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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Frequently Asked Questions

Written by Dr. Varshini Jayaraman,  Ph.D. | Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team  on Mar 05, 2016
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Q: Which doctor is to be consulted for CFS?

A: It is very important for CFS patients to seek treatment with a doctor who is familiar with the disorder. An initial consultation with the family doctor or general physician can raise suspicion of CFS. Further recommendation or consultation can then be based on the underlying symptoms and the severity.


Q: Does CFS affect women more than men?

A: Based on available data, it has been found that the condition is two or more times pronounced in women, as compared to men. However it is not clear if the trend is due to increased susceptibility of women to CFS or due to under reporting of similar symptoms by men.

Q: Is CFS a genetic disorder?

A: Despite years of research on CFS, it has not been possible to pinpoint the factors causing CFS. A largest ever study conducted at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights that CFS may have a genetic link. In other words, individuals with certain specific genes may be more susceptible to develop CFS due to altered activity of the gene. These genes which play a critical role in mediating stress response can either confer an increased or decreased CFS risk. More studies are needed at this juncture to aid better understanding of the role of genetics in causing CFS.

Q: Does CFS affect children as well?

A: Although the presence of CFS in adults has been well documented, very little is known about the prevalence of CFS among children and young adults. Some studies have documented the presence of CFS in children less than 5 years old. In a sample of 100, 000, nearly 5 to 6 children and 10-19 young adults are likely to suffer from CFS, according to a study conducted by Australian researchers.


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I have all these symptoms of ME/CFS for over a year and had presented to my GP with symptoms but at time they seem unrelated. Recently when I told her I believed I had it, her comments were "You don't have it by what I know although you are definitely stressed, and definitely fatigued". When I responded that I had sore throat/tender glands in my neck and that if I do more than normal activity I am wrecked afterwards and sometimes have flu like illness without being the bug, she did not reply. It left me angry she did not take me seriously although my counsellor whom is also a registered doctor agreed with my diagnosis. It is unfortunate no lab. tests exist to prove this. What I think confuses my doctor is the fact I am 51 and have chronic pain treated with prescribed narcotics but she cannot explain sudden weight gain [12kg] in a year as well as all the other chronic fatigue like signs! Thanks, Jem


As described CFS is a set of symptoms and not a disease by itself. the underlying causes are still unknown to medical science but due to some medical conditions also you can get these kind of symptoms [Syndrome]. I just read in another article about 'andropause'. a situation described similar (although not) to menapause in women. Here the level of Testestorone (male hormone) gets depleted. This can be tested in blood test. Also other conditions include vit B12 deficiency, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, etc. You can rule out some of them as there are tests available. As you have described, you were on pain management medicines that may also have such side effects. Also, acceptance / non-acceptance by your doctor should not mean anything to you. Its the right treatment is required for the same. So, first thrash out the possibilities where tests are available (Vit B12, TSH, testestorone level, etc) and then you'll be sure about this yourself. All the best!

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