Feeling extremely tired or exhausted most, or all of the time, is one of the main
symptoms of M.E. This feels very different from ordinary tiredness.
Simple physical or mental activities, or combinations of activities, can leave you feeling shattered or struggling to function. You can also experience an increase in other symptoms (see below).
You may feel the impact straightaway but it can typically take a day or two to kick in. This is a key feature of the way M.E. affects people. It is not significantly improved by resting.
Always get new symptoms checked by your doctor, as they may be unrelated to M.E.
Persistent exhaustion or 'fatigue' - see above
Feeling generally unwell
Having flu-like symptoms (often called “general malaise” by doctors).
Recurrent sore throat
With or without swollen glands.
- aching muscles or joints
- nerve pains or pins and needles
- headache or migraine
- twitching muscles or cramps
- abdominal pain (stomach or bowel problems)
If pain, especially muscle pain, is more of a problem than fatigue, fibromyalgia may be an issue.
- unrefreshing sleep
- difficulty getting off to sleep
- waking for long periods in the early hours
- light, dreamy, restless sleep
- sleep reversal (for example sleeping from 4am till midday)
- hypersomnia (sleeping for a long time)
Problems with concentration, thinking and memory (“brain fog”)
- reduced attention span
- short-term memory problems
- word-finding difficulties
- inability to plan or organise thoughts
- loss of concentration
- panic attacks
- low mood, depression
- mood swings and irritability
Problems with the nervous system
- poor temperature control
- dizziness on standing up
- hyper-sensitivity to light and sound
- loss of balance
Digestive problems (which can also be Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- loss of appetite
- excessive wind/bloating
- alternating diarrhoea and constipation
Intolerance and increased sensitivity, eg:
- bright lights
- some foods (for example dairy or wheat)
- some medications
- other substances.
NB. Women often find that symptoms worsen at different times in their menstrual cycle.