Should I go back to the doctor over being fatigued?
September 15, 2016 8:05 AM   Subscribe

A week ago I suddenly became ill, apparently with some sort of virus. Symptoms included sore throat, general feeling of being dazed, inability to concentrate, queasiness of stomach (did not vomit, but almost did), lack of appetite, and sinus congestion. I went to the doctor, who gave me some meds to combat the symptoms. However, the fatigue has not gone away and may even be getting worse. Should I go back to the doctor, or should I just suck it up and try to push through my responsibilities, delaying a doctor's appointment until perhaps if the fatigue continues for another week?

I understand none of your responses can count, in the strictest sense of the term, as medical advice. Nonetheless, I ask this of you to benefit from any personal experiences and insight you might have. The sinus-y symptoms have mostly dissipated by now. The sore throat comes and goes. My appetite is still pretty spotty. It's extremely difficult to get up in the mornings. The other night I slept over ten hours and still could barely get out of bed.
posted by fignewton to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why not call your doctor's office and ask them if they think another visit right now is warranted, or if you should wait and see for another week or so? There ought to be a nurse or someone you can speak to who can help you make that decision. This is solidly in call-the-office territory, I think.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:11 AM on September 15, 2016

It could be a lot of things, including mononucleosis, which can end up being serious. Call the office.
posted by rtha at 8:29 AM on September 15, 2016

After 1 week I wouldn't have even bothered the doctor for the first time. Fatigue is common with viral infections even after other symptoms have cleared up. Personally I'd give it at least another week - 10 days before seeing the doctor again, unless the symptoms significantly worsen.
posted by missmagenta at 9:32 AM on September 15, 2016 [9 favorites]

In my experience, they won't try to do anything for you unless it has been ongoing for much longer after an illness.
posted by metasarah at 9:40 AM on September 15, 2016

Make an appointment. By the time they can see you, it will either have gone away, in which case you can cancel the day before, or it will still be there, in which case you can keep the appointment.
posted by janey47 at 10:08 AM on September 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

This kind of illness seems to have been going around the eastern seaboard of US, with some of my friends assuming it was some kind of flu. The fatigue has been pretty intense, but gotten better after a couple of weeks. I like the idea of making the appointment in case it continues for you.
posted by ldthomps at 10:11 AM on September 15, 2016

I had the same symptoms, plus fever, headache, and bad neck pain, and was flat on my back for a week. It started on a Friday, the first week in June, and on Sunday I dragged myself to a CVS Minute Clinic where I was prescribed a steroid pack. I was off work the entire next week, could barely get out of bed to pee. I would say it took a full month before I began to think I would ever feel right again. But I feel fine now, and have felt perfectly well for about five weeks. I've never experienced anything like it, and hope I don't ever again.

Hope you feel better soon!
posted by Dolley at 10:27 AM on September 15, 2016

If you do decide to go back to the doctor, I'd recommend you ask to be tested for Epstein-Barr Syndrome.
posted by feistycakes at 10:34 AM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I guess you know what's normal for your body, but you're describing a very normal cold/flu for me. In your situation I wouldn't go to the doctor (for the first time) unless it lasts much longer than normal (like, more than a week of being sick enough to stay home from work, or like 2-3 weeks of symptoms).

You have been staying home and sleeping as much as possible, right? As in, as long as your body will let you sleep, even if it's much longer than 10 hours? I suspect not, if you're having to drag yourself out of bed and talking about "pushing through your responsibilities"... Prioritize sleep! That will do more to get you better quickly than the meds your doctor gave you, if it is a virus.
posted by randomnity at 12:49 PM on September 15, 2016

could you be pregnant? for me it felt like I had a very bad cold, sore throat , sinus congestion, etc and after it I was left with endless fatigue. All I wanted to do was sleep for the following weeks. I did not have any of the other "classic" indicators Like morning sickness etc) at all and actually did not find out I was pregnant until week 18 as it was the furthest thing from my mind. I ascribed all my symptoms to various staf including chronic fatigue syndrome. Looking back I realised the week I came down with the very bad cold must have been the early days of pregnancy.
posted by 15L06 at 1:01 PM on September 15, 2016

I've experienced this before when recovering from viral illnesses. Drink a lot of fluids, eat well, and rest rest rest. I wouldn't bother going to the doctor again just yet, unless you need a med cert to enable you to call in to work and rest. If you're still feeling fatigued in a week or so then go back for further investigation.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 2:21 PM on September 15, 2016

Rest. Rest, rest, rest. This isn't like with back pain, where you'll do better if you push through it, or depression, where obeying the fatigue is counterproductive. You are ill. A doctor isn't going to be able to do much about this; it's typical for a viral illness. But 'sucking it up' and 'pushing through your responsibilities' will make the fatigue worse. Your body is yelling at you to lie down and get sleep. It's probably yelling harder because when you initially got ill you went and got meds to relieve the symptoms instead of taking to your bed and drinking tea until you felt better. You have nothing to gain by further ignoring these very clear messages.
posted by Acheman at 5:58 AM on September 16, 2016

This sounds completely normal to me for recovering from a bad cold.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:22 PM on September 17, 2016

I did go back, just because the fatigue was so bad and so persistent and so abnormal for me. They just confirmed it was a viral infection. I finally got better about a week later. In hindsight, I can say the extra doctor's appointment was unnecessary. But there you have it.
posted by fignewton at 12:27 PM on October 20, 2016

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