What is Chronic Fatigue and How Can I Fight It?
Chronic fatigue can mess with your physical and mental health while making it harder to get things done. Here are a few things you can do to fight it.
Are you the type of person who’s always up for a nap, no matter what time of day it is? Or do you struggle to muster up the energy to do simple things like clean the dishes, fold the laundry, or even brush your hair? If so, you may be dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome. This syndrome has many nicknames, including myalgic encephalomyelitis, systemic exertion intolerance disease, CFS, ME, and MECFS.
While it’s normal to feel tired at times (especially after a poor night’s sleep or a particularly stressful day), it’s not normal or healthy to feel fatigued all or most of the time. If it seems like you’ve lost yourself in a constant fog of sheer exhaustion, it’s time to find yourself again. From taking Herpower to getting regular exercise, there are some things you can do to fight chronic fatigue syndrome and get your energy back.
What Does Fatigue Feel Like?
What is fatigue, and what does it feel like? How can we tell if we have it if we’re just experiencing regular old tiredness? To differentiate, we first need to become familiar with the symptoms associated with fatigue.
Fatigue is a persistent sensation of weariness, exhaustion, and low energy. Unlike regular physical tiredness, you can’t get rid of fatigue by simply getting a good night’s sleep. Fatigue often happens as the result of some type of disorder, disease, or condition. For example, a hormone imbalance can eventually lead to chronic fatigue if it isn’t corrected. Fatigue can also be a natural consequence of an unhealthy lifestyle.
If you persistently experience the following symptoms, there’s a good chance that you’re dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome. This syndrome is characterized as extreme fatigue that lasts for at least six months.
- Waking up exhausted, no matter how much sleep you get
- Disinterest in things you normally enjoy
- Insufficient energy
- Low motivation to get things done
- Sudden and unexpected bouts of exhaustion that may go away but always come back
Many women with chronic fatigue syndrome don’t feel like themselves anymore. It is almost like they are being pursued relentlessly by a thief who wants to steal their vitality and joy.
But before you throw in the towel and resign yourself to a lifetime of exhaustion, reach down deep and find your mojo, girl! There are things you can do to regain your energy and vitality while pushing chronic fatigue out of your life. We’ll go over specific steps you can take a bit later in this guide. First, let’s dive a little deeper into how common fatigue is and discuss possible causes for the condition.
Is It Common To Feel Fatigued?
When you’re dragging your feet through life, it may feel like you’re the only one whose energy meter is constantly running low. But rest assured that there are many other people in the same boat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than one million Americans currently have chronic fatigue syndrome. Dealing with fatigue is especially common for women. In fact, women are up to four times more likely to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome than men.
Even though we’re much more likely to deal with chronic fatigue, we don’t have to tap out early, ladies! We’re totally capable of going a few rounds with chronic fatigue and coming out victorious in the end. We just need to know how the opponent works so we can take the steps necessary to win the fight against myalgic encephalomyelitis. So, let’s learn a little bit more about chronic fatigue syndrome and how to tell if you have it.
What Are Some Possible Causes for Fatigue?
Many different things can potentially lead to fatigue. Check out the following hefty list of possible causes of fatigue:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Immune system impairment
- Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism (underactive or overactive thyroid glands)
- Depression, anxiety, or generally poor mental health
- Emotional or physical trauma
- Jet lag
- Sleep apnea and other sleep problems
- Endocrine abnormality
- Chronic pain
- Lifestyle habits (such as substance abuse, an unhealthy diet, chronic lack of sleep, etc.)
- Perimenopause and menopause
- Addison’s disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Systemic lupus
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Kidney or liver disease
- Toxic environmental exposure
- Influenza, HIV/AIDS, and other infectious diseases
- Myasthenia gravis (an autoimmune disorder causing muscle weakness)
- Long covid
- Lyme disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Acute infection
- Viral infection
In addition to this overwhelming list, there are also certain medications that can cause fatigue. They include steroids, antihistamines, antidepressants, sleeping medications, and high blood pressure medications. Women who are young to middle-aged have an increased risk of myalgic encephalomyelitis, though the condition can occur at any age.
It is important to note that although the above conditions can contribute to fatigue, chronic fatigue (or myalgic encephalomyelitis) cannot be fully explained by a single underlying health condition. There is still a lot of research that needs to be done to learn more about MECFS. The Solve MECFS Initiative is a non-profit organization that is heavily involved in healthcare research for MECFS and coming up with treatments and cures for this common public health concern. The National Institutes of Health are also heavily involved in the endeavor to learn more about diagnosing and treating chronic fatigue.
How Can I Fight Fatigue?
Now that you know a little about what can cause MECFS symptoms, it’s time to learn how to fight this common problem. Getting rid of myalgic encephalomyelitis chronic fatigue syndrome is no walk in the park, but it’s worth the effort to get your life and energy back.
There are several ways you can fight chronic fatigue syndrome. We’ll split them up into home remedies, alternative treatments, and professional treatments.
If you have CFS symptoms, try these home remedies for dealing with the fatigue you feel.
- Use your bed only for sleep and sex
- Avoid taking naps during the day when possible
- Keep your room dark and the temperature cool
- Exercise regularly
- Limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine
- Don’t use electronics too close to bedtime
- Don’t eat within two hours of bedtime
- Stay hydrated throughout the day
- Eat a healthy diet
- Manage your body weight
These home remedies may require a few lifestyle changes, and that’s OK! Making positive lifestyle changes can give you so many health benefits. Paying close attention to your health care needs can also help you feel happier and avoid illness.
Alternative treatments should be combined with healthy lifestyle changes for best results when combatting extreme fatigue. These treatments may help some people reduce specific symptoms of myalgic encephalomyelitis.
- Relaxation techniques (such as mindfulness and meditation)
- Brain games (which may reduce brain fog commonly associated with chronic fatigue syndrome)
- Mind-body exercises (such as Tai Chi, Pilates, and yoga)
- Supplements (such as Herpower, NADH, and magnesium)
As with any other type of treatment, it takes time for alternative treatments to work. Give them a try for at least a couple of weeks to see if they help reduce your feelings of profound tiredness.
In some cases, professional treatment may be necessary to address the underlying cause of myalgic encephalomyelitis. Some professional treatment options include:
- Physical therapy
- Medications (such as those to treat heart problems, depression, and low thyroid levels that could be contributing to myalgic encephalomyelitis)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (to help change negative emotions, thoughts, or behaviors that are contributing to severe fatigue)
The primary goal of all these treatment types is to improve your quality of life by reducing CFS symptoms and hopefully eliminating the underlying cause of your chronic fatigue. If you visit your healthcare provider as an MECFS patient, they may recommend one or more of the above treatments.
What Is the Difference Between Depression and Simply Feeling Unmotivated?
If you are a CFS patient, you may also struggle with depression (and it’s not difficult to see why). Depression and other mental illnesses often go hand-in-hand with myalgic encephalomyelitis. It’s pretty hard to feel happy and upbeat when it takes all your strength just to exist and take care of the most basic daily tasks.
Some people might even mistakenly think you’re being lazy and don’t want to take care of your daily responsibilities. But don’t let them get into your head, girl. There are some clear differences between depression and lack of motivation.
For one thing, depression is not something you do with intention. Laziness and lack of motivation are a choice. People who lack motivation choose to do nothing because they prefer doing nothing over doing something. There may be an underlying medical or mental health condition behind laziness and lack of motivation as well, but it’s important to make the distinction that they are different from depression.
Depression is not a choice. People who are depressed generally don’t want to feel that way. They’ve simply lost their hope, desire, and passion for life. If you are a patient with depression, you probably experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- You may overeat or have no appetite, which can cause you to gain or lose weight
- You are easily irritated and feel restless because your tolerance levels are at rock bottom
- You don’t care much about keeping your space clean or taking care of your personal hygiene needs
- You feel drained and sluggish and constantly require breaks
- You find it difficult to make decisions or concentrate
- You feel emotionally empty and don’t have much interest in daily life
Depression isn’t always tied to chronic fatigue, but it is a common symptom associated with the condition. Fortunately, treating one may help reduce symptoms of the other.
How Do I Know if I’ve Got Chronic Fatigue?
Chronic fatigue syndrome can be pretty difficult to self-diagnose because the symptoms can be varied and may mimic other health conditions. But the most pervasive symptoms are severe tiredness and post exertional malaise. Chronic fatigue syndrome patients may also experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Memory and concentration problems
- Muscle or joint pain
- Persistent fatigue even after getting many hours of sleep
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpits or neck
- Orthostatic intolerance (dizziness or headache that occurs when standing, but not when seated or lying down)
- Frequent illness
- Extreme tiredness after physical activity
- Frequent headaches
- Shortness of breath
If you have persistent fatigue after physical exertion or even after taking care of easy tasks, it’s very important to try to get to the bottom of it and provide your body with the health care it needs to recover. When extreme fatigue lasts longer than six months and isn’t easily explained by another medical condition, then it is likely chronic fatigue syndrome.
Of course, one of the easiest ways to know if you have chronic fatigue is to receive an official CFS diagnosis from a qualified health professional. Your health care provider knows how to check and see if you meet the diagnostic criteria for myalgic encephalomyelitis.
What Options Are There for Those With Chronic Fatigue?
Those of us with chronic fatigue have a few options available to us. We can continue with life as it is and try to hobble our way through it, we can see a doctor for prescription medication and therapy, or we can make lifestyle changes to improve our overall health and reduce our fatigue.
In some cases, temporary professional treatment for chronic fatigue may be necessary while we work on the sidelines to get our overall health under control. Our goal should be to make healthier lifestyle choices until we can eventually go off of all fatigue-related medications. Depending on the severity and underlying cause of fatigue, some of us may be able to recover more quickly than others from the damaging impact of chronic fatigue syndrome.
What Are Some Natural Remedies for Fatigue?
Have you ever heard that “you are what you eat”? If you’re constantly filling your body with nutrient-deficient garbage, you’ll probably eventually feel like garbage. One of the best things you can do to reduce fatigue and other unwanted symptoms of poor health is to eat a healthy diet.
There is so much conflicting information out there about what’s healthy and what isn’t when it comes to nourishing your body. Instead of following fad diets that tend to come and go as quickly as you change your underwear, opt for a way of eating that has consistently shown positive results over decades. One good example is the Mediterranean diet. It has been shown to reduce inflammation, which is a key component of chronic fatigue.
If you don’t want to follow a “diet,” per se, you certainly don’t have to! You can keep things simple by eating less processed and sugary foods and eating more whole foods (i.e. whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats). You’ll know within a couple of weeks if the way you’re eating is helping to reduce your chronic fatigue symptoms.
In addition to eating healthy foods, you may also want to supplement with a product that can help increase your energy without using harmful stimulants like caffeine. Herpower is great for women with chronic fatigue syndrome because it contains amino acids (including arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, L-citrulline, and L-theanine) that help enhance the body’s recovery from stress and reduce muscle fatigue.
It is so much better to take amino acids that can provide your body with sustained energy and improved immune function than it is to pump yourself full of caffeine and other stimulants that only provide fleeting effects (and can make your fatigue worse in the long run!)
When Should I See a Doctor?
You should see a doctor anytime your fatigue is so severe that it interferes with your daily life and responsibilities. You should also schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider if you’re also feeling depressed, anxious, or unmotivated.
Most underlying causes of fatigue are not alarming. However, you should seek emergency care for your fatigue if you also have any of the following:
- Blurred vision, confusion, or dizziness
- Signs of dehydration
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath, chest pain, or irregular heartbeat
- Severe pain in your pelvic area, back, or belly
- Thoughts of harming yourself or others
These symptoms all constitute medical emergencies. Go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 if you experience them.
How Can Herpower Help With Persisting Fatigue?
If your goal is to combat fatigue by embarking on a journey of healthier lifestyle choices, Herpower is an exceptional supplement to help you get where you want to go. Made with energy-boosting amino acids and myoinositol (a vitamin-like substance naturally found in citrus fruits and fiber-rich foods), this supplement can help you feel like you again.
At Mixhers, we love helping women live fulfilling lives. That’s why we dedicate ourselves to creating healthy supplements that are made by women, for women. Head over to Mixhers resources to learn more about how supplements can boost your confidence in bed, reduce your period symptoms, and live your best life ever.