If you have signs and symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, you're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. It can be difficult to absorb all the information provided during an appointment, so you might want to arrange for a friend or family member to accompany you. Having someone else hear the information can help you later in case there's something you missed or forgot.
What you can do
Before your appointment, you may want to write a list that includes:
- Your signs and symptoms. Be thorough. While fatigue may be affecting you most, other symptoms — such as memory problems or headache — are also important to share with your doctor.
- Key personal information. Recent changes or major stressors in your life can play a very real role in your physical well-being.
- Health information. List any other conditions for which you're being treated and the names of any medications, vitamins or supplements you take regularly.
- Questions to ask your doctor. Creating your list of questions in advance can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
For chronic fatigue syndrome, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What are the possible causes of my symptoms or condition?
- What tests do you recommend?
- If these tests don't pinpoint the cause of my symptoms, what additional tests might I need?
- On what basis would you make a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome?
- Are there any treatments or lifestyle changes that could help my symptoms now?
- Do you have any printed materials I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- What activity level should I aim for while we're seeking a diagnosis?
- Do you recommend that I also see a mental health provider?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment as they occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
Aug. 30, 2016
- What are your symptoms and when did they begin?
- Does anything make your symptoms better or worse?
- Do you have problems with memory or concentration?
- Are you having trouble sleeping?
- How often do you feel depressed or anxious?
- How much do your symptoms limit your ability to function? For example, have you ever had to miss school or work because of your symptoms?
- What treatments have you tried so far for this condition? How have they worked?
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/cfs/. Accessed March 30, 2014.
- Goldman L, et al. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 30, 2014.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 30, 2014.
- Gluckman SJ. Clinical features and diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 30, 2014.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis. Chicago, Ill.: International Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. http://www.iacfsme.org/Portals/0/PDF/PrimerFinal3.pdf. Accessed March 31, 2014.
- Smith MEB, et al. Treatment of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: A systematic review for a National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention workshop. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2015;162:841.
- Fleming KC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 22, 2016.