So far, research has not established whether JCFS tends to feature a different set of symptoms than adult CFS.
The fatigue of CFS isn't like healthy people feel when they're tired. It's a unique fatigue state that can be highly debilitating. Also, fatigue is not the only symptom.
Many people with CFS have a symptom called post-exertional malaise, which leaves them highly exhausted after exercise and makes it take longer for them to recover from exertion. For example, a healthy person who rides an exercise bike as hard as they can for 20 minutes can generally perform the same day after day. Someone with CFS, on the other hand, would be unable to repeat their performance for two or more days after the initial workout. They may also experience crushing fatigue, widespread achiness, impaired mental processes and flu-like symptoms for several days.
Also prevalent is cognitive dysfunction, which is often referred to as "brain fog." It can include problems with attention, short-term memory, verbal expression, retaining what is read and spatial orientation.
These symptoms alone are enough to severely disable some people, and they can have many other symptoms as well. Other common symptoms of CFS include:
- Unfreshing sleep
- Anxiety, which studies show may be especially prevalent in JCFS
- Dizziness upon standing (called orthostatic intolerance or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)
- Pain in the joints, without redness or swelling
- Sore throat
- Headaches, the pattern of which was new at illness onset
- Tender lymph nodes
- Chronic cough
- Nerve sensations such as numbness, tingling or burning (called paresthesia)
People with CFS often have overlapping conditions as well. These can sometimes be confused as symptoms, but they may need to be diagnosed and treated separately. Common overlapping conditions include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Food, chemical or environmental allergies/sensitivities