The symptoms of ME/CFS are variable and unique to each sufferer. The overriding symptom is one of debilitating unexplained fatigue that lasts longer than six months. This fatigue significantly reduces activities of daily living including work, school, social, and personal activities. The fatigue is made worse by any exertion and not relieved by rest.
Other primary symptoms may include:
- Post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.
- Non-refreshing sleep and difficulties including insomnia and oversleeping.
- Headaches of a new type or severity
- Muscular pain, morning stiffness
- Multi-joint pain (without redness or swelling)
- Cervical (neck) or axillary (armpit) lymph node tenderness and swelling
- Sore throat, chronic cough
- Persistent low-grade fever
- Problems with short-term memory or concentration.
Along with these primary symptoms, people with ME/CFS can also experience:
- Gastric disturbances including irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, nausea.
- Psychological problems, including depression, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, and panic attacks.
- Night sweats.
- Allergies or sensitivities to foods, odors, chemicals, medications or noise.
- Some people have dizziness, dry eyes or mouth, earaches, irregular heartbeat, jaw pain, shortness of breath, and weight loss
(See Common Symptoms
for more detail.)