Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition that causes long-term, extreme tiredness. The tiredness is not relieved by bed rest. This can lead to problems doing daily activities.
The cause of CFS is not known. It may be linked to an infection or problems with the immune, endocrine, or nervous system.
CFS is more common in women than men. It tends to be seen in adults ages 30 to 40 years old. However, CFS can happen at any age. Other things that raise the risk are:
Symptoms vary from person to person. They may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam may be done. There are no specific tests to diagnose CFS.
To diagnose CFS, the doctor must rule out other health conditions first. This may take a long time.
There is no cure for CFS. The goal is to manage symptoms and improve wellbeing. Treatment options are:
There are no current guidelines to prevent CFS.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Solve ME/CFS Initiative
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Bested A. Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: insights & advances in care. Altern Ther Health Med. 2018;24(S1):32-33.
Chronic fatigue syndrome. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/chronic-fatigue-syndrome. Accessed February 26, 2021.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/me-cfs. Accessed February 26, 2021.
Chronic fatigue syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-fatigue-syndrome Accessed February 26, 2021.
Last reviewed January 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 2/26/2021