Chronic fatigue syndrome: Low thyroid level may be the reason behind your constant exhaustion

Chronic fatigue syndrome: Low thyroid level may be the reason behind your constant exhaustion

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating condition that can hamper normal life. Usually you may have no other health condition that may be causing

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Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating condition that can hamper normal life. Usually you may have no other health condition that may be causing this disorder. This condition can make you extremely tired. This tiredness does not go away even after you have taken proper rest. Even very little exertion can make you tired. Other names for this condition are systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Th medical fraternity is as yet not clear as to what causes this condition. But they suspect underlying health conditions like viral infections and psychological stress to name a few.

According to a study published in Pharmacogenomics, people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome have a ‘genetic make-up that affects the body’s ability to adapt to change’. Researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have identified distinct immune changes in patients diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. They are hopeful that these findings will help improve diagnosis and identify treatment options for the disabling disorder. This study is published in the journal Science Advances.


The reasons behind this condition are unclear and medical professionals are not exactly sure why this happens. Some say it may happen due to a combination of factors. Experts say that some of the riggers may be a viral infection, hormonal imbalances or, maybe, some disorder in your immune system. Acute stress may be a culprit. It may also be a genetic disorder. Sometimes, environmental factors may also be responsible for it.

Low thyroid levels may cause this condition

According to a study at the University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands, it is probably due to lower thyroid levels. But this condition may be distinct from thyroidal disease. Researchers say this finding may be a first step to finding a treatment for a ‘common illness for which diagnosis is hard to come by’. The study, published in Frontiers in Endocrinology, says that ‘several symptoms resemble those of hypothyroidism – a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.

In hypothyroidism, the body tries to encourage thyroid hormone activity by releasing more thyroid-stimulating hormone. However, this does not happen in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. This contrast in thyroid-stimulating activity made the researchers think that chronic fatigue syndrome is due to low activity of thyroid hormones in the absence of thyroidal disease.

Gut bacteria may be responsible for chronic fatigue syndrome

Another study at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health says that abnormal levels of specific gut bacteria are related to chronic fatigue syndrome. This is irrelevant to whether patients have irritable bowel syndrome or not. Researchers say that ‘individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome have a distinct mix of gut bacteria and related metabolic disturbances that may influence the severity of their disease. This study is published in the journal Microbiome.

Childhood trauma may be to blame

A study in Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, say that ‘traumatic events in childhood and stress or emotional instability at any period in life may be associated with the development of chronic fatigue syndrome’. Researchers believe that chronic fatigue syndrome and similar illnesses may result from the brain’s inability to cope with challenging experiences. During the course of the study, researchers saw that individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome had higher overall trauma scores than those without the condition. They say that exposure to trauma increased the risk of chronic fatigue syndrome between three and eight times.

Emotional neglect and sexual abuse during childhood had a major association with chronic fatigue syndrome. Researchers also saw that people with this condition were more likely to have psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. These conditions appeared to be associated with childhood trauma. They, hence, concluded that ‘high emotional reactivity is a risk factor for all of these disorders. Thus, enhanced stress and mood reactivity can be assumed to be a central feature common to this spectrum of disorders’.


Symptoms of this condition may range from extreme fatigue and difficulty concentrating to headaches and muscle pain. You may notice loss of memory or concentration, a sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits, headaches, muscle and joint pain and, of course, extreme tiredness. You feel exhausted even after a whole night of sleeping.


It is not easy to diagnose this condition. In fact, there is no clear-cut rule as to how to diagnose this condition. Your doctor will first rule out all other suspects. He will look at your medical history and see if it is a side-effect of any prescribed drugs. You may have to answer questions regarding your mental and physical health.


There is no treatment for this condition. Your doctor will probably try to provide relief from the symptoms. He may also advice lifestyle and dietary changes and ask you to avoid stress. If it is the result of some other health condition, he will give you medications and offer treatment accordingly.


Go in for a proper medical check-up to rule out any underlying health disorder. If everything is fine, you can try some relaxation techniques. Yoga and medication may help. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Go to sleep at the same time every night. Eat healthy meals with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. These steps may help you overcome this condition.

Published : November 14, 2019 7:31 pm