The Silent Symptom that Foreshadows Trouble
Last updated: May 2020
The physical weariness.
It’s not something that my GI doctor or my primary care physician often ask about, and it’s not something that my symptom tracking apps usually have me log, but it’s something that I’ve noticed, repeatedly, is the best indicator of when something’s looming inside my guts.
When the fatigue hits at once
This feeling - it’s something that sneaks up on me, not something that increases gradually but rather hits me all at once, waving its arms in urgency.
There’s a point I reach, one that I had to slow down to notice, one that I had to choose to pay attention to - and I’m wondering if you can relate. I struggle to adequately describe the feeling, the notice my body sends me, but it’s the point in which I feel exhausted in my spine, bone-deep tired in the center core of my body.
Fatigue is a warning of more symptoms to come
It’s the point in which my body quietly and abruptly tries to notify me that if we don’t change things up, or take some rescue medications, or message the doctor for advice, we’re going to end up in trouble.
As a chronic illness patient living with Crohn’s disease and some other comorbid conditions, I am not a stranger to pain or exhaustion. I’ve written previously about my general experience with fatigue, how I often feel “Still Tired,” and how it affects my mental health.
I’ve also written about becoming a mother, and how pregnancy and parenthood have impacted my Crohn’s symptoms. One thing I’ve continued to learn now that my time is no longer my own. I may be happy and feeling fine, but apparently, I’ve been tending to push my body too hard.
Looking back on what is causing the exhaustion
When this feeling of core exhaustion grabs my attention, I admit, It takes some time to think about the previous days and weeks.
Did I not get enough sleep? What about physical rest? Am I moving too fast around my newly crawling baby? Am I not eating enough? What about hydration? As with most Crohn’s symptoms, it’s usually not just one answer for me. It’s a combination.
Maybe I needed more protein and more time on the couch. Maybe I needed a nap and some oral rehydration solutions like drip drop or Pedialyte. Maybe it’s that I forgot that my body needs as much care as it did before, even though I think about it far less than I used to.
Fatigue brings pain and sadness
By the time I feel this level of physical fatigue, it actually causes me pain in its own way. To be honest, it also causes me a level of sadness, because it means that my body needs more than I am giving it, and usually, it means I don’t know the exact answer on how to fix the problem.
It also usually provides some context to an increase in or change in other GI symptoms I hadn’t thought too much about in the surrounding time period. This has been a wakeup call in managing my Crohn’s disease, and my health in general.
If you’ve battled the physical symptoms of exhaustion or experienced another symptom that acts as a warning for you, I’d be really grateful to hear your stories.
What has been the most helpful for managing IBD symptoms?