Malaise is described as any of the following:
- a feeling of overall weakness
- a feeling of discomfort
- a feeling like you have an illness
- simply not feeling well
It often occurs with fatigue and an inability to restore a
feeling of health through proper rest.
Sometimes, malaise happens suddenly. Other times, it may
develop gradually and persist for a long period. The reason behind your malaise
can be extremely difficult to determine because it can be the result of so many
However, once your doctor diagnoses the cause of your
malaise, treating the condition can help you feel better.
There are numerous possible causes of malaise. Anytime your
body undergoes a disruption, such as an injury, disease, or trauma, you can
experience malaise. The possible causes listed here are far from exhaustive. It’s
important not to jump to conclusions about the cause of your malaise until you’ve
seen your doctor.
People with musculoskeletal conditions often experience a
general sense of discomfort and unease. Malaise is a typical symptom of various
forms or arthritis, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Acute viral disorders, such as the following can also cause
- Lyme disease
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a particularly complex disorder
that is characterized by a feeling of overall pain, fatigue, and malaise.
Chronic diseases such as the following are known to cause
- severe anemia
- congestive heart failure
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- kidney disease
- liver disease
Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety can often
lead to malaise. However, it’s also possible for a person with malaise to begin
to feel depression and anxiety, so it can be difficult to determine if the
malaise or depression occurred first.
Other causes of malaise can include:
- parasitic infections
- the flu
- adrenal gland dysfunction
Medications that can also put you at risk for malaise include:
- some medications used to treat hypertension and
heart disease, specifically beta-blockers
- medications used to treat psychiatric disorders
Some medications may not cause malaise on their own but can
lead to malaise when combined with other medications.
Malaise and Fatigue
Fatigue often occurs along with malaise. An individual
experiencing malaise will often also feel exhausted or lethargic in addition to
a generalized feeling of being unwell.
Like malaise, fatigue has a large
number of possible explanations. It can be due to lifestyle factors, illnesses,
and certain medications.
Should I See My Doctor?
You should see your doctor if you feel overwhelmed by the
feelings of malaise or if your malaise lasts longer than seven days. You should
also speak to your doctor if your malaise occurs with other symptoms.
It’s important to be your own health advocate if you’re
experiencing malaise. Because it’s difficult to determine the cause of malaise,
being proactive about seeking a diagnosis will only help your condition. Ask
questions and speak up if you feel you need to continue a conversation with
your doctor about your health.
Is Malaise Diagnosed?
Your doctor will perform a physical examination. They’ll look
for an obvious physical condition that could be the cause of your malaise or could
give clues about its cause.
Your doctor will also ask questions about your malaise. Be
prepared to provide details such as approximately when the malaise started and whether
the malaise seems to come and go, or is constantly present.
Your doctor will also likely ask you questions about recent
travel, additional symptoms you’re experiencing, any challenges you have in completing
daily activities, and why you think you’re having these challenges. They’ll ask
you what medications you’re taking, if you use drugs or alcohol, and whether
you have any known health issues or conditions.
Your doctor may have a better idea of what’s causing you to
feel generally unwell after the exam. At that point, they may order tests to
confirm or rule out one or more diagnoses. These tests may include blood tests,
X-rays, and other diagnostic tools.
Are the Treatment Options for Malaise?
Malaise is not a condition in and of itself. Therefore,
treatment will aim at addressing the underlying cause. It’s impossible to predict
what this treatment will consist of because malaise can be due to a wide
variety of conditions.
Treatment for the cause of your malaise can help control the
feeling and prevent it from becoming overwhelming. You can minimize your
- getting plenty of rest
- exercising regularly
- eating a balanced, healthy diet
- limiting stress
Malaise can be difficult to prevent because it has many
possible causes. Keeping note of your physical and mental well-being can help
you identify the causes and triggers of your malaise. Keep a journal to help
you track your malaise, and present your findings to your doctor if necessary.