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What Is The Cause Of Post Exertional Malaise In CFS/ME & Fibromyalgia?

Tired? Drained? Fatigued? Exhausted? Beat? Finished? Pooped?

Just what is the cause of Post Exertionalย Malaise?

What do we know about this chief symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?:

  • It is a feeling of intense fatigue after exertion both physical and mental

  • Can last from a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity of one’s condition

  • Illicits feelings similar to having the ‘flu’. These include; muscle soreness/pain, fever, sore throat, the feeling of having cement for blood

Those of us with CFS/ME know these symptoms well. Post Exertional Malaise is the reason we must measure out our activities in part and parcel, and why we have to weigh the task against the inevitable drain on our energy reserves.

Post Exertional Malaise is one of the chief markers of CFS/ME. Click To Tweet



What Is The Cause Of Post Exertional Malaise?

  • Possible issues with the immune system response: A study conducted attempted to link ‘poor muscle repair’ to the reason behind PEM after physical excercise. I personally think this one falls short…how do you explain PEM after emotional/mental stress?

  • It has also been suggested that damaged mitochondria could be the cause of PEM in CFS/ME. Mitochondria metabolize fatty acids and carbohydrates in order to generate energy. Thus, a deficiency within this system may be the cause of our ‘lack of energy’, and the fatigue we experience.

Finding the cause for Post Exertional Malaise in CFS/ME could lead to bio-markers. Click To Tweet

What Is The Cause Of Post Exertional Malaise in cfs/me and fibromyalgia


Research is currently being done that will hopefully shed light on the cause of Post Exertional Malaise in CFS/ME & Fibromyalgia.

If found, this could also serve as the bio marker for diagnosis, which would lead to the legitimacy of the disease within the medical community. Something we currently lack.

For now….Keep Counting Those Spoons!

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  • Reply
    March 30 at 4:27 pm

    Hello’ I would actually love it if someone could find an answer to this problem. I feel I could put up with all the other things that come with Fibro and ME/CFS, but the “always being soooo tired and having No energy”, is where I begin to feel everything is worse. Also this leads me to my “down days”/ feelings of feeling low emotionally. I just do not have enough stamina to go out and about that I know others don’t understand, and think I am being “hard to get on with”.
    I do believe that it may have something to do with our Mitochondria not working efficiently in converting Energy from what we ingest; for No matter what I eat, it doesn’t seem to make any difference in increasing Energy. I have trialled drinking Energy Booster Drinks, with some relief; but not enough to sustain me all the time. I only have to drive down the road to buy bread/milk and it takes me at least 2-3 days to get over this. As for going to the shops for an outing, this will take me a week or more, and this is only after an hour having a coffee with a friend. If others are shopping, I sit and wait for them.
    So , yes, please; find an answer to this problem, and we all may gain some life back for ourelves. Thakyou.

    • Reply
      March 30 at 8:56 pm

      Thank you for this Browyn. I understand how frustrating it can be needing a week to recover from a simple outing. Hopefully they will find an answer soonโ™ฅ

  • Reply
    March 31 at 8:03 am

    Great article! My next question would be: how does a person repair the damaged mitochondria? It would stand to reason if the cells get ‘fixed’ then I might be able to feel better some day.

    • Reply
      March 31 at 9:16 am

      Interesting question Carrie! I would imagine they need to find out ‘why’ the mitochondria is being damaged in the first place before looking to repair. Otherwise, I think it would be a losing battle considering our healed mitochondria would just become damaged again. Not sure, just guessing. Thanks for the question though! If you find anything out, let us know! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    Sharon Hutchinson
    March 31 at 9:33 am

    Bronwyn is so right. A trip to the food store means a later collapse. Other people can dash off and do several things a day but for me I now can handle only one outing. This has always puzzled me and it is also hard to explain to others why I get a “delayed” reaction since I don’t know why myself. It came to a point where I began to accept that it would take about 1 1/2 weeks to recover from events that required a lot of walking, such as a very large flea market that is in a HUGE building . I refuse to give up on something that gives me great fun and pleasure. Yes, it will require time to recover but I’m determined that this condition is not going to take away the small amount of pleasure that is still available to me. We must continue to fight–there is no alternative.

    • Reply
      April 3 at 7:41 am

      Enjoy what you can when you can. A good thing to remember on those down days.

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