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Flu-like symptoms after exercise

I love running, using aerobic equipment and lifting weights; however, I ususually experience flu-like symtoms for days, sometimes weeks, later. For years now, I have felt as if a virus surfaces in me everytime I exercise.
My PCP is unhelpful.
My ENT recommended L-Lysine which I have been taking with a multi-vitamin everyday for a year.
Any suggestions?
333 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi, I'm glad I found this site, it's nice knowing I'm not alone.  Sorry for all the punctuation and grammer mistakes, I've been up all night with no sleep, brain fog and  exhaustion doesn't help either.

Well, I'll start from the beginning which was nine years ago. I needed to loose weight (weight gain from antidepressants) so I signed up at my local Y.  I started out slow but about three months into exercising I felt so much better that I was able to get off of my antidepressant (Zoloft). I felt like a new person but kept working hard (hardcore/ high intensity cardio & weights) for an hour and a half to two hours five to six days a week.  I loved the gym so much that I even thought about becoming an aerobic instructor or personal trainer. After a year and half to two years of working out, I  did cut back towards the last three months.   I would start to get shakey, have cold hands and anxiety but figure it was my sugars since I felt better after a snack. I lost sixty pounds solely on exercising and eating healthy but then IT happened. I didn't feel good one morning but went ahead and went to the gym. I thought maybe it's a cold but I figured I  could do an easy workout for the day, at least walk on the treadmill or lift very light weights. Well, I was wrong, I could barely walk into the gym and tried to lift a 3/5lb dumbbell. The dumbbell felt like it was heavy cement or  lifting it up from quick sand, I couldn't do it. I normally used 20lbs dumbbells each arm so I knew something wasn't right.  I then went home barely had enough energy to drive home with my three year old. I thought it was the flu since I felt so exhausted and wiped out. I didn't do anything for about 3-4 days until I had Dr. Visit. I told him I was exhausted, stomach nausea, headache, flushed/ sweaty and feeling unbalanced/dizzy at times. He gave me antibiotics for my stomach bug/cold, whatever's it was, he thought antibiotic would help. Well, I didn't see much of a difference I still had the same symptoms so went back to Dr. Office and he said I had possibly relapse with depression. I knew that wasn't the case, I never felt this sick before and.this didn't feel like depression. I literally felt angry with what I was told but because I didn't know what else to do, I took Dr advise to see a psychiatrist.  Fast forward, tired 10/15+ antidepressants during a two year period they didnt seem to help.  After two years, I gave up on antidepressants and  found another Dr., couldn't find anything wrong with my blood work.  I went on to see three other different doctors until I found one that I liked and said he will help me.figure this out. He said I was anemic so I was hoping that was the answer but it wasnt, each year after that it was something different then he left so I had to start over with a new Dr.. So two years trying antidepressant, following year was anemic, next year vitamin D deficiency, next year Acid reflux/ Gerd, next year diabetes taking metformin (gained all weight back due to the crippling fatigued), next year sleep apnea, delayed sleep syndrome & hypersomnia (long sleep 10-16hrs), insomnia, next year told it's CFS & Fibromyalgia (tried medicine didn't work) next year IBS, next year environmental and food allergies, next year allergies triggering asthma symptoms. Throughout this process, I have also dealt with general anxiety/Panic attacks normally happen when I don't sleep well or.get really tired so I guess all the time. I don't do outings or drive like I use to, it's been a struggle for nine years. Well, I hope I can find a treatment or plan to get me feel better.
Avatar universal
Dear all,

I'm a molecular biologist who will also get a PhD in the field of medicine next month. I started experiencing the same symptoms you guys are describing a few months ago. I also have several autoimmune issues and have spent the last year researching the causes and solutions for immune-related disorders.

I have read every single post in this forum and it seems like most of you are suffering from some kind of immune-related ailment. Allergies, asthma CFS, lyme disease, histamine intolerance, EBV, adrenal fatigue, celiac disease, ME, stress, hypothyroidism, candida, and intestinal distress are all either immune-related disorders themselves or causes thereof. When you have one inflammatory issue/disease, the risk of developing a second, third and fourth is very very high. Many people here draw the conclusion that exercise-induced symtoms may be immune-related and it seems likely to me.

Causes of diseases on the autoimmune spectra (including allergies and asthma) can have many different causes. It is possible that exercise-induced symptoms are immune-related. It is well known for many years that exercise in healthy people induces a normal inflammatory response. It's possible that a lack of immune-response in us is what is causing the symptoms. Either that, or an over-reaction. The immune-system of people who have these kinds of issues are totally unbalanced.

Some people develop an immune-related disorder from being deficient in just one thing (such a vitamin D or a healthy gut flora), or experiencing too much stress. However, most immune-related disorders have more than one cause. This could explain why some people find relief from symptoms from changing/adding just one thing, whereas others need an approach where you fix all the causes at the same time and have not found relief from the advice posted in this forum.

If you believe in this theory, please check out the best book I've ever read. It's called The Paleo Approach and is written by Sarah Ballantyne. I cried when I read it because it's so awesome. It's 100% science and no ********. Written by a scientist, it explains why immune-related disorders (not only autoimmune) develop and how we can stop progress and even reverse them. It includes a lot of the remedies you guys have suggested.


I followed the method described in the book and my autoimmune issues improved substantially or even disappeared. Then I got pregnant and very nauseous and could not (did not want to) follow the method. My symptoms came back and I also developed these exercise-induced symptoms even from mild exercise such as power yoga. I'm still pregnant but now that I've researched this forum, I will do what I can to go back to the diet described in the book.

If this can help even one of you guys, I'd be happy.

thanks for that response. I've read every comment here from beginning up to yours'. some of the people who post seem to be real looney tunes. anyway, your post was both informative and well written and i wanted to say thank you for the post
Avatar universal
I just want to add one more thing. It's possible that we are talking about different "diseases" with similar symptoms here. Those of you who find relief from drinking lots of water or exercising only outdoors may not have a immune-related issue. But clearly, a lot of people don't find relief from this (including myself).
Avatar universal
Hi NetMommy, it's rare I find anyone that has similar condition to me. Stress is also a major trigger for me as is exercise.

It's interesting you say steroids were your cause as my life long meds are hydrocortisone and fludrocortosine.

The cause was my own, abusing an antibiotic for too many years as it was easing a rash on my face and I was very young and irresponsible. From that I had an allergic reaction that caused phemonia which was untreated for so long as the Drs didn't know what was happening, I have never been the same since and for the past fourteen years I have battled this constant  battle with keeping well.

I am an over achiever and hide my illness through my strong will to perform. I don't know about you but I look normal when I am very sick and aside from if I'm coughing people have no clue. I find this difficult to ask for sick days as I feel people just think it's not real as I look so normal. I battle through the working week and crash and recover on the weekends so I can go back to work on the Monday. I rarely take a sick day as I don't like drawing attention to it or having to justify myself to people that just don't understand or care. Since being put onto the medication around 8 years ago now and with the new knowledge of listening to my body (still often pushing it though) I have decreased my time missing out on life and staying in bed on weekends to only 30% of my life, as before the meds and listening to my body it was 70-80% of the time.

I would be very interested to know how you are going as I don't know anyone who is dealing with what I am. I suffer in silence, I have a beautiful husband and parents who know and understand it all but my friends and extended family have no understanding as I find they are blinded by how well I present and when I do mention that I can't attend something they don't understand when I try to explain. I also find my self continually repeating myself to even the bests of friends and my husbands family as they just don't listen and if anyone does try to understand they just relate it to being a normal average cold etc that everyone else deals with. It's very frustrating so I rarely have these convosations.

I also take a brilliant product called Tresos B with Selenium made by Eagles, I was getting consistent cold sores until I starting it 8 years ago, now I only get them when I'm at my worst.

I would really like to exchange emails or facebooks
with you as I feel we could help each other.Peta.
13926882 tn?1432098737
I ran a search to find this forum, because of my sense of being crazy! But, I've been tracking many of my physical an emotional trends on calendars for about 10 years.  The pattern that is coming clear is that intense workouts leave me sick.  Sometimes the next day, but usually a day or two later and then I can be sick for anything like 2-6 days (just as you indicated).  Sleep, stress, diet, and working up slowly all seem to play a part.  I'm 54, so I struggle with admitting that maybe I can't run, train in TKD, and work like I did a decade or two back. Still, I'm able to work up slowly and build strength over time. I had mono as a teen and several entries seem to be saying that the lasting effect of having that virus in one's system can be significant for... life?
Avatar universal
Hi again everyone,

Listen to this podcast by Chris Kresser (who is my number one information source on health). They talk about methylation issues as cause of various conditions, including EXERCISE INTOLERANCE and excessive fatigue.

Avatar universal
I have had this condition for years. I friend of mine who is a dermatologist and homeopath recommended two plants: coffea and thea chinensis.
Both had an alleviating effect, but thea was the more successful. For the first time in ages I went for a hike (6-7 hrs), slept well and did not feel ill the day after.
Avatar universal
PS: coffea and thea are homeopathic remedies.
Avatar universal
Sorry it took so long for me to respond.  Havn't been on this site in awhile.  Back when this all started, I was 29 and doing crossfit about 4 times a week.  It took awhile for it to catch up to me, but eventually I couldn't do a single day of crossfit without getting sick.  Moving to just lifting weights worked for awhile but that also wore me down to where I couldn't get a good workout in.  My symptoms are somewhat related to allergies, and by taking allegra in the morning and hydroxyzine at night, im able to work out 4 days a week again.  Now, if I push it too hard, too many days of crossfit for example, I can start to feel symptoms again but not as bad as in the past.  Also, if I have a weekend of partying, like I did last weekend, with not much sleep, its almost a given that ill get sick.  
Avatar universal
I am sorry to bother you I know your post was along time ago,, I have exactly the same condition and symptoms you've mentioned. I'm in my 5 month, I wonder if you can update me to how you are know and any advice,, feeling low
Avatar universal
Hi sorry to bother you I know your post was along time ago,,,l I am suffering with the same condition and I am giving bee pollen a go have you had any relapse and any advice
Thank you
Avatar universal
Hi Rachel
Sorry to bother you I know your post is from 2012 I have just read it I have the same condition you had any advice would be helpful and are you still okay
Avatar universal
i have had what i consider flu' knocked me off my feet many times for weeks on end exhausted (lived on the sofa) on good days if i exercised it just made me feel bad my body hurt to touch i was diagnosed as fibromyalgia never heard of it thought i was being fobbed off as docs were rubbish and no help just you have this ... we pretty much cant help you :/ ive looked in to it and 1000s have it apparently - it seems its some thing i do have symptom wise im learning how to manage it one of the things i have learned that healthy eating certainly helps reduce the symptoms i juice some times when i have a bad flare up and it certainly helps and whilst i eat well i have minor symptoms and ive noticed definitely worse when i eat badly but i struggle with eating well all the time those moments when your out with friends etc, it maybe some thing you could look in to you sound so much like me - i hope you find a solution i too am sick and tired of being sick and tired so know exactly how you feel x
Avatar universal
I too recently fell into this crazy situation. I typically ride and run and stay fit. A few weeks ago I went on a long bike ride and felt the best Ive felt in along time. An hour later I thought i had the flu. Took tylenol for a week and got over it.  A week later it came back for a day or two. Then a week later it came back. I was lost as to why i had this condition. After many hours of research and looking at many many pages of literature, I decided to go and buy me a liver cleanse. A daily liver cleanse. The product I bought was from Myogenix. Its a daily supplement that cleans the liver toxins. I m telling you from my heart that 30 min after taking my first dose my arms and leg pain  ( achy )was gone. I have since started taking it daily one in the morning one at night. The bottle says to take 2 in the morning and 2 at night but currently just one seems to keep me healthy. I cant promise that you will have the same effects but seriously what is anybody else providing. Please try this as I know it will help some of you since it helped me. If this does help please spread the word on this forum so others can get help. I know how miserable I felt and know how you feel. Good luck and God Bless you all.
Avatar universal
Did you go to an nose -throat doctor?
I had the same symptoms, not only after exercising , but after any kind of effort, for instance is I walked a lot in a day, I would feel very sick, dizzy, and my chest would tighten, and air would hardly get in my lungs.  

I started eating more healthy and drinking at least 2l of water. that helped. But I can honestly say, that a bigger progress was made, when I went to my nose-throat Dr. and he told me that I need an operation done to my nose, because I'm hardly breathing via my nose anymore , do to my inferior turbinates that were over grown and blocking air from entering via my nose.

I can tell you that my problems are not over. because I'm certain tat my feeling sick also has something to do with my immune system ( because I did some lab analysis and a few parameters where off the charts, signaling there is an immune issue, however, further investigation during  2 years, did not determine what is the cause.

But that is my story, basically what I want to say is, make sure you are breathing correctly.
Avatar universal
I am also in SA and have the same symptons - thought I was crazy but so glad to read this here
Avatar universal
Hi all, I am so grateful for coming across this discussion and felt like I saw going crazy. Nobody could understand that exercise could actually make you ill. I've had all of the usual that I'm unfit, I'm making it up, it's just normal after exercise.

My symptoms include mild headache, irritability, fogginess, lethargy, extreme depression, stiff neck, sore red watery eyes, looking tired, blocked nose. Plus many more.

Although many of the posts are from people who this has happened to over time I can pin point mine to a severe head injury. Basically I fell head first into a dance floor On a night out. I wasn't knocked out and carried on drinking but overnight my life changed forever. I now have this condition where I cannot do anything remotely physical without getting the above symptoms. I used to work out everyday before my injury. Although I know what caused it I feel like it may be caused by the same reason as many others here. The symptoms are too similar, and this is the first time I've ever read anything so similar with regards to exercising causing flare ups.

I have been to countless doctors and in truth I think 99% of them are totally useless and clueless to this type of condition. I feel like it is almost up to ourselves to cure this as I cannot see us getting much help regarding something they think we're making up.

I saw one of the top immunologists in the country to be told that allergies can't be caused by a head injury, which I know is incorrect. That it's all to do with my mood. Yes I know I am down but that is because of the physical condition I have, it's not the cause it's a symptom.

In short the things that I have found to be the most beneficial is keeping stress to a minimum. Try to be as positive and happy as you can. Daily cold showers also massively seem to help, don't ask why but it may be a way of reducing the inflammation.

I would be really interested to hear from others who have found a cure for this. From the thousands of hours or research I have done I have came to the conclusion that my head injury has lead to a hormone imbalance. I have regularly been rejected in being referred to an endocrinologist however I will persist as I know that this is likely going to be the only miracle cure here is. Anyone who has had some form of impact injury should definitely get their homornes checked. If anyone is interested there is a brilliant article I have detailing how hormones deficiency can cause all of these symptoms.

Good luck everyone, it has definitely made me more positive knowing I'm not alone in this.
I am sorry for all of your symptoms and no answers.  Can you send me the article on hormone imbalance?  ***@****
I am sorry for all of your symptoms and no answers.  Can you send me the article on hormone imbalance?  ***@****
Avatar universal
Just read this and wonder if it may help anyone? Are many of us possibly not stretching enough after workout? But then I wonder if the stretching out might release more toxins into the bloodstream?
However could this mean a shorter 'flu' symptom period if we stretch the toxins out and flush through with water? I don't know...

Just my thoughts after reading this short article below. I've been doing Crossfit with 1hr yoga stretch after and while it really eases post-workout muscle ache massively I wonder if it releases more toxins into my system?

In which case then I'll explore possibilities to look into how best to detox the system after a workout! Alkaline it with lemons juices to ease the acidity load or etc? Might this be acidity overload? Just thinking out loud here in case it resonates with anyone...

I know some movie stunt guys who train 6+ hrs a day so will check with them if they ever hear of these symptoms we're all battling!


'When you exercise, micro-tears occur in your muscles, and when your body repairs these tears, certain toxic substances are released. These substances can cause aching muscles and other flu like symptoms. Look after your muscles by ensuring you have a proper warm up and warm down when exercising, and if possible try to work in a massage if you are training hard as this will help to reduce micro-tearing and subsequently reduce flu-like symptoms

Although some people prefer exercising on an empty stomach, remember that doing too much without proper nutrition and hydration can leave you feeling weak. You do not want to eat a huge meal before going for a jog, but allowing a light meal of carbohydrates to settle is often recommended as this gives you slow-release energy. It is also important to eat enough protein for muscle function. Taking a bottle of water with you when exercising (and drinking from it) will help to keep your muscles hydrated throughout your workout.'
Avatar universal
Thank you SO MUCH for all this info everyone. Really appreciated.
My original post didn't seem to load so I'm going to post this.
After reading all this I'm going to guinea pig a combo of recurring ideas on myself.

I already eat fairly cleanly, and found that decreasing processed sugars helped a lot with my overall symptoms.
No alcohol, cigarettes, drugs or pharms but I live in Asia with a lot of pollution. Just started Crossfit again with 1hr CF and 1hr yoga following for stretching. Get sick much more quickly after weight lifting (muscle tearing?) I drink 2 liters of water throughout the day, sleep early 8hrs a night, don't party and have good overall health albeit low base fitness (but increasing fast).

- I've ordered 'Maximum Vibrance' full nutrition shake that has probiotics and vibrations to try 1hr before and after workout.

- Will try antihistamine, gentle anti-inflammatory and L-carnitine (since I have heard L-carnitine recommend for weightlifting before?)

- Will aim for more clean whole food / paleo style eating with less gluten & sugar (although I'm already 70% there anyways?) Maybe more carbs from veg instead of rice or cereal.

- Will aim to try increasing alkalinity in the body? Maybe this will help the body heal a little more easily? Not sure why I think this but when I feel flushed & hot with post workout flu symptoms I sometimes crave lemon water and fruits and veg?

- Already have Sam-E so will try taking some.

My mind is eager but body keeps tripping up.
Also scheduled for a kinesiology session in case there's anything helpful to be done there.

Will try these things and update in a few weeks!
All the best to all and may we all enjoy solutions and ideal health soon!

Avatar universal
Sorry to keep posting ongoing thoughts but just read this and wanted to share in case it helps anyone.

Not my opinions or recommendations! Also no idea of the truth or facts of any of this. Just something I read.
More in the link:


"Firstly, get everything checked by your physician. That caveat aside, there is a phenomenon known as the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction (and sometimes just as “Herx”), which happens when the body tries to eliminate toxins at a faster rate than they can be properly disposed of.

High intensity conditioning can act like a furnace to bacteria, and when that bacteria dies, it can release large quantities of toxins into your bloodstream. Metabolic conditioning can release toxic stress chemicals stored in your fatty tissues at the same time. This places a toxic burden on your immune system temporarily, which is why powering up nutrition before metcon days and doubling your hydration after sessions – especially for the first few weeks – is critical!

The more toxic your system becomes, and the more severe your metabolic conditioning, the greater this event becomes, often referred to as a “healing crisis.” When the bodily systems start trying to process this sudden dump of sewage into your system it starts working feverishly to eliminate waste products through any and all elimination channels so it can start to set the stage for regeneration back to normal levels.

You may feel horrible for a couple days, but on rare occasions you can feel sluggish for a couple weeks. You’ll feel fantastic from your session, and then hours later, just suddenly start to have a host of symptoms like headaches, joint aches, nausea, ear ringing, etc. A lot of fighters unused to this intensity of exercise will feel a little ill during the first few days because it’s then that your body “dumps” the toxins back into the blood stream for elimination.
Hydrate in advance of a session and double your hydration afterward. To stay adequately hydrated, multiply your bodyweight in pounds by 0.55-that’s about how much water you should drink in ounces everyday. For example, a 200 lb. person needs about 110 ounces of water daily. This is about 10 to 12 glasses of water depending on the size of the glass. Juice and herbal tea also help you flush out these toxins.

In addition the following will help expedite your elimination of the toxicity: sleep, bowel movements / enemas, acupuncture, massage, steam baths, dry saunas, whirlpools, lots of green veggies, naps, skip your next metcon session."
Avatar universal
I have been struggling for 5 years.  Tired most days.  flu after any exercise more than walking.  swollen glands, sore throat, tight chest.  No help at all with doctors.  Last one told me to see a psychiatrist.  
Have you looked into ME? It's what I have and my symptoms present like yours. Look it up and stay positive :) with ME it's basically you have to stop back your exercise until you can do very small amounts with no symptoms and then build up very, very slowly. I'm still working out my limits but I am starting to get there. Keep positive :) and try for the time being to see the joy in exercise you can do- e.g go walking for the fresh air/ good mood rather than as a way of pushing your body. Thinking of you. It's a difficult time when you're going through this at first . :) X
Avatar universal
You might have something called Wegener's a very hard thing to diagnose. It has flu like symptoms and can be diagnosed by blood tests. I suggest you get looked at by a Rheumatologist who has some experience with this disease. It will kill you if untreated.
Avatar universal
Maybe it's exercise  induced asthma?
Avatar universal
You might want to get an hiv test asap. I read that after working out or just running for a little bit people with hiv get sick (flu like symptons) right away.
Avatar universal
I've having the same problem  after light yoga practises.  I'm now even thinking of going back to swimming and weightlifting.  
19161764 tn?1473247339
Assuming that you are practicing hard and mean side effects like flimsiness, sickness, and dazedness, I can consider two reasons: drying out and/or hypoglycemia, in all probability the previous. Have a go at hydrating amid or quickly in the wake of working out. Immaculate water is fine; I do well with Gatorade (50 calories, no caffeine) or a proportional. This replaces the salts you free when you sweat and the low measure of sugars (15g) holds off weakness. Bewared of games/caffeinated drinks that can have more sugar and caffeine. You needn't bother with the calories and your heart needn't bother with the jolt.
Avatar universal
I just found this thread. I've been suffering with severe fatigue for a while (years). Recently, I was ill for a few weeks. Intense exercise has mostly made me ill for days after. Upon reading all this and having worked out yesterday and feeling quite ill today, I took an antihistamine as I had some already. Not sure if placebo, but within 30 minutes my head feels  clearer than it has in days! All I can say is, cheap and safe way to test!
I've had the same after demanding powerlifting training but I might be over it  I'm not sure yet which helps, so my solution is not really structured but maybe it provides some pointers. Firstly: I experienced most of my flu like symptoms after weekly heavy deadlifting.  I have gone from weekly to once every two weeks deadlifting. In addition, I think that my squat was too weak compared my deadlifts (so that the latter was too demanding), so I’ve upped the reps and total squat poundage. I’ve also added structurally (not as an afterthought) kettlebell swings and I’ve started running on “off-days”. Nutrition-wise I’ve also changed a lot: I’m eating LOADS of (mostly green) veggies and loads of fruit, which I certainly didn’t do before. On the probiotics side I’ve also added sauerkraut and kefir (in moderate amounts). Adding to that I supplement with magnesium pills (again in moderate amounts).   I have not been sick in 6 months, which is a PR for me and I keep on feeling well.  Hope this helped!
Avatar universal
Seeing how this was posted in 2006 and people are still posting in 2016, a decade later, I wish someone would take a serious look at this condition. I have been suffering from flu like symptoms and consistently get sick after working out or any exercise since June 2016. I am a competitive spear fisherman and have travelled the world diving. I was always extremely healthy and took great care of myself. That includes running, weight training, and eating extremely clean. Out of nowhere I started getting sick and the recovery kept getting longer and harder. I have had every possible blood test and everything came back normal. I am having my tonsils removed as the doctor thinks this may be where the bacteria is harbored and keeps coming out. I was hoping to see if anyone who has this condition has been told the same thing or experiences chronic viral and bacterial strep. I am 20 years old and had to drop out of a top university to deal with my illness and am just looking for an answer. This stupid recurring illness has completely put my life on hold, as it looks like it has for many of you, and I just want it figured out. As with many of you, the doctors don't believe there is a correlation with exercise and getting sick and just believe it is my tonsils. I hope they are right, but given the extremely similar symptoms everyone on here is experiencing, I don't know if it will be. I recently cut out gluten and dairy and am eating according to my blood type. I will post again when I am finally better and hope to have an answer that will work for some of you. Cheers.
It might be worth investigating ME/ Chronic Fatigue? That's what I have and this is exactly how my symptoms present. It's depressing at first but once you learn your triggers and adapt exercise accordingly then you can recover your fitness. You kind of have to accept that you have to find a 'new normal ' I.e I have had to swap long distance running for walking, swimming and strength training but I'm just happy that I can exercise . Definitely ask your doc to look into it for you :) .
Did you get your tonsils out? i have no idea if you'll see this... but I have had these same issues and I did find that my symptoms lessened after having them out. It hurt like hell though ! but worth it. not a complete cure but helped me personally a lot!
Avatar universal
I was a professional ballerina and I had this problem for 7 years. I would come home from rehearsal and feel terrible, like I had the flu and poison running through me. My joints would feel swollen even though they didn't look it. I kept pushing myself as I have a sister who has been diagnosed with CFS and I didn't want to believe I had it too. I ended up bed bound/house bound for 3 years. Turns out I have bartonellosis, Lyme relapsing fever and babesia as does my sister! I suggest you get tested for all tick borne diseases, just 1 can cause major problems. You will need to find a Lyme literature doctor and have your tests done at Igenex labs and Galaxy labs. I had 4 Lyme and babesia tests before it came back positive as the bacteria hides in the body, so a negative test doesn't mean you don't have it. A great film to watch- Under Our Skin. I have been on IV antibiotics for 1 1/2 years and am finally out of bed and I hope to return to dance in the coming months. I hope this helps!
Avatar universal
I have Lyme disease as well.  I started having symptoms about 9 years ago and was finally diagnosed about a year and a half ago.  The flu-like symptoms started after exercise or massage about 2 or 3 years into the onset of  Lyme symptoms.  The symptoms are worse when I do yoga than cardio/weights.  I think because yoga is so detoxifying.  I agree with @NatHenry above.  It couldn't hurt to be tested for Lyme if you are having these symptoms, but it MUST be done by a Lyme literate Dr using those specific labs.  The CDC estimates 300,000+ people are contracting Lyme a year. I never had a bullseye rash and I'm not "outdoorsy." Plus I live in Los Angeles which is not considered a Lyme zone, yet I have 3 coworkers with it - one was born with it. Would have never believed I had Lyme Disease.  Lyme mimics autoimmune disease, so it is frequently misdiagnosed.  Also this flu after exercise seems to be frequently associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which many think is actually actually Lyme. I am going the natural route to treat my Lyme.  I've read that antibiotics are not the best choice for long term remission; plus the long term treatment with them destroys your gut microbiome.  I have not conquered this flu after exercise symptom yet, but am confident with treatment, I will become stronger.  I just bought the book "Unlocking Lyme" by William Rawls MD, a doctor who contracted Lyme and healed himself naturally with herbs and diet.  I plan on following his protocol and am hoping for a solution.  Another great book is "Why Can't I Get Better?" by Richard I Horowitz MD. Best of luck to all dealing with this yucky flu after exertion symptom.  Hope we get a concrete solution soon.
Avatar universal
Absolutely. What most people are describing here is best labeled as EXCERCISE INDUCED IMMUNOSUPPRESSION. What's interesting is that any athlete will experience this from prolonged intense excercises. As for the rest of us here, seems we are genetically more sensitive to excercise (especially with age!)

Read the article below my comment. It's the most compelling read about EXCERCISE INDUCED IMMUNOSUPPRESSION. Let me know if you find something more on the topic. I had prior read something about histamine release, however I find this IMMUNOSUPPRESSION study far more compelling.

What's happening to our bodies? Seems the scientists have not reached a concensis on this yet. But they do know that our body is flooded with excessive inflammation markers when we excercise too hard (yes, unfortunately for some of us that threshold is low).

WHAT TO DO? According to this article, the best way to manage this is to increase carbohydrates before and during excercise. In simple terms, this provides glucose to your muscle so they don't starve and are less stressed. Sorry, there is no compelling evidence of magic pill in the following of a a vitamin or mineral.

Anecdotally speaking: Carbohydrates seem to be helping me reduce post excercise problems. Sports drink powders is an easy way to achieve this during the excercise - keeps your carbs and electrolytes up.  As well, building my excercise routine extremely slowly (I started with 10 minute jogs, then added a minute each week). If try to stay consistent and if I miss a week I dial back the length of my jog a few minutes and start building it back. I can say I've successful reduced my flu like symptoms with this.

Don't take my word for it. Read the study.

Avatar universal
I get the same symptoms as mentioned here, and don't have the perfect answer. However, I think it might be heart or blood sugar related. I would imagine we do not all have the exact same issues, but I would just encourage everyone to be careful, don't overdo your workouts, and maybe get a check up.
Avatar universal
I have had this since I was 13 years old. I contracted a particularly debilitating virus for a few weeks and went from being an incredibly active child to being bedridden for days after walking up a steep hill.

I have been to every specialist. My opinion of the majority of medical professionals is poor on a good day.
It has affected my life greatly and still no-one can tell me why.

Errr - bright side. I'm a lot older now and the severity of the symptoms have lessened. A lot of it is management and building up my tolerance to intense exercise.(very..slowly) I have dealt with this for more than half my life and it definitely teaches you hard lessons!

I'm hopeful they will develop past the vague and unhelpful diagnosis of CFS so I check up on forums every now and then. I am also looking into the effect of diet on your inflammatory response which I think is really helpful in managing the symptoms.

All the best to everyone! Thank you for sharing your stories
20248508 tn?1495100272
Great thread. Helpful answers
Avatar universal
Dating all the way back to 2006, thanks all for your generosity in sharing and for well wishes.

Im 60. I think my condition started when I was much younger from drinking any kind of coffee or taking any stimulant—I would come down with flu-like symptoms that were immune supression-related, i.e. sore throat, fever, often progressing to lower respiratory sxs (symptoms). I would fight it off with nutraceuticals. I eventually stopped using any stimulants including ephedrine.

I am a runner and had run 6 miles 2x/week for decades. (I loved running, like most of you who were exercisers.) A year ago the same flu-like sxs would occur with that, so I cut back running to fewer miles and then less often and then 5 months ago stopped all together.

Two months ago I did go an ND who did labs and only found a low ACTH. She hypothesized stress-related pituitary-adrenal issues that also affect white cell function. Two months ago she started a slow titration of low dose naltrexone (LDN) to stimulate immunity and ACTH production. So far, on half of her target dose, here's my report: I ran two blocks 2 days ago and tonight have a sore throat, sneezing and am fighting it from going into my lungs. I'll keep you posted if it eventually makes a difference when she reaches her target dose of 9mg.

In the meantime, thanks to your posts, I'll begin with a gluten-free diet, try H1 blockers (antihistamines) and find a functional medicine internist who can check endocrine function and methylation issues.

Best of luck to everyone.  
Avatar universal
I've had this problem for 20 years and no doctor ever took it seriously. The past two years, I haven't touch a weight, and would remain healthy when everyone around me was sick. Two months ago I started working out again and have spent the last two months sick. The last workout to suppress my immune system: one set of squats with 135 pounds. I keep dialing back the intensity, but lifting just obliterates my immune system.
1756321 tn?1547098925
I had flu like symptoms due to over exercising.
Avatar universal
For people who eat a low-salt, or mostly whole food diet, you may have enough salt in your system for day-to-day living, but not enough for intense exercise.  

I was training for a 2-day, 200-mile bike ride and came down with flu-like symptoms after my long rides. Thinking it might be deyhdration, I spent the week before my next long ride drinking at least 8 cups of water per day.  But again got sick after my long ride.  

My acupuncturist thought I might be low on salt/electrolyte stores.  For people in this situation, the water they drink passes through them vs being taken up, utilized and stored by their bodies. Thus in spite of drinking plenty of water, they may still end up dehydrated.  

She recommended I drink 2 16-oz bottles of water per day, each with a Nuun or other electrolyte tablet in it, for a week before my next long ride.  She also recommended liberally salting my food during this time.  It fixed the problem:  I was able to complete my next long ride, as well as the 200 mile ride I had been training for, without any flu-like symptoms.
Avatar universal
I found out I have a gluten intolerance (high antibodies) but going gluten free was not enough for the exercise issue, although it relieved many other symptoms. I also read about leaky gut and imbalanced gut flora in those with gluten issues, and after reading posts here I started taking culturelle just before a vacation in Mexico. surprisingly was able to do two one hour yoga classes and a couple others on my own. I was tired after the first one but ok after that. Coming home this was weird, within 12 hours started feeling sick again, but that resolved in a couple days. Stuck with probiotic and seemed to help. Switched to align a month ago and feel crappy again! I am researching probiotics and while your pharmacist will say there is no difference that does not seem to be the case. I am listening to an interview with a gut researcher ( Kiran and can't remember last name) who says many of the probiotics people take do not work - just dead bacteria. He also said avoid all refrigerated probiotics as this is a marketing tool. If it has to be cooled it will not survive the high temperature in your body. Lastly, he said do not fall for the multi- strain marketing tool as that does not make a probiotic better and it is not backed by scientific evidence. A good quality single strain is better than a multi-strain crappy one. Sorry I do not have links right now but do your research and keep your sceptic hat on! I am still looking for a probiotic but have switched back to culturelle to see if that has any effect. I'm not saying it is the best but that strain has been recently tested for peanut allergy and so I wonder if it helps the gluten sensitivity. Just wanted to mention this for those that tried a probiotic and it did not work...it might still. I am also looking into hormone imbalances and viruses since the gi doc thinks my gluten intolerance is being caused by something else. Been sick for almost 2 years. Sucks but hang in there and keep trying to figure it out!!
Avatar universal
Like many of the people commenting and who share similar symptoms, I cut out gluten with excellent (though not instant) results. By week 2, I hadn't felt sick despite exercising. By week 3, I was able to exercise more than I'd been able to (without getting sick) for years. By week 4, I felt stronger and more alert than at any time in the previous 6 years. I'm now just over 7 weeks into it and am undoubtedly far healthier than I have been in a long, long time.

I had always been skeptical that I might have gluten intolerance since homemade bread was such a big part of my diet and I didn't seem to react quickly to changes in gluten intake (but apparently it takes a long time for changes to manifest). Also, I tend to avoid trendy health stuff. However, the other explanations were starting to look pretty scary, so I decided to try cutting gluten.

The symptoms I was having (all of which are gone now):

* I'd get sick for a day or two after about 1 in 8 routine exercises (e.g., 2 mile run, which used to be easy for me).
* About 1 day out of every two weeks, I'd be so "foggy" that I couldn't work, make decisions, or even drive a car safely.
* I'd get a lot of "cricks", deep muscle aches, and pain around bones.
* I was mildly lactose intolerant.
* I couldn't sleep after a single glass of wine.
* I'd crash after lunch most days.

Again, all of the above symptoms have completely disappeared since I dropped gluten, for 7 weeks now (much longer than my longest "good spell" over the previous 6 years). I now run 2 miles per day (my dog reminds me if I forget), I never have "brain fog", I have no muscle problems or bone pain, I'm no longer lactose intolerant, wine doesn't affect me any more than it does anyone else, and I have plenty of energy after lunch and through the afternoon. I also dropped 6 pounds despite that I wasn't trying to lose weight. It's a huge change in my quality of life -- so much so that it makes up for the lack of bread! (Though I have, since giving up gluten, literally dreamed about pain au chocolat.)

Other tests: allergies (no sensitivities), tons of blood tests (all normal). I haven't actually been tested for Celiac disease. While running this "gluten experiment", I didn't change anything else about my way of life.

My doctor was just confused about my symptoms. When I told him about the gluten thing a few weeks ago, he said, "Oh yeah, lots of people are trying that out and finding that it helps. Even one of the other doctors here did." I only say this to point out that a doctor may very well not say anything about "gluten sensitivity" to you, presumably since this isn't well understood and almost certainly wasn't taught to them. This is sad, because I've lost a lot of time to this, and I'm sure that many other people out there are currently losing just as much and are receiving just as little helpful advice from their own doctors.

While giving up gluten is mildly inconvenient, it's really not hard and is a good option to try if you're having these types of symptoms. It's important to note that it's not ratiometric (halving your gluten intake won't make much difference on the negative effects); you'll need to reduce wheat, barley, and rye gluten intake to essentially 0. You may need to read a few articles about going gluten free to do it successfully (e.g., soy sauce is ~50% wheat; ask for tamari instead). Further, you'll have to ask waiters to *check* that something you're ordering is actually totally gluten free (e.g., is the beurre blanc actually a roux?).

If you've scrolled all the way down here, then it seems like you're serious, so if you haven't tried going gluten-free yet, maybe this is a good option! Best of luck.
20797011 tn?1513634648
L-lysine is often taken to enhance calcium absorbtion and promote some help in fighting viruses. You were not specific on the symptoms you experience, but my guess is that when you exercise you don't drink water, or you sweat to excess.   This will dehydrate you and you will lose salt and other minerals.  You can experience shaking of the hands, visual disturbances, headaches, stomach aches, stitches in the sides, exhaustion, low grade temps and other unpleasant symptoms.  If this is the case, try drinking a fluid that has minerals in it like Cytomax.  Make sure you take in salt, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  Take several breaks to drink sips (not gulps) of fluid as you jog around.  Wear a hat to protect from the heat of the sun, and keep your head cool. If you breathe with your mouth open you may expect to dry out the bronchs and get a burning sensation in the chest as well.  When you are exercising in an aerobic state, try breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth
Hi all just found this site and think the autoimmune issue could be a cause factor in the symptoms we are getting.

My recap - In 2013 after leading a party fuelled life i suffered a pulmonary embolism. The doctors said i an auto-immune issue and vitamin d deficiency. Lupus anticoagulant i think they called it. Anyway i didn't take the docs advice of taking blood thinners for the rest of my life as i believed my lifestyle at the time was the cause of the sudden  illness and i could fix it without drugs. Anyway i stopped all drinking and partying and haven't touched anything for 5 years now and i replaced my party lifestyle with a fitness clean living lifestyle. Martial arts, Gym, Running, Cycling etc and was going great until last year when every-time i went out running within 2 or 3 days i would be extremely fatigued with flu like symptoms. It got to the point where i just couldnt train. Then i read about probiotics and gave it a go and to my amazement i would start feeling better immediately. However after a few days my eyes nose and ears were streaming and i went to the docs and he gave me anti histamine and again i started feeling better. I played tennis yesterday and today i feel like **** again. This isnt normal and i believe has to be related to the original diagnosis of an autoimmune issue. The comments on this board are i believe definitely in the right line of diagnosis - auto immune related.
Avatar universal
Old thread, but so nice to see that others have the same issues (sorry :) ). I am 35 and fit, I train 4-5 days a week and hard. I often come down with fever and sore throat. So frustrating!
I agree with a lot of comments here. Allergies and asthma might play a role. Make sure to get enough sleep and eat healthy (whatever that means).

One question though, how many of you have just worked right through it? I get so frustrated that I can't train, so sometimes I just do it anyway. I can't go a 100%, but maybe 80-90% at least.
Does anyone else have experience with that - to just ignore the symptoms and train anyway?
Avatar universal
I posted 6 years ago and thought I might give an update that could potentially help someone with these symptoms. Before 2012 for many years I got flu-like symptoms after each workout and it took me a couple of days to a week to recover. I then read the comments on this forum and decided to investigate my food allergies and intolerances. I did blood tests and found out I'm allergic to soy. I also did an elimination diet and discovered that I'm gluten intolerant. I avoid foods that contain soy and gluten and since then I have almost never had this issue again. The only times it came up again, was if I ate soy and gluten for a couple of meals before. Hope this helps someone.
While not a highly trained athlete, I have always struggled with inflammation and recognize a lot of what previous posters have mentioned. This webpage seems rather informative and I see now where I am sabotaging myself. I don't have a strong immune system and previously for 6 years I lifted weights consistently,,,once a month I would try cardio and I would be sick with a virus within the next few days.  Hope you all find the answers you seek.  Some might be on this webpage for you. Peace

I have also previously had exercised induced analyphylaxis...so histamine is also at play for me....I have a sensitive spirit and body.. I have fast twitch muscles so I can lift heavy weights easily. Cardio has never been a strength. I believe understanding your genetic makeup, past health crises,  hormones,  cortisol etc...and diet are all key to finding that allusive balance that comes naturally for many others.  
Avatar universal
I do know the answer, based on latest research.
No one of you is completely wrong, most of your
Auto-diagnosis may be right, except not the worst ones (I hope, but may be possible too).it's about stress response, so weather you just over train, or are out of shape or eat*hit, or suffer me/cfs(probably not) orare stressed, or have adrenal fatigue,or have anxiety or mood issues, or antthing that mess with your stress response , it's very likely you will experience flu like  symptoms. For me it was stress(unconscoius, since except some join/nerve painn I didnt realize I was so stressed) which went on to clear anxiety-tension(which added some minor sleep and digestionI trouble).
Also keep in mind a stress response will raise most molecules such as inflammatory cytokines, histamine etc... it's natural, but if it's out of balance will make your whole system more reactive , mounting an exaggerated inflammatory response. If this out ofof balance becomes chronic you will experience a break down making your whole system weaker (I.e. more prone to infections ) opening the way to all sorts of problems (especially chronic ones, so be careful and act in time)
To answer to anyone who didn't understand what is stress, yes , even you who think you're gluten sensitive. You may be right, that sensitivity may mount a stress response too. Stress is not just mental, every kind adds up, so just stop focusing onon 1 issues, start to addres your psychological stress first (most are mainly from this source) and then if not enough look for other sources of stress I.e physical, metabolic, allergic etc (no not on Google, you little hypochondriac thinking you may have lupus or cfs,  you have medical tests to rule out those things).
Avatar universal
After 12 years of dealing with this issue, and multiple attempts on what is causing the flu-like symptoms, I finally think I'm narrowing in on a culprit....Stress.  Ive been able to single out single triggers thru trial and error, and they all trigger a stress response in my body.  These triggers are:

Too much exercise
Lack of sufficient sleep
Mental Stress

I can better deal with the above if only one trigger is present, but for example, if i have a couple of days in a row of not enough sleep, and throw exercise on top of it, I'm destined to get sick for 3 to 4 days.  

So now that I know the triggers, and how they are related, I can work on finding a cure (if even possible).  I still don't know the exact mechanism in which the sickness comes about, but I think one possibility is that it has to do with histamines.  Antihistamines have shown to help out a bit in preventing the symptoms from happening so there's that.  Plus, i've developed the same exact symptoms from allergies alone without the presence of another trigger.  My current guess is that my triggers create a stress response, which in turn makes my body release histamines, which somehow are making me sick.  I have an appointment with someone that deals in histamine intolerance and what not in a few weeks so we'll see what he has to say about my theory.
I have exactly the same triggers (except allergies, which I don't really suffer from).  But if I exercise, especially when I'm under-nourished and/or dieting, and I'm stressed, and I don't get enough sleep... bam, I'm sick for 2-4 days.  Sickness is headache, dizziness, nausea, stomachache, and fatigue.  I have had this for 20 years... the onset put me in the ER but now I just deal with it.  I have no idea how to avoid it and I've been to docs, searched the Internet, etc. In spite of there obviously being lots of sufferers, no doc has ever heard of such a thing.
This happens every time you exercise?
Avatar universal
Thanks everyone for sharing! I had tried all sorts of things and nearly thought I'd have to give up the gym.
I used to end up for two weeks off being ill after sometimes even a moderate gym excercise.
This is what I've been doing for the last six weeks and what kept me in a much better healthy state (I do have a slightly runny nose the next morning after my gym workout but it goes away by lunch time).
The list is:
No milk based protein (I found I'm intolerant)
No daily coffees (just occasionally)
Vitamin D
Some carbs before the gym

I'm not sure which one of these was the deal breaker. I may start drinking coffee again in a few weeks to see if anything changes.
That's interesting that these things made a difference.  I can see the milk issue though for sure.  I think probiotics help with gut issues --  I'm a big believer.  Anyway, thanks for sharing.  Ya, I guess you could do test adding in (or taking out) these items one by one to see if you have a return to your past symptoms.  Glad you are doing better!
Avatar universal
I read your post. I also love running and exercise. After running, I feel tiredness so I don't think getting fatigue is the symptom of flu.  You should consult with an experienced doctor regarding your problem.
Avatar universal
when you workout,your immune system gets suppressed waaaaaay too much to explain,but it has to do with hormones/adrenals/etc.These are some way to do better of this situation :
lots of vitamin c everyday.
probiotics in the morning on an empty stomach
try to stay warm
973741 tn?1342346373
I think it is really fascinating that there are well over 300 comments of people having this same issue!
Avatar universal
Just ant to vomment, in my case it showed up to be lead poisonin from the drinking water. Something my doctors did not find out, I have to do it myself.

So check what you put into your body.
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