ZocdocAnswersWhat is the best treatment for long-term fatigue?

Question

What is the best treatment for long-term fatigue?

I'm 33 and I have lived with fatigue (self-diagnosed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) for over a decade. I am at the end of my rope with trying to find treatments to keep my energy level high. Are there any natural or herbal methods for keeping energy high that have scientific data behind them?

Answer

Fatigue is a very common complaint that we see all the time. Since there are very treatable conditions other than chronic fatigue syndrome, it is important that you see a doctor soon. The best type of doctor to see initially is a primary care physician such as a family doctor or internal medicine doctor. Two relatively common causes of chronic fatigue are Hypothyroidism and Addison's disease. Addison's disease is a dysfunction of the adrenal glands. Symptoms include fatigue, low blood pressure, and darker skin. Hypothyroidism is not having enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms include fatigue, always feeling cold, weight gain, constipation, and low heart rate. If I was taking care of you I would want to rule these out first. Chronic fatigue syndrome is fatigue that is not explainable by any other condition. This can only be diagnosed when all the others have been ruled out. Very few medicines (herbal or any other) have good solid scientific evidence behind them. Carnitine (a natural amino acid) with important cellular energy function may be helpful. The evidence is weak but there has been some promising studies Please consult your doctor before starting any medicine herbal or any other because they are not all safe. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history of your fatigue symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. Your doctor will likely want to do some blood tests to rule out disease such as Addison's disease and Hypothyroidism. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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