Medical reasons for tiredness
Most people who go to their GP because they feel tired all the time don’t have a medical problem. But tiredness can sometimes be due to an underlying illness, especially if you’re getting other symptoms as well. Many illnesses can make you feel tired, including:
Some medicines, such as beta-blockers, can also cause tiredness.
You can feel very tired during pregnancy – especially in the first 12 weeks.
You should see your GP if you’re worried about your tiredness, and especially if you have other symptoms. These might include unintended weight loss, unusual bleeding, shortness of breath, or new lumps or bumps that aren’t going away.
If there’s no other cause for your tiredness, and it goes on for over four months, you might have a condition called chronic fatigue syndrome. This is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). In a child or young adult, this condition may be suspected after only three months. Your GP will be able to explain chronic fatigue syndrome, and whether it’s a possibility in your case.
Talking to your GP
If you go to your GP, it may help to think about the answers to these questions so you can describe how you’re feeling.
- How would you describe your tiredness – is it physical or mental exhaustion that you’re feeling?
- Is it worse when you wake up, do you feel tired all day every day, or at certain times?
- Can you remember when you first noticed feeling tired? Is there a particular event or time that it came on? Is it getting worse?
- Have you noticed any other changes to your health?
- How do your energy levels compare to how they were when you were feeling better?
- Have you started or changed any medication recently?
There’s no magic cure for tiredness. If you’ve been tired for a long time it can take a while to get back to your normal self. Be kind to yourself and set realistic goals. Follow any advice your GP gives you, and try to get a good balance between work, rest and fun into your life.