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What is Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome?

Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome is a perplexing condition where exhaustion lingers long after a viral infection has cleared, often accompanied by muscle pain and memory issues. It's as if the body's energy reserves are perpetually drained, leaving one feeling perpetually unwell. Intrigued? Discover how this syndrome affects daily life and what can be done to manage it. Ready to learn more?
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Post-viral fatigue syndrome is a condition in which a person experiences an extended period of fatigue and malaise, which is a general feeling of being unwell. Besides these symptoms, a person with this condition may feel mentally exhausted, have muscle or joint pain, experience headaches, and have problems focusing. Sometimes the condition is accompanied by memory problems and swollen glands as well. Additionally, some people with post-viral fatigue syndrome also develop a chronic cough, experience dizziness, have problems sleeping, or sleep too much. Depression and panic attacks may develop as well.

Also referred to as chronic fatigue syndrome, post-viral fatigue syndrome is typically more common in women than it is in men. Doctors and scientists are not sure of the exact causes of this syndrome, but they have many theories. Some believe the cause may be allergies, an improperly functioning immune system, or hormonal changes. Low blood sugar and low blood pressure may be contributing factors as well. Some scientists believe infection with the Epstein-Barr virus or other viruses may also play a role in the development of this condition.

Individuals suffering from post-viral fatigue syndrome may experience joint and muscle pain.
Individuals suffering from post-viral fatigue syndrome may experience joint and muscle pain.

A person who has post-viral fatigue syndrome often experiences fatigue that does not improve, even after he is well rested. Often, a person with this condition feels generally fatigued most of the time but may also experience an extended period of almost debilitating exhaustion after exertion that is either physical or mental nature. In many cases, the fatigue a person with this condition experiences is severe enough to interfere with work, socializing, and a range of activities he usually enjoys.

Post-viral fatigue syndrome may be accompanied by swollen glands.
Post-viral fatigue syndrome may be accompanied by swollen glands.

In many cases, a person with this condition feels generally unwell most of the time. In addition to feeling fatigue, he may have a persistent sore throat or a chronic cough. Muscle pain is common among people with this condition, and achy joints often become a problem as well. Headaches, dizziness, and memory and concentration problems may also result. Some patients have difficulty sleeping or sleep too much, become depressed, or experience panic attacks when they have post-viral fatigue syndrome.

People with post-viral fatigue syndrome may develop a chronic cough.
People with post-viral fatigue syndrome may develop a chronic cough.

Unfortunately, there is no single treatment that is proven effective for post-viral fatigue syndrome. Often, doctors try a combination approach by treating the symptoms of the disorder and encouraging exercise. Cognitive therapy may prove helpful as well. Additionally, there are some medications, such as antiviral drugs and immune system boosters, that may be used to treat the syndrome on an experimental basis.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a TheHealthBoard writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Learn more...
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a TheHealthBoard writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

turquoise

@burcidi-- I agree with you. Doctors don't know if someone is suffering from syndrome unless they check for viral antibodies in the blood. This syndrome can mimic a lot of other conditions.

burcidi

As far as I know, post-viral fatigue syndrome is exactly what the name says. It's a period when the body is trying to recuperate after a recent viral infection. Viral infections wreak havoc with the immune system and it can take months and even up to a year to recover. It's usually diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia but I think they're all basically the same thing.

ysmina

I'm not sure if this is considered post-viral fatigue syndrome but I had all of these symptoms when I had hypothyroidism.

I was always tired, had muscle aches and a sore throat. I didn't know what the problem was for a long time. I had actually started suspecting that I had chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms. I saw an endocrinologist and had blood tests done. My thyroid hormones came out too low and that's how I was diagnosed.

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    • Individuals suffering from post-viral fatigue syndrome may experience joint and muscle pain.
      By: maska82
      Individuals suffering from post-viral fatigue syndrome may experience joint and muscle pain.
    • Post-viral fatigue syndrome may be accompanied by swollen glands.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      Post-viral fatigue syndrome may be accompanied by swollen glands.
    • People with post-viral fatigue syndrome may develop a chronic cough.
      By: Syda Productions
      People with post-viral fatigue syndrome may develop a chronic cough.
    • Post-viral fatigue syndrome may drastically interfere with a person's social life.
      By: Scott Griessel
      Post-viral fatigue syndrome may drastically interfere with a person's social life.
    • A person suffering from post-viral fatigue syndrome may feel mentally exhausted.
      By: naka
      A person suffering from post-viral fatigue syndrome may feel mentally exhausted.
    • Someone with post-viral fatigue syndrome may experience almost debilitating exhaustion after physical exertion.
      By: Dirima
      Someone with post-viral fatigue syndrome may experience almost debilitating exhaustion after physical exertion.