Fatigue & Exhaustion

Parent Q&A

PCP who believes CFS/ME is real Dec 19, 2019 (2 responses below)
Fatigue in peri-menopause? or just fatigue? Help! May 22, 2019 (8 responses below)
Overly sensitive exhausted mom-how to cure it??? Oct 14, 2017 (12 responses below)
Naturopath recommendation for adrenal fatigue? Aug 20, 2017 (3 responses below)
Desperately need help for adrenal fatigue May 31, 2017 (6 responses below)
  • PCP who believes CFS/ME is real

    (2 replies)

    I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalitis (CFS/ME) and a host of other related health issues. I am getting great care from a medical doctor who specializes in these disorders, but I need a new PCP for regular health care unrelated to CFS/ME. I’m looking for someone who I can see for preventive care, mammograms, injuries, etc., who will not be dismissive of me because of the CFS/ME diagnosis. I need someone who understands that CFS/ME is a real disease and is willing to be educated about it if not already aware of recent research developments, who will not tell me that everyone is tired, it is stress-related, it is in my head, or try to refer me for mental health care, and who is comfortable with me getting unconventional (but helpful) treatment from my specialist. Anyone in a similar position who loves their PCP? Anyone who just plain loves their PCP and thinks that they’d be open to working with me? Thank you!

    I don’t have any recommendations, but am in the same boat as you are! Right now I’m in a remission period, but have relapsed several times in my life. Nobody seems to understand what it is or how it affects my care.

    I've had the same problem finding a primary care doctor knowledgeable in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS). Because Stanford has an ME/CFS clinic, there may be some primary docs there who are more knowledgeable (and Stanford has an outpost in Emeryville). Also, Marcey Shapiro in Albany is an integrative MD who understands ME/CFS and does some primary care such as well woman exams, preventative care, etc., but she's out of network for all plans

  • I am sort of at a loss. I'm almost 44, no idea when my mom went through menopause or what her symptoms were. I have never been a morning person, and always found it hard to get out of bed in the morning or function for the first hour or so. But lately it's gotten WAY worse. It doesn't matter how much sleep I get. how good the sleep is, how much exercise I get, how much sugar I eat... I CANNOT get out of bed in the morning. Even if I've gotten 10 hours of sleep!

    Is this peri-menopause? Something else? Any ideas? I take vitamins, I eat healthy, I don't have much caffeine, and I've had my iron tested and I'm fine. 

    My doctor doesn't know what to do. Has anyone else experienced this??

    Have you had your thyroid checked? Hypothyroidism is pretty common and fatigue, among other things, is a side effect.  Ask your doctor to order you at least TSH and free T3, if you haven’t had those labs run. 

    I am in early menopause at age 42 and fatigue was definitely a symptom. I went on hormone replacement therapy and it has helped so much. Are you working with an OB/gyn? That would be the doctor to ask about whether the fatigue is related to perimenopause. The OB/gyn can test your hormone levels to see if you’re entering perimenopause.

    The other thing you should have checked is your thyroid hormones. Hypothyroid is a common cause of fatigue in middle aged women. I’m surprised your doctor didn’t think to check it. Treatment is very simple for most people (daily thyroid hormone pill).

    I'm 50 and have been in perimenopause for some years. I've also always been a night owl, and I definitely have even more trouble getting going in the morning than I used to. But what you're experiencing sounds more extreme.  If there haven't been any changes in your daily routines (diet, exercise, sun exposure) my first guess would be a thyroid problem.  I have a number of friends whose first symptoms of an ill-functioning thyroid arose during pregnancy, but any hormonal change, presumably including perimenopause, could be a trigger!

  • If you had this problem and recognize yourself in my description please comment from your own experience. 

    I am so tired, do not know what to do. I had always been very sensitive, reacting to everything but over the last few years when I approached mid40s and all hormonal premenopausal changes after a very stressful life it became very bad. It is like constant PMS. Every tiny little negative thing hurts me a lot, way out of proportion to a stressor. It is like if I had no skin emotionally. Every rude word, every even little stress, every sad news I heard on TV, even listening to a sad song can make me cry. 

    My ability to handle stress has disappeared now. It is one of symptoms of adrenal fatigue syndrome-have all the other symptoms too and cortisol test confirmed. I am exhausted, anxious and depressed all the time. 

    It is so hard to function like that. I am overreacting all the time. Little things which most people would easily ignore, make me sad for days or weeks. I do my best to avoid negative people and do not listen to sad news on TV if I can. 

    I work in medical field so it is very stressful and patients LOVE me because of that extra compassion and empathy that I feel their pain and do my best to relieve it. But downside is that I suffer from this, getting sad all the time and those overwhelming emotions interfere with my ability to function. 

    I am a single mom of a teenager. Have a dog. Tried so far without success: therapy for 6 months each with 2 therapists (CBT and EMDR), meditation, light exercise, healthy food, vitamins, limiting negativity (from TV, newspapers and staying away from negative angry people), herbal calming teas. Helped a little only increasing sleep time and doing less work/going on vacation but finances do not allow to decrease work anymore. 

    Please how to get this "thick skin"? How to became calm and happy and a little numb to pain? How to care less? Was anyone able to achieve it? I do not want to become heartless or indifferent but I want to stop suffering from every little thing. Were you able to overcome it and to become calm? 

    Please do not suggest meds, or going to the doctor or taking hormones. Would like to find natural, not chemical solution. 

    I used to feel the same. In my case it was depression manifesting itself as overly sensitive. Once I started taking steps to compat depression such as creating a social network, making exercise a priority, I am starting to feel better. I also found I need to eat low to no carbs in the morning (makes me more energetic during the day) and have carbs only for dinner to help the adrenal fatigue.

    You mention light exercise but I would try heavy exercise - HIIT, spinning anything that keeps your working really hard, ramp up slowly.

    I know you didn't want meds, but FWIW a low 30mg dose of cymbalta really works me,

    I hear you. I'm there too, about to turn 45 and feeling sad, and pissed off, all the time.  Thinking about when I feel good: when I'm hiking, and when I'm with my women friends.  My advice (to you and myself) is consciously schedule and protect time with other women.  Schedule dates together, hikes, dinners, breakfast, whatever you can get on the calendar. Get it on there and don't make it the first that gets dropped when something "more urgent" comes up. good luck and hugs to you. we can get through this!  

    Dear Friend; here is my experience: After going into peri-menopause, I found myself having anxiety attacks, and way over-reacting to even the slightest thing. I immediately started looking at my emotional life and wondering why I was feeling the way I did. Meanwhile, my blood pressure was going way up, and I was also diagnosed as pre-diabetic. Argh! Thank heavens, I chanced into a solution, and the understanding which came with it; here's how: Looking at my blood pressure and blood sugar, my doctor suggested I go on a diet, assuming that the root cause was weight gain. It turned out she was wrong, but I decided to go on yet another diet. I can't really tell you why I chose the Atkins diet, but I did, and as soon as I started to read about the effect of carbohydrates on blood pressure, I knew I had hit pay dirt. Although I am unable to find any research on it, it is clear to me that estrogen helps us metabolize carbohydrates, and the dropping estrogen levels of menopause leave us suddenly unable to handle what had been normal loads. Too much blood sugar yields too much cortisol, excess weight, stress on the system, and the rest. After radically decreasing carbohydrates in my diet, and increasing exercise to at least 1/2 hour per day x6 days per week, my anxiety attacks went away, and my blood pressure and blood sugar stabilized. (I also take lots of supplements: co-enzyme Q-10, taurine, arginine and magnesium.) Best to you!

  • By the time my child was 2.5 I stopped sleeping well--after the first two years of normal wake ups with a baby and for nursing. Now two more years have passed and I still can't get enough sleep. I have been prescribed medications that make me sleep but don't address the underlying cause. Does anyone know of a good Naturopath who can diagnose and treat what I am guessing is adrenal fatigue/HPA Axis dysfunction?

    I don't know of a naturopath (I mistrust them because of their anti-vaccination stances), but let me tell you, I cured my sleep problems with a trip to the dispensary. You just ask for a mostly- or all-indica strain, explain you need to sleep -- I cannot tell you how this has changed my life. Suddenly I get enough sleep, which cascades into an incredible number of benefits. Your regular G.P. should be able to write you a letter for the card. If not, you can go to hellomd.com and get one from them. 

    I went to both Dr Aumatma Shah (Dr Aum) naturopathic doctor and Bina Jinda (Acupunturist) for adrenal fatigue.  Dr Aum also ran detail lab work to identify other nutritional deficiencies that for me also worsened adrenal fatigue like B vitamin deficiency. A combination of their treatment, diet changes, reduce stress level and moderate exercise helped me heal adrenal fatigue.  The condition is generally not recognized by western physicians. Good luck,

    I recommend Myrto Ashe MD, she is a functional medicine specialist, located in San Rafael.  http://www.unconventionalmedicine.net/  I went to her for adrenal fatigue, and she had me do a step-wise treatment, as well as additional testing, also on a step by step basis, to get to the bottom of what was causing the adrenal fatigue.  Her goal is to optimize health, and eliminate the need for medications.  

  • Desperately need help for adrenal fatigue

    (6 replies)

    So after many years of stress in a high-pressure job and then having a baby 3 years ago, I feel totally out of whack.

    It is like I can't function at all from 9am to around 2pm and this state of disfunction gets me so depressed and low and I feel so helpless. Then, all of a sudden at 4pm the fog lifts and I feel myself again, feel the energy coming back.

    And when it is 10pm and time to sleep, Im so wired! I tried melatonin, it doesn't work I feel all jittery in the morning.

    I did some saliva tests which confirmed my symptoms spot on. I have significantly lower than the minimum range corsitol in the mornings and then late afternoon onwards it starts to surge and high cortisol levels just before bedtime.

    How can I get my rythmn back, would love some recommendations for practitioners (MD preferred) who specialize in adrenal fatigue? I am trying to give up coffee which is so hard and also avoid any processed food/white sugar/flour etc

    I see Dr. Amy Day in Berkeley and she is amazing. She's an MD : her site is at http://dramyday.com/

    Good luck! You can do this. :)

    removing coffee helped me a lot. i cut out all processed foods, and was still getting symptoms, until i cut out all caffeine....and alcohol. 

    This is the kind of condition Chinese medicine can help with, going to root causes. It takes some time, because there are layers of organ function to re-balance. I have had very good success with Kirstin Lindquist LaC, the founder of Energy Matters, on upper Piedmont Ave in Oakland.  In addition to using acupuncture, she makes wise and intelligent use of food-based supplements, which have help me (and many others) significantly. Mss tend not to see the whole picture, and these days tend also to br under the thrall of big pharma, which tries to treat symptoms rather than causes. Sometimes helpful. I wish you the best with this.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Feb 2005

I am looking for a primary care physician, preferably female, in or near the Berkeley area. If anyone knows of one who has experience with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, that would be even better! I am on MediCal/Medicare. Thanks!

[no replies received]


Nov 2004

Does anyone know a specialist that deals with Cronic Fatigue Sydrome? If you know someone near La Morinda that would be the best. What type of doctor or specialist would you recommend? sleepy mommy


There is a wonderful endocrinologist in Lafayette named Rachelle Halpern who has an interesting approach to Chronic Fatigue (I believe she looks at mercury toxicity as a possible cause) and I know she's had great success in treating this disorder. I don't have her phone # here but I'll try to post again once I find it.


i can recommend jeffrey mandel in hayward. but if you do an online search for immunesupport.com you can get their list of ''good docs''...READ all you can about CFS/M.E.--Paul Cheney (in NC)!; Tetelbaum's book & web site, listing practitioners who have taken his workshops. Read the Nightengale book edited by Brian Hyde, Canada--a magnificent collection of research that really legitimises the disease-- Myalgic Encephalopathy. Read ''Running on Empty.'' Get off caffeine & sugar. Some people get results from the Ultra-Clear detox protocol. Pay close attention to MD's who want to give you antidepressants--read Dr Chaney's words on this, especially long-term use. I'd also be wary of any of the ''speeds'' or meds for narcolepsy until you've tried just about everything. Xyrem works for many, but finding a doc willing to prescribe this is not easy. There is a new antidepressant, IXEL or MILNACIPRAM, not available in this country, but can be obtained--designed especially for people wth FM, particularly for pain-again, beware long-term. I've had CFS/M.E. since 86 & my very best response has been from acupuncturist Jenny Crissman. Alternative medicine & therapies work really well for many with CFS/ME/FM. Amsterdam has a fabulous clinic. Read, be super informed, & don't let anyone convince you this is not real. If an MD or any health care practitioner is not willing to be creative, then find someone else immediately. Kaiser's care for people with CFS is HORRIBLE; I can tell you horror stories of scary, could-have-killed-me-if-i'd-not- known a lot (last KP care 2001.) Dr Goldstein, LA area, is well-known in the field...find a support group; subscribe to the CFS newletter from national cfs care--they are extraordinarily reliable & THE BEST SOURCE OF CARE & INFO!!!! http: // www.cfids.org/...if U R newly diagnosed, be sure you are practicing ''aggressive rest therapy.'' it's a complicated, complex, & frustrating process finding help & therapy...many treatments seem to work for a while, then stop....be sure you are adequately tested & treated for thyroid.....check out piracetam for cognitive function--it's helped me and many others--you may have to get it compounded....be aware of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities oonagh