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14 Causes Of Fatigue & Ways To Fight Them

Fatigues or tiredness is a very troublesome condition. Although it may not be an emergency, it certainly can be difficult to manage. To help you understand the cause of the condition a little better, a list of 14 causes of fatigue and ways to fight them are given below for your perusal.

14 Causes of Fatigue & Ways To Fight Them

14 Causes of Fatigue & Ways To Fight Them

The causes of fatigue can range from mild to severe and may need appropriate investigations and treatment. Knowing the causes can help in better management; so, let us look at the 14 causes of fatigue and some effective ways to overcome fatigue:

  1. Not Getting Enough Sleep: one of the common causes of fatigue includes lack of adequate sleep.(1, 2) Sleep is an essential part of your routine and if not complied with to the right extent, lack of sleep can hamper your overall health.(2) While individual sleep requirement varies, almost all adults need around seven to eight hours of sleep in a night.(2) The best way to fight fatigue from inadequate sleep is to make sleep your top priority. It may mean banning laptops, cell phones and televisions from the place of sleep and opting for a comfortable mattress. If the problem continues then you need to consult a doctor.
  2. Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea is a condition, which does not allow you to have adequate sleep as the sleep is constantly disturbed at irregular intervals.(3) Sleep apnea causes you to have pauses in breathing and interrupts and wakes you up several times in the night without your knowledge.(3) As a result, sleep apnea is one of the commonest causes of fatigue and restlessness during the day. One of the best ways to fight fatigue caused due to sleep apnea is to get the condition treated appropriately. If you are overweight, losing some kilos can help,(4) or if blocked nose or snoring is a problem, get it treated. Quitting smoking is also suggested to cope with this disorder and overcoming your fatigue resulting from sleep apnea.(5, 6)
  3. Faulty Food: Food is the fuel for the human body, if the body does not get its fuel; it is bound to feel tired.(23) Not only does empty stomach indicate the lack of food, but eating unhealthy food does not meet the nutritional needs of the body. This is one of the vital 14 causes of fatigue.(7, 8) One of the simple ways to fight fatigue is to modify your dietary choices and food habits. Do not skip the breakfast and eat nutritious food at small intervals to fight fatigue.
  4. Hypothyroidism: One of the 14 causes of fatigue also includes hypothyroidism. In this condition, the thyroid gland, which controls and stimulates a number of body functions, starts malfunctioning. Slow metabolism is the result of hypothyroidism, which makes you feel fatigued.(9, 10) One of the ways to fight fatigue due to thyroid problems is to get the condition diagnosed with blood tests and get the right treatment.
  5. Anemia (23): A condition in which the person faces a lack of adequate iron and hemoglobin in their blood stream is anemia. Anemia is one of the common causes of fatigue.(11) The most effective way to fight fatigue from anemia is to get it diagnosed with blood tests and take iron rich diet and iron supplements, as advised by your doctor.(12, 13)
  6. Depression: The body is a reflection of the mind and an unhealthy mind is sure to result in an unhealthy body. One of the causes of fatigue is also depression and emotional setbacks.(14, 15, 16) The only way to fight fatigue due to depression is to seek support and get medical opinion for treatment and psychotherapy.
  7. Excess of Caffeine (23): If taken in moderate doses, caffeine helps you keep active and feel fresh,(17) but if the same is taken in excessive doses, it can be one of the causes of fatigue and other problems, such as anxiety and stress.(17, 18) The best ways to fight fatigue is to limit the intake of caffeine in drinks like aerated drinks, coffee, tea and other medications.
  8. Urinary Tract Infections (19): Quite common in women, UTI brings with it a burning sensation and the feeling of urinary urgency.(20) But at times, the only symptom of the infection is fatigue. Get yourself tested to confirm urinary tract infection and get the right treatment.
  9. Dehydration: Lack of water in the body causes dehydration and is also one of the important 14 causes of fatigue.(21, 22, 23) The simplest way to fight fatigue is to drink plenty of water and have a healthy routine.(23)
  10. Diabetes (24, 25): Diabetes, in which the excess blood sugar levels is one of the common causes of fatigue.(24) The person may even lose weight while eating well and often feels tired most of the time. The only way to fight fatigue from diabetes is to get it diagnosed and treated appropriately.
  11. Shift Work Sleep Disorder (26, 27): Rotating and untimely work shifts hamper your sleep routine. Lack of rest and sleep are the main causes of fatigue in shift work sleep disorder. Try to adjust work schedules to be able to get adequate sleep at night or make the environment dark and cool even during the day to ensure sleep during daytime. If fatigue is causing more problems, medical opinion is needed.
  12. Heart Disease (28, 29, 30, 31): While there are various causes of fatigue, if a person feels tired while working at home or when performing normal activities, there is a possibility of suffering from heart disease that is causing the fatigue. The weakening of heart causes tiredness and fatigue, which must be diagnosed and treated to fight fatigue. Lifestyle changes and exercises too help to a great extent and combating heart disease and fatigue.
  13. Food Allergies (32): At times, any reaction to a particular food, which does not suit the body or is allergic to the body, can be constituted as fatigue. So, one of the 14 causes of fatigue can also be food allergies. Avoid the food that causes problems and seek medical opinion.
  14. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia (33, 34): These conditions are the commonest causes of fatigue, especially when they are present for longer periods. There may be other symptoms like chronic pain, difficulty in sleeping, but fatigue is a prominent symptom of fibromyalgia and CFS. The best ways to fight fatigue include: making healthy lifestyle changes and including exercise in your routine.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6056069/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6473877/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21654148
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2879275/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4251622/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5562758/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27215228-a-qualitative-investigation-of-eating-difficulties-in-adolescents-with-chronic-fatigue-syndromemyalgic-encephalomyelitis/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4269950/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279601/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26594730
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5896748/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29626044-efficacy-of-iron-supplementation-on-fatigue-and-physical-capacity-in-non-anaemic-iron-deficient-adults-a-systematic-review-of-randomised-controlled-trials/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2582401/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181235/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2395346/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3225130/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12204388-effects-of-caffeine-on-human-behavior/
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4668773/
  19. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29318570-confusion-strongly-associated-with-antibiotic-prescribing-due-to-suspected-urinary-tract-infections-in-nursing-homes/
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3749018/
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19093692-dehydration-cause-of-fatigue-or-sign-of-pacing-in-elite-soccer/
  22. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30518346-public-knowledge-of-dehydration-and-fluid-intake-practices-variation-by-participants-characteristics/
  23. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/fatigue-fighting-tips
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6064586/
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4478212/
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5836745/
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3405401/
  28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2633298/
  29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24589645
  30. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3485074/
  31. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16716433-fatigue-in-patients-with-cardiovascular-disease/
  32. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3834685/
  33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2766938/
  34. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25832514

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 1, 2021

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