Whenever I hear the words chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), I immediately think of an undiagnosed gynaecological condition.
This is why it's important for medical practitioners to think outside the square, and use their learned skills in pattern discrimination and differential diagnosis. We can't just buy into a diagnosis that someone has been given, because this is how things get missed.
Endometriosis and other gynaecological conditions can have chronic fatigue as part of their symptoms, along with pain, irregular bleeding, inflammation, ovulatory pain, pain with sex, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and pain with bowel movements.
It's so important to know how to use these symptoms to discover the real cause of CFS, rather than just treating ‘the diagnosis'. By looking at the root cause and treating that, the symptoms will get treated anyway.
If a doctor knows what they're dealing with, they won't need to rely on blood tests. Testing can be used to back up the diagnosis, before referring a patient for appropriate treatment, for example, a laparoscopy.
Chronic Fatigue Has Been Associated With Gynaecological Problems
Below is a research article abstract, which found how chronic fatigue syndrome can be caused by many well known gynaecological conditions. Or, it can be a symptom of a gynaecological issue, rather than be an isolated disease or diagnosis on its own.
Early Menopause and Other Gynecologic Risk Indicators for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Women
Roumiana S. Boneva, MD, PhD; Jin-Mann S. Lin, PhD; Elizabeth R. Unger, PhD, MD Menopause. 2015;22(8):826-834.
Abstract Objective: This study aims to examine whether gynecologic conditions are associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Methods: This study includes a subset of 157 women from a population-based case-control study in Georgia, United States, conducted in 2004-2009.
Results: Cases and controls were of similar age. Women with CFS reported significantly more gynecologic conditions and surgical operations than controls: menopause status (61.9% vs 37.0%), earlier mean age at menopause onset (37.6 vs 48.6 yrs), excessive menstrual bleeding (73.8% vs 42.5%), bleeding between periods (48.8% vs 23.3%), endometriosis (29.8% vs 12.3% ), use of non-contraceptive hormonal preparations (57.1% vs 26.0%), non-menstrual pelvic pain (26.2% vs 2.7%), and gynecologic surgical operation (65.5% vs 31.5%), especially hysterectomy (54.8% vs 19.2%). Hysterectomy was more likely to happen because of a known gynaecological condition such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids etc. Chronic fatigue can be a symptoms of these conditions anyway.
Conclusions: Menstrual abnormalities, endometriosis, pelvic pain, hysterectomy, and early/surgical menopause are all associated with CFS. Clinicians should be aware of the association between common gynecologic problems and CFS in women.
If you're suffering from chronic fatigue or have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, be sure to seek a referral to a women's health or reproductive specialist who will take your symptoms seriously, as well as investigate to see if a gynaecological issue is at the root of your symptoms. Or, you can visit Doctor Orr's clinic in Brisbane, Australia. For more information, click here.
Articles posted on BellyBelly which are not written by Doctor Andrew Orr are the opinions of BellyBelly and not necessarily the opinion of Doctor Andrew Orr.