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Fatigue is characterized by a general feeling of tiredness, weariness, weakness, exhaustion, or lack of energy. It can have numerous causes – both physical and emotional. If left unattended, fatigue can prevent you from leading a normal, active life or even feeling strong enough to come in for your treatment.

There are two types of fatigue: acute and chronic. Acute fatigue can occur quickly but lasts a short time. It is usually associated with illness and some types of treatment. You can help relieve acute fatigue by limiting your activities and getting plenty of rest. Chronic fatigue is more serious and can last longer. It is usually due to an accumulation of physical, emotional, or “situational” factors and is not as readily relieved or eliminated as acute fatigue. Chronic fatigue can rob your body of precious energy that is needed for your health and well-being, making it difficult for you to function in roles that give meaning and value to life.

Treating Fatigue

Recognizing the cause is the first step in treating fatigue. If you try to understand the source of your fatigue, you and your doctor will be better prepared to treat it. Then, once you understand why you are feeling fatigued, you can take steps to treat it.


Give yourself permission to rest whenever you feel tired. During the day, several short naps can be refreshing and help boost your energy level.


Mild exercise, even a short walk, can be energizing. Remember not to overdo it; keep a balance between activity and rest. At night, go to bed earlier or sleep later in the morning, if possible.

Treat pain

If pain is contributing to fatigue, tell your care team. They can help you treat your pain.

Treat constipation and diarrhea

Constipation and diarrhea can also contribute to fatigue. Make sure you treat them promptly and thoroughly. Learn more about constipation and diarrhea.

Eat a proper diet

Make sure you enjoy a well-balanced diet of leafy green vegetables and foods with high iron and protein content, such as meats, cheeses, seafood, yogurt, cereals, nuts, and legumes. These foods will increase your blood’s iron and protein levels, which may improve your energy. You may also want to include vitamin supplements and nutritional drinks in your diet. First, be sure to talk with your care team about the safest, most effective options for you.

Try relaxation and meditation techniques

Try to focus your attention away from your treatment and the disease. Relaxation, meditation, quiet reflection, and visual imagery are helpful. Distractions, such as reading or listening to music, can help you relax and turn your thoughts away from the disease.


Do not carry the burden of fatigue or any side effects alone. Talk with your family and your care team about how you are feeling.

Remember, when you experience side effects, it is important to contact Texas Oncology first before going to an emergency room or urgent care clinic.