Managing fatigue with multiple sclerosis

The fatigue that often accompanies MS can make it hard to do what you want to do. Use these ideas to help fight fatigue. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Fatigue is a common symptom for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Being tired all the time can make it hard for you to move about or think clearly. Here are some suggestions for easing and managing the fatigue that accompanies MS:

Make healthy food choices

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Monitor your calories and eat healthy foods to keep your weight under control. Being underweight or overweight can increase fatigue.
  • Don't skip meals. It may contribute to low energy levels.
  • Avoid alcohol. It can intensify feelings of fatigue.

Exercise regularly

  • Keep cool. Moderate exercise can help manage fatigue. Consider walking on a treadmill in an air-conditioned room or swimming in a pool to avoid getting overheated.
  • Don't overdo it. Too much physical activity can make fatigue worse. Start slow, so you don't go beyond your limits.
  • Take a break when you're done. Make sure to get plenty of rest after exercising.

Respect your limits

  • Make a plan. Organize your day so that you can attend to the most tiring tasks when you have the most energy.
  • Find work that fits. If you have a physically demanding job that leaves you exhausted, think about finding other employment that's more compatible with your energy level.
  • Rest. Sleep regular hours, and rest or nap when you need to.

Consider medications and supplements

  • Antidepressants can be used to treat some of the psychological symptoms that accompany fatigue.
  • A dietary supplement called acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown in some studies to reduce MS-associated fatigue.
  • A drug called amantadine was found in some studies to reduce fatigue as well.

Always consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise or medication routines.

Nov. 14, 2013