Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Health Center

Font Size

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Linked to Hormone

Women With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome May Have Lower Levels of Cortisol in the Morning
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 18, 2008 -- Chronic fatigue syndrome may be linked to the stress hormone cortisol, at least in women, according to a new study.

The study shows that women with chronic fatigue syndrome had lower cortisol levels in the morning, compared with healthy women.

The study included 185 Georgia adults, 75 of whom had chronic fatigue syndrome. Those patients had fatigue lasting at least six months with no known cause and accompanied by at least four other symptoms, such as muscle pain or memory problems.

Participants provided saliva samples taken as soon as they woke up, and again 30 minutes and an hour later. The CDC's William Reeves, MD, and colleagues measured cortisol levels in the saliva samples.

Chronic fatigue syndrome was associated with lower morning cortisol levels among women, but not among men. Morning cortisol levels were similar for men with and without chronic fatigue syndrome.

The study doesn't prove that low morning levels of cortisol cause women's chronic fatigue syndrome. The researchers don't know which came first -- low morning cortisol levels or chronic fatigue syndrome -- but their findings may be a clue for researchers.

The study appears in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Today on WebMD

8 Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Always Sleepy Causes Fixes For Fat
Insomnia 20 Tips For Better Sleep
Exercises That Can Increase Your Energy
10 Ways To Get More Zip In Your Life
Fatigue or Something More
Your Symptoms
young woman hiding face