Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms

The main symptoms that are used to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome are:

  • fatigue lasting longer than six months
  • cognitive dysfunction, including impaired memory or concentration
  • postexertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours following physical or mental exercise
  • unrefreshing sleep
  • joint pain (without redness or swelling)
  • persistent muscle pain
  • headaches of a new type or severity
  • tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes
  • sore throat

In addition to these eight primary symptoms, people with chronic fatigue syndrome may experience some or many of the following secondary symptoms:

Flu-like symptoms

  • chronic cough
  • chills and night sweats
  • low-grade fever or low body temperature
  • muscle and/or joint aches
  • nausea
  • rash
Psychological symptoms
  • depression
  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • personality changes
Sensory disturbances
  • blurred vision
  • sensitivity to light
  • eye pain
  • blepharospasm (eye spasms)
  • ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • dryness of the mouth and eyes (sicca syndrome)
  • numbness
  • tingling and/or burning sensations in the face or extremities
  • sensitivity to heat and/or cold
Cognitive problems
  • word-finding or word-switching difficulties
  • inability to comprehend or retain what is read
  • inability to calculate numbers
  • impairment of speech and/or reasoning
  • poor concentration
  • memory loss (constantly forgetting simple information like names and numbers)
  • a general reduction in cognitive ability and IQ
Allergies or Sensitivities
  • foods
  • alcohol
  • odors
  • chemicals
  • medications
  • noise
Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • irritable bowel
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • bloating
  • constipation
Neurological and cardiac problems
  • orthostatic instability
  • light-headedness
  • dizziness
  • balance problems
  • fainting
  • neurally mediated hypotension
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pains
  • irregular heartbeat
  • seizures
Other symptoms
  • muscle twitching
  • gynecological problems including PMS and endometriosis
  • jaw pain (TMJ)
  • weight changes without changes in diet

Do not assume that your symptoms are always associated with CFS! You do not want to have a separate condition go untreated. Your doctor can help you make that determination as well as treat your chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms. Sources: Center for Disease Control and Prevention; The CFIDS Association of America, Inc.

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