Why Do I Feel Drained After an MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a commonly used medical procedure that utilizes powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of the body’s internal structures. It is a valuable tool for diagnosing various health conditions, but many people report feeling drained or fatigued after undergoing an MRI. So, why does this happen?

1. Lengthy Procedure: MRI scans can last anywhere from 15 minutes to more than an hour, depending on the type and purpose of the scan. Lying still in a confined space for an extended period can be mentally and physically exhausting, leading to feelings of fatigue afterward.

2. Anxiety and Claustrophobia: MRI machines are large, cylindrical structures that can cause anxiety and claustrophobia in some individuals. The combination of fear and the enclosed space can induce stress, leading to exhaustion.

3. Noise: MRI machines produce loud banging, knocking, and thumping noises during the scanning process. While ear protection is provided, the constant noise can be overwhelming and contribute to feelings of fatigue afterward.

4. Dehydration: Patients are often instructed to fast before undergoing an MRI, and consuming food or drinks is prohibited during the procedure. This can lead to dehydration, which can cause fatigue and a general feeling of being drained.

5. Disruption of Routine: MRI scans are typically scheduled during the day, which can disrupt a person’s normal routine. This change in schedule can throw off the body’s internal clock, leading to feelings of fatigue.

6. Contrast Agents: In some cases, a contrast agent may be injected intravenously to enhance the visibility of certain structures during an MRI. These agents can have side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.

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7. Physical Discomfort: Lying still on a hard surface for an extended period can be uncomfortable and may lead to muscle stiffness or soreness. This physical discomfort can contribute to the feeling of being drained after the procedure.

8. Emotional Toll: For some individuals, undergoing an MRI can be emotionally taxing. The fear of receiving a diagnosis or the anxiety associated with medical procedures can take an emotional toll, leading to feelings of exhaustion afterward.

9. Energy Expenditure: MRI scans require concentration and mental focus to remain still and follow instructions. This mental effort, combined with the physical demands of the procedure, can lead to a temporary depletion of energy.


1. Is it normal to feel tired after an MRI?
Yes, it is normal to feel tired after an MRI due to various factors such as the length of the procedure, anxiety, noise, and disruption of routine.

2. How long does the fatigue typically last?
Fatigue after an MRI usually subsides within a few hours to a day. However, it can vary depending on the individual and the specific circumstances.

3. Can anxiety or claustrophobia worsen the fatigue?
Yes, anxiety or claustrophobia experienced during an MRI can intensify feelings of fatigue afterward due to the stress and mental exhaustion associated with these conditions.

4. Does dehydration contribute to post-MRI fatigue?
Dehydration can contribute to feelings of fatigue after an MRI, as patients are often required to fast before the procedure and are not allowed to consume food or drinks during it.

5. Can contrast agents cause fatigue?
Yes, contrast agents used during an MRI can cause side effects such as fatigue. If you experience excessive fatigue or other severe symptoms, it is important to notify your healthcare provider.

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6. How can I minimize post-MRI fatigue?
Ensuring proper hydration before and after the procedure, practicing relaxation techniques to manage anxiety, and scheduling the MRI at a convenient time can help minimize post-MRI fatigue.

7. Should I rest after an MRI?
Resting after an MRI is recommended, especially if you feel tired or drained. It allows your body to recover from the physical and mental exertion of the procedure.

8. When should I seek medical attention for post-MRI fatigue?
If fatigue persists for an extended period, is accompanied by severe symptoms, or interferes with your daily activities, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider.

9. Are there any long-term effects of post-MRI fatigue?
Post-MRI fatigue is typically temporary and does not have long-term effects. However, if you have concerns or experience persistent fatigue, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider for further evaluation.