Fatigue: 6 Questions

Imagine, you feel exhausted, totally out of energy and tired all the time – almost constantly, perhaps even over a number of years. A walk by the lake, a Bicycle tour, a Meeting with friends: activities that you have felt earlier than it is refreshing and invigorating, leach, in the meantime, so much so that then for several days as well as nothing more. What has made what was once fun, is now just exhausting and just too much.

6 questions and answers on abnormal exhaustion

1. What is Fatigue?2. What distinguishes Fatigue from normal fatigue?3. When can Fatigue occur?4. What are the causes of Fatigue are?5. What are the consequences of a Fatigue?6. What helps with Fatigue?

1. What is Fatigue?

The word Fatigue comes from the French and means fatigue. With a normal fatigue, as each of us knows, has to do with the Fatigue but nothing to. And not with laziness.

Characteristic feature of Fatigue is that the fatigue

  • strong,
  • lasts longer than normal fatigue and
  • hardly influenced.

Even small physical or mental effort for the Affected to much. You feel irritable, anxious or depressed. Many are also suffering from complaints such as head, neck, or joint pain and concentration problems.

2. What distinguishes Fatigue from normal fatigue?

People with MS have a strong need to lie down and rest. You feel but then it is not better. During sleep and relaxation can help you against a normal fatigue or exhaustion, can bring you a Fatigue, little or no improvement. The lack of energy is so pronounced that the Affected cannot fight it.

3. When can Fatigue occur?

Fatigue is a Symptom that especially in the context of various chronic diseases in appearance.

Especially in the case of cancer comes Fatigue often. Nine out of ten of all cancer patients suffer, at least temporarily, under the strong exhaustion. A part of you the Fatigue back again after a while. For others, the symptoms months or even years to keep.

However, not only cancer patients are affected. Also other diseases can be associated with Fatigue, for example

  • Diseases of the Central nervous system such as multiple sclerosis or
  • rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid Arthritis.

Chronic fatigue syndrome: Fatigue as a distinct disorder

A Fatigue can also occur for no apparent reason. The doctor can find no underlying chronic disease, which could be associated with Fatigue in the context, one speaks of a chronic fatigue syndrome. Other names include Chronic Fatigue syndrome (CFS) , or Myalgic encephalomyelitis.

4. What are the causes of Fatigue are?

The exact causes of Fatigue are not yet finally clarified.

In the case of a Fatigue in the context of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and irradiation, a significant burden for the body. You don’t just affect cancer cells, but also against healthy tissue. Also, the therapies can result in anemia (anemia), so that the body is not sufficiently supplied with oxygen. In addition to the therapies, the cancer itself can increase Fatigue. And also factors such as side effects of medications, malnutrition, or the psychological burden of the diagnosis is thought to play a role.

Also in connection with other chronic diseases, the cause of Fatigue is not known exactly. In the case of multiple sclerosis , the Fatigue may be explained by the fact that parts of the nervous substance in the Central nervous system damaged are.

In the case of a chronic fatigue syndrome, so a long-sustained Fatigue without physical underlying disease, the trigger is also not fully known. Several factors are discussed as the cause or trigger, such as immune deficiencies or hormonal disorders. Often the first complaints show up after an infection such as a flu.

5. What are the consequences of a Fatigue?

A Fatigue affected the daily lives significantly, sometimes even so much so, that the subject of his work could not pursue, because he is from exhaustion in the location.

Permanently exhausted and worn out to be, not only physically, but also mentally a considerable burden. The Affected suffer greatly, things that you once liked, suddenly in agony. And so it is not surprising that many people are struck with Fatigue and lack commitment. You, possibly, and develop a Depression. At this point, it is important to seek timely professional help.

A Fatigue can

  • in severity with time vary; Phases of very strong depletion alternate with phases, in which the Person a little better.
  • short or long stop: the complaints months to years, one speaks of chronic Fatigue.
  • after a symptom-free Phase to occur again.

6. What helps with Fatigue?

People with Fatigue suffer not only including to be less powerful. It falls to them to accept difficult that you are sick. So they put themselves under pressure and have high expectations of themselves.

Therefore, it is helpful first, the limits of their own capacity to find, accept and aware of the rest phases to allow. Also important is openness: If friends and Acquaintances know what Fatigue is and what it means for the Affected, you can adjust accordingly.

In the case of a Fatigue various therapeutic approaches may provide relief:

  • Movement: Even if it is the Affected very difficult and you prefer to on the Sofa would stay light physical activity can some of the symptoms of a Fatigue to relieve. Well Yoga, Tai-Chi, (water-)Gymnastics, Swimming or Cycling for example, are suitable.
  • Occupational therapy: Who to Fatigue suffers, has to learn with his energy to households. An occupational therapist can help. The therapist conveys to the patient, as this can divide its existing powers wisely and efficiently, without exceeding your own limits.
  • psycho-therapeutic support: As well suited to the cognitive-behavioral therapy proven. The aim is to learn with the Fatigue in a better way. The Concerned work in the therapy to detect adverse and negative thoughts and behaviors and change.


Fatigue. Online information of the German Multiple sclerosis society, Bundesverband e. V.: www.dmsg.de (status: 3.12.2019)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Online information of the Pschyrembel: www.pschyrembel.de (August 2018)

Fatigue in cancer. Online information of the German cancer society: www.krebsgesellschaft.de (status: 5.7.2018)

Siegmund-Schultze, N.: Fatigue in cancer: exercise therapy is more effective than treatment with medication. Deutsches Ärzteblatt, Jg. 115, Issue 12, P. A 534 (23.3.2018)

Fatigue. Online information of the Pschyrembel: www.pschyrembel.de (status: April 2016)

Rheumatoid Arthritis. Online information of the Institute for quality and efficiency in healthcare (IQWiG): www.gesundheitsinformation.de (status: 27.7.2016)

For More Information

Onmeda-Reading Tips:

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Fatigue in cancer
  • Forum cancer: ask our experts for advice.

Link tips:

  • German Fatigue Companythe German Fatigue society (DFaG) e. V. has set itself the goal to explore the causes of tumor-related Fatigue.


*The article “Fatigue: 6 questions & answers to the great fatigue” is published by Onmeda. Contact with the executives here.