What is M.E./CFS?

M.E. is a recognised medical condition that affects thousands of adults, children and young people in this country every day.

It causes a wide range of symptoms, including intense tiredness, aches and pains, and can make it very difficult to concentrate or perform everyday tasks easily. Symptoms can come and go, and will vary from person to person. Some people are only mildly affected; others struggle to manage normal school or working hours and may have to cut back a lot on their social life; while a small percentage of patients have to stay in bed, and aren't able to look after themselves or eat properly.

There is no known cause of M.E./CFS as yet, although in young people it most commonly follows persistent viral infection. There are no tests (diagnosis is made by excluding everything else), and as yet, there is no cure.

However, the good news is that with careful management and the right support, people can significantly improve their lives, even to the point where they are completely better. Which is where AYME comes in.

What's it like to have M.E./CFS?

Download our leaflet (pdf)

NEW: Your child and M.E.

This new free booklet was developed by AYME and AfME. along with parents of children with M.E./CFS, doctors and other professionals. It provides information on M.E./CFS and shares ways of coping.

Download your copy now


What parents need to know

Dr Esther Crawley from the School of Social and Community Medicine speaks about what researchers currently know about M.E./CFS  in children, and provides top tips for parents looking after them - including some valuable top tips.

Listen here: Esther Crawley talk, 22 November 2012

What's in a name?

M.E. stands for Myalgic Encephalopathy
(My-al-jik En-kefa-lop-athy):

of Greek origin meaning "muscle"
of Greek origin meaning "brain"
meaning suffering or "sickness"

It is often referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS). On this website you'll find we use the term M.E./CFS.

Sometimes M.E. is still referred to by an older version of the name: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. However, this is technically incorrect because the term 'myelitis' means inflammation and there is no evidence of inflammation of the neurological system. This was discussed by the doctors involved in the Chief Medical Officer's steering group, and they agreed that 'pathy' was a more correct definition.


Are you a young person in the UK who has M.E./CFS? Join FREE!