Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS is a state in which someone feels too tired or is easily exhausted with no apparent reason even while doing the normal activities of life. Sometimes, the profound weakness of CFS doesn’t reduce even after a goodnight’s sleep and it steals the energy of a person.

Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. Persons with CFS most often function at a substantially lower level of activity than they were capable of before the onset of illness. In addition to these key defining characteristics, patients report various nonspecific symptoms, including weakness, muscle pain, impaired memory and/or mental concentration, insomnia, and post-exertional fatigue lasting more than 24 hours. In some cases, CFS can persist for years. The cause or causes of CFS have not been identified and no specific diagnostic tests are available. Moreover, since many illnesses have incapacitating fatigue as a symptom, care must be taken to exclude other known and often treatable conditions before a diagnosis of CFS is made.

8 Primary Signs/Symptoms of CFS

  • Postexertional Malaise(Hang in there I’ll explain)

Okay, so first let’s break the word down.  Post means “after”.  Exertional means exhaustion brought on by physical exertion.  Malaise means your body has a vague feeling of discomfort and basically feels like you are coming down with a cold or flu.  So, let’s put this word all together.

Postexertional Malaise is a period of intense exhaustion and lasts for more than 24 hours following physical exertion. This symptom is a hallmark of chronic fatigue syndrome.  The fatigue is very intense and will leave you very weakened and tired.  There is no option but to rest, you will want to do nothing else and your body will demand it.

  • Muscle Pain – pain in all your muscles throughout the body.  You will also hear muscle pain referred to as Myofascial Pain Syndrome. This is a chronic form of muscle pain. The pain of myofascial pain syndrome centers around sensitive points in your muscles called trigger points. The trigger points can be painful when touched. And the pain can spread throughout the affected muscle.
  • Memory Loss and Concentration Loss
  • Insomnia
  • Pain In Joints
  • Sore Throat
  • Headaches
  • Tender Lymphnodes in Neck and Armpits

In addition to the 8 primary signs and symptoms  here are other reported issues from CFS patients (these symptoms vary from person to person)

  • abdominal pain
  • alcohol intolerance
  • bloating
  • chest pain
  • chronic cough
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • dry eyes or mouth
  • earaches
  • irregular heartbeat
  • jaw pain
  • morning stiffness
  • nausea
  • night sweaters
  • depression, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks
  • shortness of breath
  • skin sensations
  • tingling sensations
  • weight loss

CFS is marked by extreme fatigue that has lasted at least six months; is not the result of ongoing effort; is not substantially relieved by rest; and causes a substantial reduction in daily activities. 

As always, please consult your primary care physician should you feel you are experiencing any of these symptoms.