Fatigue, CFS: causes and solutions

Everyone gets tired sometimes and this can often be traced back to a busy day at work or heavy physical work. This is normal fatigue, which will go away with rest or exercise. Things are different if you are constantly tired, without being able to think of a reason for it. If there are no other symptoms, the cause is often difficult to determine.


Fatigue can have many causes. A very common cause of chronic fatigue is insufficient exercise. By gradually exercising more, you will feel the energy in your body increasing again. Fatigue can have physical, but also psychological causes.

  • Physical fatigue ; This form of fatigue often gets worse during the day and disappears after a good night’s sleep.
  • Mental fatigue ; If fatigue is due to psychological causes, it is usually most severe at the beginning of the day, just after getting up, and decreases during the day.

Causes can be physical fatigue

  • Not enough sleep
  • Poor nutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Poor physical condition
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Use of certain medications that are available over the counter, such as painkillers, cough medicines, sleeping tablets, and medicines for motion sickness.
  • Medicines prescribed by a doctor, such as tranquilizers, sleeping tablets, medicines for high blood pressure, muscle relaxants, the contraceptive pill.

Fatigue can also be an early warning of an underlying illness you may be suffering from without you being aware of it;

  • Thyroid disorders
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Infectious diseases
  • Disruption of the water-salt balance in the body.
  • Anemia

People often also have other complaints, such as (muscle) pain, nausea, fever, weight loss, shortness of breath or coldness.

Causes can be psychological fatigue

  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Boredom
  • Working too hard
  • Unresolved emotional problems
  • Repressing and bottling up anger

If you suffer from fatigue, you can first take steps to see if you can find and eliminate the cause. Taking good care of your own body is of the utmost importance;

  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Take regular rest during a busy working day.
  • Set priorities and organize your busy day well
  • Provide relaxation in your free time
  • Do fun things when you are free
  • Take more exercise, build it up gradually.
  • Eat less fat and a varied diet
  • If you are overweight, try to lose some weight
  • Drink at least a liter of water per day
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Check if you are taking medications that can cause fatigue, perhaps you can stop or reduce their use
  • If you suffer from stress due to problems at home or at work, try to find a solution

Going to the doctor with fatigue complaints?

If you have taken good care of yourself and taken sufficient rest, but the fatigue still persists after two weeks, it is wise to see a doctor. There could be something else going on.

Children and fatigue

Children and young adults normally rarely complain of fatigue. If they do, it is wise to see a doctor fairly quickly. There is often an infection.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS

CFS is a disease about which not much is known yet. It is a disease that can suddenly attack people who have always been healthy and active. The disease initially looks a bit like the flu. The disease can last for years.

Some symptoms of CFS

  • Deadly fatigue
  • Painful joints and muscles
  • Sore lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Loss of condition

What causes CFS is still unknown. There are probably several things going on at the same time. It is thought that hormonal disorders may have an influence, as well as psychological causes, the immune system and diseases of the nervous system.

Treatment of CFS

Unfortunately, there is no cure for CFS yet. The treatment is still aimed at relieving the complaints. A low dose of an antidepressant can relieve some pain and improve the depressed mood. CFS patients often lose fitness due to the enormous fatigue they experience. It is therefore important to continue or exercise sufficiently. For many people, help from a psychologist can be useful in learning to deal with the disease and the limitations that come with it.