Health A-Z: Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis), is a condition that causes long-term disabling tiredness. Most people have other symptoms such as muscular and joint pains, disturbed sleep patterns, poor concentration and headaches.
CFS can cause long-term illness and disability – in severe cases a person may be wheelchair dependent – but many people improve over time. The cause of CFS is not known but a viral infection, hormone imbalance, stress and emotional trauma may be possible triggers.
There is no cure for CFS, so treatment aims to reduce the symptoms and can include talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and medication to control pain, nausea and sleeping problems.