An abstracted hemoglobin molecule in between Z's representing tiredness and down arrows representing low hemoglobin levels.

Oh So Tired

When you have Crohn's, there are a multitude of symptoms that one can have. This can range from sores in your mouth to sores on your feet. Yes, do you believe it? 

Onset of major Crohn's fatigue

One of the big symptoms that I started to experience this year is fatigue. I have spoken to other friends who have IBD, and this is a symptom that really controls their lives. Crippling fatigue started to hit me about a year ago, and it really did come out of nowhere.

Like many teachers around the world, I was teaching from my computer in the basement, as schools moved to remote learning during the pandemic. I was not too stressed knowing that the bathroom was just a “hop, skip, and a jump” away. 

I was not dealing with the daily grind of traveling into the city each day. I was even sleeping later since I didn't have to go into the school building. There was really no reason to be oh so tired.

But each day around 2:30, a half-hour before school would end, I would have trouble keeping my eyes open. I could not wait to go upstairs and get into bed. I would have to take a two- to three-hour nap.

What was causing my fatigue?

My wife was concerned and urged me to go to the gastroenterologist. I didn't know what he would do for me, and I had to wait a few weeks to see him. What was going through my head, you ask?

Maybe I had seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is very common in people that live in northern areas where it is dark and cold during the winter. Or maybe it was that I was staring at the computer screen for too long every day. Screen fatigue... Was that it?

Then I started to think about my hemoglobin. I was not running to the bathroom a ton of times, and there was no blood in my stool. So could it be that? I guess the only way I was going to get those answers is going to the doctor.

Blood work detected a drop in hemoglobin

When I got there, my suspicion was right, and my doctor required me to get some blood work. Down to the lab I went to have my blood drawn. Then I waited two or three days for my doctor to call me. 

When my doctor called, he said that my blood work looked pretty good, with some small abnormalities which could be causing the daytime drowsiness. He said that my hemoglobin was a “tad” low, and my vitamin D needed to be increased. 

He said that with that combination, I could be experiencing daytime drowsiness. “What do I do to fix this?” I asked. 

Crohn's and low hemoglobin treatment

He instructed me that it was not a bid deal, and to go to my local pharmacy to get some iron tablets and vitamin D tablets. He said that since I have been spending a lot of time inside, my vitamin D levels fell.

While my iron levels had dipped a tad low, he was not concerned as long as they came up with the meds. I was to repeat blood work in 3 months. And I am happy to report that all my levels are now up. 

So what caused the drop in hemoglobin?

Apparently, even though I didn’t see any blood in the toilet, there could have been some blood in my stool. I’ll never know for sure, but I am very glad that I am feeling better!

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