MEDICAL MATTERS

  • Medical Matters features questions asked by Members of the ME Association on health-related topics.
  • Dr Charles Shepherd and the ME Association's other advisers answer these questions by sharing their expert knowledge.
  • Medical Matters is based on the popular ‘Ask the Doctor’ series in ME Essential magazine.
  • It is a free resource that supplements the detailed information contained in the full range of literature that can be found in the website shop.

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Questions in the Category: Myalgic Encephalopathy

Medication: What is the best method of contraception if you have ME?

ME Essential Autumn 2023

What is the best method of contraception if you have ME?

My partner and I have a dilemma regarding our choice of contraception. I have mild to moderate ME/CFS. My husband is fit and well. We want to use a safe and reliable method but we aren't having much luck!

I had to give up using ‘the pill' because of side-effects, including migraine-type headaches. So we are reluctantly using barrier protection. But this isn't ideal when you are not wanting to have another baby for both health and practical reasons.

I've thought about using a coil but am worried about whether having a ‘foreign body' inside could cause more problems with my immune system. I'm also worried about the risk of infection, having had a pelvic infection in the past.

There doesn't seem to be a simple solution and my GP isn’t very helpful when it comes to discussing the remaining options.

Vaccinations: Flu (Influenza) 2023-24

ME Essential Autumn 2023

Can you help me reach an informed decision about the 2023-24 Flu vaccination?

Vaccinations: Autumn Covid Booster 2023

ME Essential Autumn 2023

Can you help me reach an informed decision about the 2023 Autumn Covid Booster vaccination?

Symptoms: Post-Exertional Malaise (PEM)

ME Essential Summer 2023

What is Post-Exertional Malaise and how can it best be managed? 

Treatment: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

ME Essential Summer 2023

Has there ever been a clinical trial to assess the use to hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) in ME?  I know that HBO is being used by people with multiple sclerosis as well as ME – so it seems that there are positive effects in the case of neurological diseases. I’ve also read that a clinical trial involving people with Long Covid has found some beneficial effects.

Folic Acid Deficiency

ME Essential Summer 2023

A recent blood test has shown that my folic acid levels are low. My GP thinks this may be due to my rather restrictive diet. But could folic acid deficiency be caused by ME/CFS?

Gilbert's Syndrome

ME Essential Summer 2023

A few months ago I noticed that the whites of my eyes had turned slightly yellow. It turned out that I had a mild episode of jaundice. My GP was a bit mystified – so I was sent to see a liver specialist who diagnosed a condition called Gilbert’s Syndrome. The specialist said it was nothing to worry about. However, as he had seen other people with ME/CFS with the same condition, he wondered whether there may be a link. Is this so?

Research: DecodeME

ME Essential Summer 2023

I have developed ME after catching Covid-19 last year and have a few quick questions about the DecodeME study. Can I still sign up to participate? When will we know the results? Will I have access to information about my own DNA? Will the study also be including people with Long Covid?

 

Research: Post-Mortem

ME Essential Summer 2023

What is happening to post-mortem tissue research into ME/CFS at the moment? Is the ME Association still funding and carrying out any postmortem research? And have any significant abnormalities been found in the post-mortems that have been carried out so far?

Hypermobility & Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

ME Essential Spring 2023

My daughter, who is now in her early twenties, has had ME/CFS since being a teenager. We have always felt that her joints are more flexible than normal. She often has strains and sprains and has dislocated her knee in the past. Her doctor is now querying whether she may now have a hypermobile joint condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Are there any links between hypermobile joints and ME/CFS? Or is this just a coincidence?

Dr Charles Shepherd

Dr Shepherd has been Trustee and Hon. Medical Adviser to the ME Association for more than 40 years. He is integral to the charity's activities and provides information and support based on his professional knowledge, personal experience as a doctor with ME/CFS, and the understanding gained from helping many thousands of people with the condition. He was a member of the comittee responsible for the 2021 NICE Clinical Guideline and is a recognised expert on ME/CFS in the UK. His knowledge extends to Post-Viral Fatigue Syndromes (PVFS), Myalgic Encephalopathy/Encephalomyelitis (ME), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) or Long Covid.

If you have questions about ME/CFS or Long Covid, you can: 

  • Review the free information in the What is ME/CFS? section of the website, and the free Covid-19 and Long Covid information in the website shop.
  • Review the largest range of literature covering all aspects of living with ME/CFS. Download detailed information about symptoms, diagnosis, management, co-mordities, employment, education, related health conditions, The 2021 NICE Clinical Guideline, welfare benefits etc.
  • Join the ME Association as a member and you'll receive the highly-rated ME Essential magazine, and you can ask questions of the charity’s expert advisers including Dr Shepherd.
  • Contact us via the ME Connect Telephone Helpline (open 365 days a year) and speak to one of the national team of fully-trained volunteers who waiting to provide information and support. 
  • Contact us via email or social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn

Medical Matters is based on the popular ‘Ask the Doctor‘ series featured in the highly-regarded member’s magazine, ME Essential, and in the healthcare professional magazine, ME Medical. Both are produced by the ME Association and published as hard-copy magazines every 3 months and sent to members and healthcare professionals by post to home or business addresses. 

If you are an HCP you can sign-up here to receive ME Medical magazine (people with ME/CFS can also nominate their HCP by completing the sign-up form). 

Please note: The answers comprising Medical Matters were accurate at the time of printing. A publication date accompanies all listed entries. We will endeavour to keep Medical Matters updated as information changes, but if you would like to comment, please email: meconnect@meassociation.org.uk

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

Information provided by The ME Association should not be construed as medical advice. Don't assume any new or worsened symptoms are simply the result of having ME/CFS or Long Covid. We recommend that any information you deem relevant is discussed with your NHS GP as soon as possible. It is important that you seek personalised medical advice from the GP who is in charge of your care and who knows you well.

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