Pediatric Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

A child with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is extremely tired most of the time, with no medical condition causing the tiredness.

What is Pediatric Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?

Chronic fatigue syndrome – or CFS – means that a child is unusually, severely tired most of the time. This fatigue can’t be explained by another health condition, and it doesn’t get better when the child rests. Other terms for CFS include systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

Females are diagnosed with CFS more often than men. CFS most often affects individuals in their 40s and 50s, but it can occur to children and at any point in life. Potential complications of CFS may include:

  • Depression
  • Increased work or school absences
  • Lifestyle restrictions (due to not wanting to leave the home or go to certain places)
  • Social isolation

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?

  • Decreased memory
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or armpits
  • Headaches
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Problems with concentration
  • Unexplained tiredness most of the time
  • Sore throat
  • Waking up from sleep not feeling refreshed

What are the causes of Pediatric Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?

CFS is a complicated disorder, and experts cannot always agree on its cause. Causes of CFS may include:

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Psychological stress
  • Viral infection, such as Epstein-Barr virus