Really? – Isn’t There Only One Symptom…… Fatigue?
If only fatigue was all you had to deal with. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can continue over many years during which it becomes very confusing to know what on earth is going on with your body.
As if dealing with the main symptom of crashing fatigue isn’t enough, it can seem like on a regular weekly basis yet another new mysterious symptom makes an appearance adding to your already considerable misery.
At times, it is overwhelming trying to work out what each of the symptoms mean. Worrying that your health seems to be spiraling out of control, you are asking yourself what is going on?
Trying to make sense of your symptoms and your illness is difficult. Due to the multi factorial nature of chronic fatigue syndrome, there are a wide variety of symptoms that people experience making everyone’s journey with chronic fatigue syndrome such a personal one. When faced with an increasing list of symptoms it is also pretty scary. At one stage of my illness I was scared I was so far gone that I would be unable to recover.
During my many years with chronic fatigue syndrome, I found myself asking several questions about why I was experiencing such strange and seemingly unrelated symptoms. I’ve listed some of the main symptoms here with an explanation below for each one. Maybe you can relate to some of them, or all of them. You probably have several others you could add to your own personal chronic fatigue syndrome symptom list.
I think it is important to create a chronic fatigue syndrome symptom list to enable you to discuss them with your naturopath during a first visit. This will help your health care provider put the puzzle pieces together and work out the root cause of your chronic fatigue syndrome. It will take some time for you to wok through the list of symptoms, carry out required testing and finally work out a plan for healing and recovery.
As annoying as symptoms are, they provide the keys to working out the cause of your chronic fatigue syndrome.
Question # 1 Why Is My Hair Falling Out?
This was a symptom that for me came and went. At different times, I would start to notice more than the usual quantity of hair in my brush and in the shower drain.
My hair definitely thinned out quite a lot. Thankfully it was all over hair thinning and didn’t come out in clumps. However, when I look back at photos of me during that time, my hair looks a lot thinner. All I could do was cut it shorter until it grew in again. But what causes it?
Answer – Your hormone levels can go awry causing your thyroid to become under active. This imbalance of the HPA Axis causes upheaval within your hormone system. When everything is out of balance you can suffer diffuse hair loss. Sometimes the male hormones can become unbalanced causing male pattern baldness.
Another reason for hair loss can be nutritional deficiencies. They can come from poor diet or problems with your gut. If you have an imbalance in your gut it could mean you are not absorbing nutrients. Low iron levels can also cause hair fall. If you have low iron, low thyroid function and poor nutrition you have a triple whammy effect on your hair.
Question # 2 Why Does My Body Ache All Over?
From the minute I awoke each day I felt my body was aching and painful. Just getting out of bed and putting my feet on the floor caused excruciating pain in my calves. The area around my Achilles was always tight and painful sometimes going into huge cramps too.
My shoulders, upper back and neck were constantly stiff and painful even without sitting at a computer all day. It seemed as though no amount of stretching exercises could loosen the tightness either.
The painful feeling was similar to having had a good workout. Unfortunately the pain didn’t ease off after a couple of days as it does after a workout.
Answer – When you don’t feel rested and suffer the non refreshing sleep of chronic fatigue syndrome this can cause muscle and joint pain. This pain can also become worse when you suffer a crash, it seems like everything hurts even more.
If you are not getting enough vitamin D and Magnesium or suffering nutrient malabsorption due to gut issues, you’ll feel more pain and muscle cramps too. Sometimes people with chronic fatigue syndrome have a fibromyalgia component to their illness too which results in feeling more pain than normal.
I used this magnesium oil to help relax my tight muscles and reduce pain. It also helps to soak in an Epsom salt bath to relieve tight muscles and help you relax. Due to gut difficulties I was unable at first to take many supplements, so the transdermal delivery of magnesium helped a lot.
Question # 3 Why Have I Lost Interest In Life?
It is easy to feel down when you are struggling with never ending fatigue. Each day takes a huge amount of your already diminished energy to get through.
If you are trying to hold down a job, most likely it takes all your energy reserve to carry it out. With no energy left over at the end of each day it’s impossible to summon the energy for joining any extra activities.
Feelings of isolation are common as your life seems to get smaller and smaller. It’s natural to restrict activities as you struggle through your days with diminished energy.
A social life and additional activities, even those you used to enjoy are often the last thing you think about as you have barely enough energy to carry out the minimum activity each day.
Answer – Sometimes a misdiagnosis of depression rather than chronic fatigue syndrome is the outcome of a visit to your doctor when you are trying to work out what is happening with your health. You may receive a prescription for depression medication. But it’s unlikely to help with your chronic fatigue syndrome.
Acceptance that your life is a little smaller while you spend time and energy healing is necessary. If you’re lucky friends and family around you will understand you are not being anti-social and will be there to support your recovery.
Question # 4 Why Is My Belly Getting Fat?
With a healthy diet and exercise my stomach stayed pretty flat until I had adrenal fatigue. I found it weird that I didn’t seem to be putting weight on anywhere else in my body. But now disturbingly I had grown a muffin top. Why was that?
Answer – In the early stages of adrenal fatigue your body releases high levels of cortisol. Cortisol release is a response to stress. And a great deal of your body’s energy goes towards making cortisol.
For the process to be more efficient, stores of fat and cholesterol move closer to the internal organs and show up around your belly. It’s an easily identifiable form of fat storage. You need to de-stress to lose that muffin top.
Question # 5 Why Is The World So Noisy And Crowded?
Some days normal sound levels can be too much to bear, it feels as if the world’s volume setting is turned to high. You can also become hypersensitive to crowds too.
I didn’t ever suffer panic attacks as some people do, but I felt that I just couldn’t stand to be amongst people. Everywhere I went seemed just too crowded and way too noisy. On occasions when I felt like this, I’d turn around and go straight back home.
Everything around me seemed too loud and being amongst people was overwhelming. I needed a couple of days at home in a quiet and peaceful environment before this symptom would subside.
Answer – If you are emotionally and physically worn out it can result in becoming extremely sensitive to sound.
Question # 6 Why Is Everything Annoying Me?
Sometimes a colleague at work asking a simple question would throw me into a frustrated silent rage. It is easier to become upset over little things. Your frustration with the lack of control over your health can also overwhelm you causing rage and frustration over your situation which bubbles over into your daily life.
Answer – Due to continual fatigue you can be more sensitive than before you got ill. Your emotional reserve can be limited. Chronic fatigue syndrome has an emotional as well as a physical component to the illness. So it’s not only physical action and events that tire you out, but emotional ones too.
Question # 7 Why Can’t I Exercise Anymore?
I had always been a regular exerciser but a few years in to my chronic fatigue syndrome journey exercise became impossible for me.
My heart started racing after a few minutes of even the gentlest exercise like a slow walk around the park. My heart rate seemed to push higher alarmingly with very little exertion. Walking for 20 minutes would result in being in bed the following day as my body crashed.
Answer – Post exertional malaise is one of the defining symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Preventing post exertional malaise and learning to stay within my personal energy envelope was crucial to being able to manage my limited energy.
Understanding that I simply could not do what I used to, took a long time to learn and I had to heal completely before I could once again start exercising again.
I took it very gradually, increasing the duration and intensity of exercise at each session. Finally I gained confidence in my recovery with each incremental increase until I was finally able to exercise normally without suffering a crash. That was the day I knew I had recovered…………..yeah!
Question #8 Why Is My Belly So Bloated?
Not only was I getting fatter due to my chronic fatigue syndrome as my metabolic processes went out of control. But to make matters worse I now had a huge bloated belly too and looked 6 months pregnant most days. Oh and this was in addition to the muffin top I already mentioned. My mid section was way out of control.
Answer – Suffering from gut dysbiosis, candida overgrowth and a parasite infection resulted in out of control stomach bloating. It took almost two years to fully heal my gut from the triple whammy of out of balance bacteria, yeast overgrowth and a very tenacious parasite infection. Gut issues can be very common in chronic fatigue sufferers and working with your health practitioner to test for what is going on is important for recovery.
Question #9 Why Can’t I Eat What I Used To?
At one stage it seemed as if everything I ate upset me. Either it would add to my stomach bloat misery or it would set off a reaction of sneezing, running nose and watery eyes. I knew I didn’t have a cold and seasonal allergies had never been an issue for me, so what was going on?
Answer – With so much damage to my gut I now had leaky gut syndrome. My immune system was reacting to so many food types. Milk, eggs, and anything containing yeast would set it off. I had become sensitive to a number of different foods and it seemed an additional sensitivity would show itself each week.
Until I was able to heal my leaky gut I kept reacting to different foods. Food sensitivities are common in chronic fatigue syndrome. Keeping a food diary is a good first step to working out what you may be reacting to. Your practitioner may also carry out food sensitivity testing too.
Question #10 Why Do I still Feel Tired Even After 8 Hours Sleep?
Getting a full night’s sleep is often difficult in chronic fatigue sufferers. However even when I did get a full night’s sleep I’d wake in the morning feeling like I hadn’t slept at all. It was the most horrible feeling, like constantly coming down with a virus. And this symptom of unrefreshing sleep is another common symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Answer – Further study needs to be undertaken on sleep disturbances in chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers. However a study showed preliminary evidence that alterations in sleep stability and sleep stage transitions may be partly to blame for difficulties in sleeping.
Once healed from chronic fatigue syndrome it was the best feeling to wake in the morning alert, knowing I had just had a great refreshing sleep.
Putting It All Together
In order to get help with chronic fatigue syndrome, it’s important to create a chronic fatigue syndrome symptom list. In this way you can visit your naturopath or integrative practitioner armed with good information that allows them to work through what could be going on. As chronic fatigue syndrome is multifactorial you need to assist your health care provider with as much information as possible to allow them to get to the root of what is causing your own particular form of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Please feel free to leave a comment below. What are some of the weird and wonderful symptoms chronic fatigue syndrome gave you?
Fibro Women Blogs
Chronic Woman Blogs
Chronic Illness Blogs
Official Fibromyalgia Blogs