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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Your Sex Life

by | Apr 11, 2022 | Articles, CFS, Chronic fatigue syndrome

About CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome)

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) also known medically as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME, is a disease characterised by debilitating fatigue, abnormal sleep patterns, pain, as well as other symptoms which are made worse by exertion. The main symptom is chronic fatigue which may last for more than 6 months in the beginning stages but could be a life-long condition as to date there is no cure or approved treatment. However, studies have indicated that some symptoms can be managed or treated to provide a measure of relief.

The fatigue worsens with physical or mental activity but doesn’t improve with rest or sleep. Symptoms may include problems with concentration, as well as feeling dizzy which happens when you move from sitting or lying down, to a standing position.

What are the causes of CFS?

In spite of intense research, the actual cause of CFS is not fully known. Studies have shown that it is not caused by any underlying medical condition but appears to be neurological in nature, and there are some potential triggers that may set it off. The triggers include:

  • Viral infection. Some people develop chronic fatigue syndrome after a viral infection which might trigger the disorder.
  • Immune system issues. The immune systems of some folk who have CFS, appear to be slightly impaired.
  • Physical or emotional trauma. There are reports from people who experienced an injury, surgery, or severe emotional stress, shortly before symptoms began.

More research is needed before any triggers can be noted as actual causes of CFS. However, there is an agreement that women are diagnosed with the condition 4 times more often than men.

How the chronic condition may affect your sex life

Although research is limited, evidence has suggested that CFS has a definite effect on sexual health and libido. A study done among a number of women in the US, showed that as the CFS symptoms intensified, the women tended to avoid sex, and took less pleasure in lovemaking.

The CFS symptoms which contribute to low libido issues include:

  • Devastating fatigue
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Insomnia, a sore throat, and tender lymph nodes

Even if CFS makes it difficult to maintain a healthy sex life, it is certainly not impossible to do so. Couples who find it a struggle to communicate about CFS and sex might find it beneficial to visit a therapist who can help them to understand and comfort each other, as well as sort out sexual issues.

Tips to restore your sex life

  • Stay affectionate and close to each other to keep elements of intimacy alive.
  • Try and set aside time in the next week or two to have a sexual encounter with your partner.
  • If you have a chronic illness and can manage sex at least twice a week, your positivity will benefit the way you cope with CFS.
  • Plan ahead for your “sex date night” and make it as romantic as you can.

Remember that the anxiety of your CFS condition may make you feel depressed and irritable at times. This is normal, and if you can train yourself to keep looking on the bright side, these feelings may go away with time.

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