online doctor of naturopathy

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Aug 11, 2016

The Prevalence of Chronic Fatigue Today 

It has become commonplace for many individuals to wake up feeling tired, sluggish and unmotivated. Some are often quick to hit the snooze button on their alarm, while their coffee machines are set up and ready for immediate use. Some are not sure whether they are really living…or just getting by. Do you even clearly know why you’re fatigued? Are you ever “not” tired? What does that feel like? How do you know when this fatigue has reached a point of apparent “no return”? And how does one go about correcting it… if there is a solution? 

These are excellent questions to ask. If you or someone you care about is experiencing chronic fatigue, it may be time to seek professional guidance to get the necessary assessments and learn what is at the core of the fatigue. 

Hundreds of millions of people feel tired upon initial awakening, yet with a splash of water to the face and a jumbo Starbuck’s late’ manage quite well, getting through the tasks necessary to feel a sense of accomplishment. On the weekends, they may rest and relax, getting chores done and watching the tube in recline mode, anticipating the week to come. This does not necessarily define chronic fatigue syndrome.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms and Associated Behaviors

Chronic Fatigue is a medical syndrome that has clear causal factors, that once resolved, the possibility of really living becomes available. However while impaired, one may feel too exhausted to get off the couch, do regular chores, and they would almost prefer their caffeine to be permanently siphoned in with a firehose.

There may exist feelings of despair, gloom, depression, and such exhaustion, that even the slightest amount of activity requires extensive recovery time. This kind of fatigue can be scary. One may feel hopeless or lost. You may not be sure what to do for yourself, have the energy to attempt, or know who to go to for help. 

I recall the days when I had chronic fatigue syndrome. I dreaded having to get out of my car to go buy groceries, knowing that I would have to unload the car when I got home. I would sit there for minutes mustering up the strength to open the car door. The fatigue I had was a combination of many factors. I had an undiagnosed thyroid disorder, a chronic viral infection, an overgrowth of candidiasis in my intestines, and burn out from 12 years of pre-med and medical schools. I managed with a lot of caffeine during school, however managing the reality of real life, as a new doctor, in a new state, knowing only a few colleagues, while finishing acupuncture school, was overwhelming.

Symptoms

There is no one specific cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, though it appears to be exacerbated by severe emotional or physical stress and trauma, prolonged viral or bacterial infections, immune dysfunctions, thyroid problems, toxic exposure and/or nutritional deficiencies. Chronic fatigue syndrome is currently defined as severe fatigue lasting more than six months while also experiencing at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of memory or concentration
  • Sore throat
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Sleep without feeling rested
  • Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise
  • Poor memory
  • Depression
  • Allergies
  • Digestive disorders
  • Chest pain
  • Numbness and tingling of the extremities.

Other common symptoms include: bloating; nausea; diarrhea; night sweats or chills; brain fogginess; dizziness; shortness of breath; chronic cough; visual disturbances; allergies or sensitivities to foods, alcohol, chemicals; irregular heartbeat or palpitations; jaw pain, or pain in eyes or mouth. A qualified naturopathic doctor can usually devise a protocol that will be effective in treating the symptoms, as well as creating health and well-being for the totality of the patient.

Varying Causes of Chronic Fatigue Symptoms

The reality is that there are many causes of chronic fatigue. And every person has a unique combination of these factors that compound the effects of the fatigue.  Burn-out is a huge epidemic, sometimes referred to as adrenal fatigue. While adrenal fatigue is talked about with great regularity amongst those who feel overwhelmed and burned out, it isn’t an actual medical diagnosis, rather a collection of symptoms such as body aches, weight loss, usually due to skipping meals during long work hours, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and poor digestion. It is a common phenomenon for men and women in their 40’s to skip meals, thinking that they are too busy and need to get too many things done before they even think about taking care of themselves. One might ask themselves “why?”. 

Adrenal Insufficiency and Chronic Fatigue

The medical term of “adrenal insufficiency” refers to a dis-regulation or inadequate production of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands. These hormones include cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine and DHEA. When these hormones are not being produced by the adrenal glands in adequate amounts the body may experience lightheadedness, unexplained weight loss, low blood pressure, body aches, fatigue, loss of hair and skin discoloration. Testing the body for proper adrenal function is recommended if you are experiencing a number of these symptoms. 

The Impact of Dietary Choices on Chronic Fatigue and Energy Levels

Another causal factor to feeling tired all the time has to do with our food choices. Diets rich in sugar and processed flour, laced with additives, preservatives, and food colorings will contribute to malaise, fatigue and crashes of energy. Fresh foods, from the earth, rich in fragrant smells, color and taste, that has not been altered or processed provides the nutrients necessary for vital energy. If you are eating fresh foods and still feel lethargic, there are probably other contribution factors.

The Impact of Depressive Disorders and Anxiety on Chronic Fatigue

Depressive disorders and anxiety can cause chronic fatigue. The feelings of hopelessness, despair, feeling alone, isolated and afraid are states that keep one in bondage unable to experience themselves and life to the fullest. If you are feeling this way, please do reach out for support from a compassionate loved one, friend, therapist or caring holistic physician, like me, for help in moving you through these feelings and the ways you are experiencing life. We are here to support and assist in creating ideas for change. 

Eating & Self Sabotaging Behaviors

Obesity, chronic binging, purging and other eating behaviors can create feelings of self loathing and worthlessness. This is another signal for you to seek help. There are specialists and groups that can work with you to get beyond these self sabotaging behaviors. And don’t think you are the only one. I have been in professional practice for over 30 years, and these behaviors are experienced more than you would imagine. Drop the shame and pick up the phone. 

Additional Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Medications

Many medications have side-effects, some may interrupt your normal energy, sleep or stamina. Chemical exposure can have lingering and long lasting side effects including fatigue. 

Food Intolerances

Undiscovered food intolerances may lead to fatigue. It is common to crave the very thing that your body cannot process well, leading to bloating, pain and fatigue.

Unresolved Relationship Issues and Emotional Distress

Unresolved relationship issues and overwhelming loads of other’s expectations can all lead to chronic fatigue syndrome. However, in my experience, it is never one thing. 

Being Overwhelmed

A prolonged state of being overwhelmed may lead to overeating, overeating may lead to chronic allergies, constipation, fungal infections or obesity. Relationship issues may lead to overworking to avoid the issues, which may then lead to exhaustion, anxiety and depression. 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment

The pressing question is “how do I resolve this oppressive feeling of fatigue and exhaustion?”

The First Steps

My first recommendation is to muster up enough energy to pick up the phone and call to schedule a consultation. In person is always best, however over the phone, FaceTime or zoom will work as well.

During our consultation, I will get a comprehensive overview of all the relevant aspects of your life that may be contributing to your fatigue. I will then order the appropriate diagnostic tests to confirm the other variables contributing to your chronic fatigue syndrome. I will look at your blood, urine and saliva to rule out or determine appearances of anemia, infection, virus’s, triglycerides, insulin resistance, nutritional imbalances and deficiencies, thyroid function, auto-immune suspicions, other hormones imbalances, and gut microbiome.

Additional Assessments  

Your immune system will be assessed as well as your lymphatic wellness and blood circulation. These factors may be assessed with thermometry, which we use in the Center for Natural Healing Hawaii, to find irregular patterns, blockages, inflammation and other obstacles to healing, giving us clues on how to best proceed with your treatment. 

What to Expect After Your First Visit

The good news is that by the end of your very first visit, I will have gathered enough information to initiate a treatment plan for you to get your system ready for action. If there is a history of certain virus’s, I will employ powerful anti-viral agents from natures botanical garden and tested for bio-compatibility to match your delicate system. If there are diet and lifestyle related concerns, we will address accordingly. Over time, each area of imbalance will be addressed during which time, your energy will begin to emerge in exciting and refreshing ways. 

How the Center for Natural Healing Can Help With Chronic Fatigue

If you or someone you know has chronic fatigue syndrome, please remember there is good news and there is hope. At the Center for Natural Healing Hawaii, I will find the causes using laboratories and diagnostic equipment from around the world. We will rapidly learn of many of the causes and contributing factors creating your syndrome. And then we will work together, as you go one step at a time toward the direction of your desired outcome…to feel good.

Perhaps the even better news is that it can happen relatively quickly. Within three to six months, you will be really happy that you set out on this journey. Additionally, many of your concurrent issues will spontaneously disappear. Your body will begin to feel alive, invigorated, vital and you will have motivation and enthusiasm. It sounds like a dream. It is if you make it yours. I am here to assist, guide and support you on your journey.

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