the root cause(s) of your particular form of chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • Seyi March 11, 2019 at 1:13 am

    I must commend you for this post, it’s been very educative. The chronic fatigue syndrome is definitely and always confused with some other form of stress. It’s good to know it’s mostly chronic fatigue syndrome. Well, the only challenge here is having a personal study of ones body to know the exact cause of the chronic fatigue syndrome so as to know how best to tackle it. Thanks for this article, very educative

    • Ann March 11, 2019 at 1:20 am

      Thanks for leaving a comment. Yes it is difficult to know if you do in fact have chronic fatigue syndrome or something else going on. Your GP will run tests to cancel out all other possible causes before arriving at a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, so it can take over 6 months before you finally find out. It can be frustrating. 

  • Olufemi March 11, 2019 at 1:21 am

    Hi Ann,

    Thanks for this detailed post on chronic fatigue. I have often said that the best thing that can happen to a sick person is to find the root cause of the illness. Once you know the root cause, you can then begin looking for a cure or solution. The problem with chronic fatigue is that there are just too many probable causes. Other causes in addition to the 15 you listed can be multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia. Sometimes it is a cascade of events which are very difficult to reverse. But as you said, it takes patience and working with qualified healthcare professionals. 

    Thanks for your post.

    • Ann March 11, 2019 at 1:47 am

      Hi there thanks for leaving a comment, actually Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and MS are 3 different illnesses. They all share some similar characteristics, but they are each their own illness with different causes, manifestations and symptoms.

  • charles39 March 11, 2019 at 1:31 am

    I have not heard of chronic fatigue syndrome before and I will also add that I would never think it can be that serious. This blog has helped get into terms with this syndrome by lighting, what is more, is interesting is the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome.and with all that put together I have gained a lot of information. That I don’t know.

    • Ann March 11, 2019 at 1:38 am

      Hi there and thanks for your comment. I think the name for this illness, chronic fatigue syndrome does not help as it seems to suggest it is simply tiredness. There has been debate about this with some people preferring to call it by it’s other name Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). Whatever you want to call it, as a former sufferer I can attest to it being a very real illness. 

  • GVporras March 11, 2019 at 1:46 am

    After reading your article I can say that I think I already have some chronic fatigue since I always have Muscle aches and pains, and I thought it was because I’m getting old, I have to let my doctor know so he can do some studies and get a better answer of my problem.

    Thank you for this very informative post very helpful and an eye opener to me, since I may discover that I may suffer from chronic fatigue and didn’t know.

    Thank you

    • Ann March 11, 2019 at 1:50 am

      Thanks for your comment. Aches and pains alone don’t point to chronic fatigue syndrome. The main symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is overwhelming fatigue which is very different to feeling tired. The feelings of fatigue from chronic fatigue syndrome do not resolve with sleep. You wake up in the morning after a full night’ sleep feeling completely unrefreshed. 

  • Yormith96 March 11, 2019 at 1:47 am

    Hi Ann, this is an excellent post from you about chronic fatigue syndrome. U know I have always wonder what are the causes of chronic fatigue and how people even know they are having it including how it’s can be cure. Your article here now has just done justice to all my long term question about chronic fatigue. 

    • Ann March 11, 2019 at 1:56 am

      Hi and thanks for stopping by my site. I’m happy the information in this article is useful to you. 

  • Ron March 11, 2019 at 1:51 am

    Fabulous article, a must read for everyone. Simply stated, this illness especially when mental health is also a part is the most misunderstood health condition in its category. Many people believe you are fine and shouldn’t be like you are, that maybe you just don’t want to do what is needed everyday that they themselves do easily. Those of us who suffer in this way are not complainers, we simply state things are not at their best. When we do this so many give us the look or action that totally says they don’t understand and many will not want to be bothered. We lose relationships as a result not our fault, it is theirs and they deserve to move on. Their loss. It can be the lifelong struggle once one suffers from these illnesses. Doctors do their best in most cases to find the actual issues causing such symptoms ;, however this is a long arduous task for many and the suffering. I have been suffering this debilitating of mind and physical challenge for many years now and have  been going through all the testing,  psychology, and all related endeavors. I may never recover and many others likewise. Other people’s reactions help or become a further burden on such sufferers. It’s high time for such a read. Great article.

    • Ann March 11, 2019 at 1:55 am

      Hi there and thanks for leaving your detailed comment. I’m sorry to hear you are suffering and hope you can finally get the help you need. 

  • Rachael Christensen March 11, 2019 at 1:59 am

    This is an amazing resource for anyone wondering about CFS, detailed and well written.  A very good read, particularly for someone like myself as I’ve sometimes wondered myself if I have a little Chronic Fatigue.  I suffer from depression periodically and find myself wanting to sleep the day away during these times.  I have found vitamins to be really helpful especially when I go through these cycles.  Is there a specific medical test that can be taken to officially diagnose CFS and would you recommend it for me?  

    • Ann March 11, 2019 at 2:03 am

      Hi there and thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Unfortunately there is no specific test for chronic fatigue syndrome that your GP can do. A diagnosis is arrived at by ruling out other illnesses and only after you have had the symptoms for 6 months. 

  • Nijole March 11, 2019 at 2:02 am

    That a great topic on fatigue syndrome. As I know from my experience working in the health care department. Fatigue is common in society today but people usually can’t recognize this sickness because it is a chronic syndrome. Sometimes we do think is like the flu symptoms or some medication side effects what cause this tiredness. I do believe is hard to recognize for people, as you describe in here. Likewise, you said that the gut could be leaking and could cause energy levels to be withdrawn. Absolutely agree, it is so important to check out as early as possible to see your healthcare professionals.This article is  Informative to people and definitely could help to understand your body what is signals to you. Thank you for sharing

    • Ann March 11, 2019 at 2:05 am

      Hi there, I’m glad you found the information in this article useful. Yes, your body lets you know when something is not right, you just need to be tuned in to the signals and not ignore them.

  • enrique vanegas March 11, 2019 at 2:34 am

    Thank you for sharing ¨Do I have  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And How Did I Get It? ¨A good friend of mine has this disease and it´s really upsetting for her and her family. She told me preliminary studies showed encouraging results for a variety of natural products, which you mention in your article.She is trying melatonin, magnesium, and ribose to see if they work for her. She is quite clear that these promising early results for these and other natural remedies weren´t confirmed by follow up studies  and at the end they may not work out, but she will keep trying.She knows that there´s a lot of hype about various treatments and ¨natural¨ approaches, but she talks to her doctor every time adding something new to her care program.

    • Ann March 11, 2019 at 2:42 am

      Hi thanks for leaving a comment. Your friend needs to find a naturopathic practitioner experience in treating chronic fatigue syndrome who can help her get to the root cause of her illness. 

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