Chronic Fatigue and Women

By: James Pendergraft

Because a woman’s body can be subjected to various forms of stress such as those encountered during pregnancy, a lot of ailments affect women’s health. Moreover, physiological and bodily changes are also brought about by menstruation and menopause, both of which may result in bodily and psychological changes in a woman. However, one common ailment that women face is the chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS.

The Nature of Chronic Fatigue

CFS is a case that has many labels and attached interpretations to it, but most of the women affected by it do not really know the real cause and means of treatment for the disorder. Fatigue is a situation that affects all women, but CFS is far different. It involves all known forms of fatigue and stress. Ordinary fatigue may be remedied by getting enough rest, but CFS cannot be treated by rest alone. The disorder is characterized by muscle and joint pains and mental and physical exhaustion. Although all of these symptoms may be experienced by all women, the name CFS is applied when the situation appears in a previously healthy woman. As such, understanding the causes of chronic fatigue and for women to effectively combat it is a must.

Onset of Chronic Fatigue

The disorder affects women mostly in their 40s and 50s. When the symptoms occur during their 50s, it is commonly mistaken as an effect brought about by menopause. Because of this perception, treatment of the disorder is postponed, with the patient only realizing much later that what is happening is not a mere product of menopause. By then, the disorder may have progressed so much that treatment becomes complicated. Needless to say, early diagnosis of the disease is important to ensure full treatment.
Treatment for Chronic Fatigue

Because of the debates going on as to the nature of the disease and how it is contracted, treatment for it is also unclear. Meanwhile, experts continue to stress any of the following or a combination of the following as ways to possibly counter chronic fatigue syndrome.

* Medication. Dietary supplements, antidepressants, and pain killers are the most commonly proffered drugs. Although their actual effectiveness in actually combating the disorder as a whole are still largely unknown and unproven, they are nonetheless prescribed due to the fact that patients who suffer from CFS commonly exhibit symptoms that any of these medications can treat. As such, despite doubts as to their actual benefit, they are still prescribed by medical experts.

* Physiotherapy. This is more to treat muscular and other physiological symptoms exhibited by a patient with CFS. Again, just like the case with medication, they do not really combat the disease as one. They rather act on the individual symptoms.

* Cognitive behavioral therapy. This is more of a psychological treatment that allows experts to probe deep into the mind of a patient suffering from CFS. The main goal of this is for patients to understand the stage they are in and to develop a healthy mind frame which experts think are very helpful in successfully combating the disorder. Another reason for employing psychological therapy is to help prevent patients from committing suicide – a by-product of the depression that patients affected with CFS commonly develop.

Understanding chronic fatigue symptoms and women’s health is a process that still requires much research. But just like other processes, this one is also aimed towards better understanding on how to combat the disorder and make women able to cope more with its symptoms.

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