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Sore Throat, Fatigue: Could This Mean I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

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Updated January 07, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Sore Throat, Fatigue: Could This Mean I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

I've had a sore throat, fatigue and other symptoms for a couple of months. My doctor doesn't seem to know what's wrong. Could I have chronic fatigue syndrome?"

Answer:

That's a tough question, even for a doctor. It's true that sore throat, fatigue and other flu-like symptoms are part of chronic fatigue syndrome, but they're also symptoms of many other illnesses.

If you're concerned about symptoms that are lingering or potentially chronic, see your doctor. He or she can check for the most common causes of these symptoms and start eliminating possibilities. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a diagnosis of exclusion -- that is, it's diagnosed by ruling out other things first. It also can't be diagnosed until you've had symptoms for at least 6 months, so don't expect your doctor to consider this condition right away.

Not all doctors are good at recognizing chronic fatigue syndrome. To find one who is, see Finding a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Doctor.

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