Fatigue is extreme exhaustion that can be caused by mental or physical exertion or as a side effect of your condition, such as cavernous malformation.  After-effects of seizure or hemorrhage can be triggers for increased fatigue and can be debilitating.

Causes of Fatigue


Many people with both uncontrolled and controlled seizures will suffer from fatigue. Typically, after experiencing a seizure, during what is known as the post-ictal state, individuals will experience a period of extreme sleepiness. Frequent seizures, even those subtle enough to be invisible, can lead to ongoing fatigue.

Seizures can occur during sleep and disrupt rest, without the individual necessarily being aware they’ve had a seizure. It is also not uncommon for sleep apnea to be present. The National Sleep Foundation offers additional information about epilepsy and sleep.

Even with controlled seizures, fatigue can occur as a result of taking anti-seizure medication due to its sedative effect. If it becomes debilitating, you may wish to speak with your neurologist about trying a different medication.

Hemorrhage Resulting in Muscle Weakness

Hemorrhages can result in muscle weakness, coordination problems, or even paralysis. This can cause reduced strength and endurance requiring more energy to use limbs that feel heavy or that will not do what you want them to do.

Hemorrhage in Sleep Areas of the Brain

There are a number of areas of the brain that are involved in falling asleep, staying asleep and awake, dreaming, and moving during sleep. A hemorrhage near or in one of those areas may disrupt sleep temporarily or permanently.


Stress, anxiety, and other mood changes are a normal response to a chronic diagnosis and can cause fatigue. Working on your stress management or with a mental health professional can help.

tips for managing fatigue

  • Prioritize sleep. Sleep is time for rest and rebuilding and having good sleep hygiene can help combat daytime fatigue. Feeling fatigued can also be a result of having untreated sleep apnea. Please visit our page on sleep/sleep apnea to learn more and to understand your risks.
  • Support your body through a healthy anti-inflammatory diet. Be sure to check out our page on the microbiome for more information and our latest CCM-healthy cookbook.
  • Monitor vitamin D levels. Fatigue can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency and we know that vitamin D is especially important for preventing inflammation in those with cavernous malformation.
  • Work on time management. This might mean scheduling time for breaks or naps, paring down larger activities into smaller ones, or asking others for help as you regain your energy.
  • Experiment with different relaxation techniques such as yoga, breathwork, or meditation. Some apps include Insight Timer or Calm.
  • We know that aerobic exercise is safe for individuals with cavernous malformation. Moving your body is a great way to boost mood, increase strength, improve sleep, and generate new neurotransmitters through the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
  • Understand your triggers and intervene before you become too fatigued. Remember to rest.


Updated 4.16.22