“I just want to stay here and sleep forever”: South African patients’ lived experiences of chronic fatigue in endometriosis

Alexandra Spyrelis, Zamafiso Sibande, Maria Loades, Rizwana Roomaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Chronic fatigue is a distressing symptom for endometriosis patients but is not widelyinvestigated in the literature. Our aim was to explore patients’ lived experiences of chronicfatigue and how they make meaning of it. We analysed a subset of data from seven severelyfatigued endometriosis patients, drawn from a broader qualitative study in South Africa, usingan interpretive phenomenological analysis. Three superordinate themes and eight subordinatethemes were developed. The three superordinate themes were powerlessness, which was a coreaspect of the chronic fatigue experience among participants; struggle and anguish, as their liveshad become a daily struggle resulting in feelings of despair and anger; and otherness as they feltdifferent from their peers due to the fatigue. The findings demonstrate the far-reaching effectsthat chronic fatigue has in the lives of endometriosis patients, including on their self-perception,and highlights the critical need for fatigue management strategies within treatment protocols.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalSouth African Journal of Psychology
Early online date25 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2024

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