People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease often suffer from fatigue. 2 out of 5 patients will struggle daily with fatigue even if they are in remission from the disease. Remission from IBD simply means that there are no/ have been no symptoms for a lengthy period of time.
What causes fatigue?
Fatigue can be caused by a number of factors including
- side effects of medications
- weight loss
- interrupted sleep
It is no wonder then that patients with IBD suffer from fatigue as a lot of these factors are linked to the disease.
What does fatigue feel like?
Fatigue can make you feel exhausted and cannot be helped by sleeping or resting. Fatigue is not just tiredness. It is so difficult to push through the fogginess and exhaustion and it can be mentally and physically taxing. This often leaves the person feeling weak, drained and worn out.
Symptoms of Fatigue
- brain fog
- feeling “heavy”
- sore or aching muscles
- muscle weakness
- impaired decision-making
- blurry vision
- low motivation
- poor concentration
- poor appetite
How Fatigue Has Affected Me
Fatigue is something that I have to deal with on a daily basis. I can sleep for hours and hours and still wake up feeling as if I haven’t rested. It’s horrible. I have spoken to my doctor about it but as there is currently not a lot of information on remedies for fatigue, I was told to eat more red meat to see if it would help. I can’t say that it made much difference. I have had to reduce my working hours down to part-time as working full time was too taxing for me. I currently work 5 hours and I can come home and have to sleep for the rest of the afternoon. The level of fatigue varies day-to-day and there are some days that are better than others. I find though that when I am not having an active flare-up, it does tend to be slightly lessened. During a flare-up the fatigue is horrendous and can be so bad that I have to lie down after taking a shower. It is such a difficult feeling to explain, it feels like a fogginess or a big cloud is hanging over you and pulling you down. It’s worse than just feeling tired, it is physically and mentally draining.
What I Do To Help Reduce My Fatigue
- Drink plenty of water
- De-stress! Take a long bath, do yoga, meditate etc
- Exercise, a little goes a long way.
- Eat lots of fruit and veg
- Take vitamins
- Sleep as often and as much as I can. Naps are everything!
These things do not get rid of the fatigue but they do make it a little more manageable.
I hope that there will be more research into fatigue and the link with IBD as currently around 80% of IBD patients suffer from it. We need a treatment or something to help reduce the symptoms so we can go about our every day lives with a bit of normalcy.
If you suffer from fatigue and IBD, you can log your symptoms here in order to help the research go further.
Here is Crohns and Colitis UK’s pdf about fatigue and IBD which I used for my research for this post.
Thank you for reading.
Love and light,