That Heavy Feeling: Crohn’s Fatigue
When you are diagnosed with Crohn's disease, there is so much to take in. The symptoms are vast and complicated.
In the beginning, when I was first diagnosed, my doctor did not discuss the extra-intestinal symptoms of Crohn's disease. The swelling of my ankles, the skin issues, eye issues, and fatigue. When I started experiencing these symptoms, I never tied them to Crohn's and thought something else was going on.
Well, I'm here to let you know, that if you feel like you are constantly running on a quarter tank of gas all day, that is 100% a Crohn's symptom and it's called: Crohn's fatigue.
What does Crohn's fatigue feel like?
It's the feeling like you are underwater and moving slower than usual. All you want to do is lay down, and not necessarily sleep – but just lay.
Simple things are hard. Showering, doing the dishes, doing laundry, and getting in the car to go buy groceries suddenly become daunting tasks and feel stressful to complete.
No, you aren't crazy. And no, you aren't alone in feeling this way. This is part of the diagnosis. You have to remember your body is totally inflamed and your intestines are diseased, and this affects our bodies greatly. We get hit hard with fatigue in this way and amending this issue can be a bit of a challenge.
But over my 11 years of dealing with this Crohn's, I have figured out some remedies that can offer relief. Let's take a look.
My 5 tips for battling heavy fatigue
1. Check to see if you're anemic
Anemia is another factor Crohnies need to be aware of in their Crohn's journey. Specifically iron deficiency anemia. Most Crohn's patients are anemic because absorbing iron is compromised due to the diseased gut, therefore leading to anemia. Once anemic, fatigue is inevitable. So definitely first get blood work done and rule out anemia. If you are in fact anemic, it is important to up your iron intake.
2. Identify any vitamin deficiencies
Along with checking out if you are anemic, check your vitamin and mineral levels. If you are deficient in any it's possible to correct the problem by supplementing. Deficiencies add to fatigue in the body. So it is important to correct these issues to improve fatigue.
3. Light exercise and weightlifting
If you are in a severe flare, just the thought of exercising is impossible to consider. Don't worry, I've been there. So if you are in that place, I understand if you are unable to move your body. But, please know that if you are not in a severe flare, light exercising is key to helping with fatigue. In addition, light weightlifting is also key.
I started to do yoga and light weightlifting to see if it would help boost energy, and it did ten-fold. The body needs to move and in doing so hormones are released and energy is boosted.
I recommend low-impact exercises like yoga paired with light weightlifting. I have 8-pound dumbbells and it does the trick. I always feel energized afterward and if you remain consistent you will likely see a huge uptick in your energy levels. Just remember you don't need to kill yourself working out. Just 30 minutes will do. Consistency is key.
4. Get in the sun
Sunlight is essential for our health and yes, getting in the sun helps boost energy. So try to get 10 minutes in the sun every day. It's also the best way to absorb vitamin D which is essential for our health.
I also recommend grounding to boost energy levels: take a walk barefoot in the grass. It's believed that the energy of the earth transfers into our bodies via our feet and we reap the benefits.
5. Proper rest
Lastly, try to set yourself up for successful sleep to help combat fatigue. I know how difficult it is to sleep when you are flaring and taking medicine like prednisone. But if you are in a place where you aren't taking steroids and aren't in a severe flare, try to set yourself up for success when it comes to sleep.
From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. are the hours in which we get our most restful sleep at night. So if you are able, get in bed by that time so you can reap the benefits of those hours.
Fatigued of fatigue
Do you do any of these already? And can you share other tips to help combat Crohn's fatigue? Share below, we love to hear from you.
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