Fatigue is one of the most common multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms, occurring in nearly 80% of people with MS. Fatigue can feel like lack of physical or mental energy. Even though fatigue is common, it may not be caused by MS.

Five other factors that may cause fatigue:
  1. Weather
    Fatigue can worsen with an increase in heat and humidity.
  2. Other medical conditions
    Even something as simple as a minor infection can sap energy.
  3. Medications
    Some medications (like antihistamines) can cause fatigue as a side effect. Make sure your doctor has the most up-to-date list of all medications you are taking.
  4. Sleep problems
    Problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting the right kind of sleep prevent people from feeling refreshed when they wake up.
  5. Depression and anxiety
    These are common in MS and may contribute to fatigue. If you or others close to you notice changes in your mood, or loss of interest in once-favorite activities, be sure to tell your healthcare provider.


Our Symptom Tracker makes talking to your healthcare provider easier.

Dealing with fatigue:

There are a number of options you can discuss with your doctor that may help reduce fatigue as a symptom of MS. Here are 6:

  1. Conserve energy
    Rest whenever you can. This will help leave strength for the things you really want to do. Plan and pace your activities. Set priorities. Learn to let go of any guilt that may be associated with leaving tasks unfinished. And don't be afraid to ask family and friends for help.
  2. Occupational therapy
    This kind of therapy can help simplify tasks at work and home.
  3. Physical therapy
    This can help improve movement and function. It can teach you energy-saving ways of walking (with or without assistive devices) and performing other daily tasks that may have become more difficult lately.
  4. Sleep regulation
    This may involve treating other MS symptoms that interfere with sleep (eg, spasticity, urinary problems), scheduling naps, and using sleep medications on a short-term basis.
  5. Psychological interventions
    Stress management, relaxation training, joining a support group, or psychotherapy can teach you ways to deal with your emotions effectively.
  6. Medications
    Talk to your doctor about specific treatments that may help relieve fatigue.
MS LifeLines is sponsored by EMD Serono, Inc.

Learn more about EMD Serono treatment options for relapsing MS

MS LifeLines is a registered trademark of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany or its affiliates.

EMD Serono is the Healthcare business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in the U.S. and Canada.

This information is intended only for residents of the United States.

Copyright ©2021 Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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