Inexplicably sick for almost 2 months, could it be CFS?

Posted , 5 users are following.

First off, I have a history of:


- anxiety

- depression

- severe debilitation (nausea, poor concentration/memory, dizziness) lasting several days when I don't get enough sleep

- extreme immune response to cold viruses (all the above symptoms plus severe congestion lasting up to 2 weeks and usually vomiting)

In early September I started a new job. It's my first "real" job (working 9-5 in an office), but until next year I'm only doing 2 days a week. I love the work and for the first week I was really excited about it.

Then on day 4 (in my second week) I had increasingly bad bouts of diarrhea when I got there.

As an IBS sufferer I'm no stranger to diarrhea. I always have mild anxiety about leaving the house/going out in public, which can trigger an episode, and I also find that mental activity (such as what I do at work) can trigger my bowels to move. In fact I had been experiencing this for the previous 3 days at work, but it wasn't very bad and wasn't bothering me.

But this time, the diarrhea was much worse, showed no sign of stopping, and by lunch time I was also feeling faint, cold and shivery. I had no appetite and couldn't eat my lunch. I also felt like I just wanted to go to sleep, even though at the time I didn't think I was "tired".

I often have those symptoms when I'm getting/recovering from a virus, and everyone in the office had just had the flu, so I thought I'd probably caught it. I went home to bed, and the diarrhea eventually stopped when my bowel was empty.

The symptoms continued for a week, during which I could only eat very tiny amounts of dry biscuits and white foods. I went to my doctor, who did my blood pressure, a blood test, ECG and stool sample, all of which came back normal. Except that I had low iron, which I've had for years anyway. Because it was the only thing she could see that was wrong, my doctor told me to get an iron supplement. I started taking it and almost immediately felt better (or so I thought).

I was ok for 2 weeks, and then I had a relapse at work (diarrhea followed by dizziness). This time I was worse - nauseous as well, and unable to eat more than dry biscuits for about 10 days. I had more blood tests, stool samples and pelvic and abdominal ultrasounds, but they couldn't see anything wrong.

Since then, it's been up and down. Some days I'm ok, other days I'm not, and on my bad days how I feel changes from hour to hour.

In addition to the other symptoms, I've started to realise that during an episode I'm very very tired as well. It reminds me of how I felt once when I missed a night of sleep and was really sick for 2 days afterwards.

I've been sleeping fine, but I'm not used to getting up at 6:30 for work and working a full 8 hours, and I've always felt unwell when I've had to get up early. I usually wake up feeling like I could sleep for the rest of the day.

Someone at work suggested I might have CFS, and now that I've looked into it I wonder if they might be right. But I don't know how to find a doctor who will take CFS seriously - I've heard many of them don't.

0 likes, 5 replies

5 Replies

  • Posted

    May not be cfs. I would think bouts of diarrhea could cause fatigue, weakness which could make your anxiety worse. With all the different symptoms cfs sufferers have the one consistent seems to be post exertional fatigue...sometime debilitating. Most of the time if you can get your anxiety under control(naturally) the other symptoms will reduce. It may not be an overnight solution but that's where I would start. 

  • Posted

    Unlikely, sounds to me like stress caused by you working and the impact it has on your body. Many people don't want to get up in the morning and don't feel like they have the energy to get up. 

    Cfs is only diagnosed after after at least 6 months and then only when everything else has been eliminated 

  • Posted

    Two months with the symptoms you mention is way too soon to be thinking about ME/CFS. It sounds more like anxiety-induced diarrhea in addition to adjusting to a new schedule. The red flag for ME/CFS is post-exertional malaise (PEM), which means that you get fatigued after being active--way beyond what would be considered normal. 
  • Posted

    Thanks everyone for your responses.

    My family keeps telling me it's "just anxiety" but I know it's not - of course anxiety makes it worse, but whatever is going on is something different.

    As an example, I was really anxious and depressed when I went to work on Wednesday, dreading a relapse of the symptoms - but I was fine for the whole day! The next day I went to work feeling more positive because I'd had a good day, and I had a relapse.

    Incidentally, many of my episodes occur without diarrhea being one of the symptoms. It feels like body just suddenly decides to shut down, and everything else - the diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, tiredness, dizziness - is a side effect of that. But the symptoms come in different combinations.

    • Posted

      Unfortunately I know to much about anxiety. Symptoms and timing don't always make sense. Seek a stress free life...whatever it takes. Good luck with your health.

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