MS fatigue: Why me?

At least 80% of people with multiple sclerosis suffer from fatigue. MS can cause fatigue in a variety of different ways. Fatigue may be due to MS itself or it may be related to the symptoms and complications of the condition.

MS fatigue may be caused by MS-related mobility issues. Using a walker, cane, or other mobility aid can take a great deal of energy and effort. Everyday tasks can be much more exhausting when you have limited mobility. Therefore, people with mobility issues often suffer from fatigue.

Spasticity can also be a cause of MS-related fatigue. Muscle spasms can wake you up at night and make everyday tasks harder and more energy-consuming. Both issues can lead to fatigue.

MS can also cause respiratory (lung) problems. When your lungs aren't working at full capacity, they may not be able to deliver the oxygen that your body needs. This can lead to fatigue.

Fatigue can also be related to bowel or bladder issues caused by MS. Getting up frequently during the night can lead to a poor night's sleep. This can make you more fatigued during the day.

Just having MS can also cause fatigue. This is called primary MS fatigue. Your doctor may diagnose primary MS fatigue once other possible fatigue causes have been ruled out. Currently, no one knows exactly what causes primary MS fatigue.

It's important to note that while MS can cause fatigue, your fatigue may not necessarily be due to MS. Medications, sleeping disorders, depression, and other medical conditions can also cause fatigue. If you're feeling sluggish, speak to your doctor to pinpoint the cause(s) of your fatigue.

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