New title: Relapses Exacerbations and flare-ups

Updated booklet: Relapses, Exacerbations and Flare-Ups

Dr Charles Shepherd has updated the existing booklet that covers possible causes of symptom relapses and ways to cope with these fluctuations. This is available in the MEA shop now


For many people, ME/CFS is a variable and very individual illness with periods of relative relapse and improvement – which is why it is often described as a fluctuating medical condition. Even so, many people will reach a point when their condition stabilises to some degree – sometimes described as a ‘glass ceiling’ – from which they find it difficult to make any further significant and/or sustained progress.

Within this model of outcome, exacerbations or flare-ups can be minor and relatively short-lived. Occasionally they are more severe and prolonged – when the term relapse is more appropriate.

Although unusual, ME/CFS can sometimes recur after a prolonged period of full recovery/good health.

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