exhausted man waving white flag

IBD: It's Exhausting

I have had Crohn’s disease since 2006. I never really experienced the fatigue that can come along with the disease. I have spoke, and read about friends who can’t get out of bed, because they are so tired.

Experiencing fatigue from Crohn's disease

I did not really experience this symptom until about two months ago. In the last few months, I just have had a lack of energy. I didn’t want to get out of bed.

The usual things like getting up early on the weekend, has faded. I tried to go to bed earlier then I am used to, but it did not work. I really started to wonder what was wrong.

Was it the stress that went along with my job? I have a lot of things on my plate, and carry my stress on my shoulders, but I thought I had a handle on it.

Do I need to talk to a psychologist again? I told myself not to panic, and take one step at a time. I made an appointment with my gastroenterologist to make sure everything was ok.

Visiting the doctor to find the cause of the fatigue

I went to visit him over Christmas break, because I had off from school. I knew that he was going to order some routine blood work, so I wasn’t surprised when I found myself in the “vampire” lab (as I call it).

He also asked me the routine questions, about my bowel frequency. I figured that we could make the correlation that if I was going to the bathroom more, then I would be more dehydrated. As a result, I would be more tired than usual. This was not the case.

What was causing the fatigue?

What was going on with me? My doctor was not really concerned, because he said that one of the classic symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease was “fatigue.” He also made sure that I understood that two of my medications were very suppressive on my immune system.

I had to take his advice into consideration. He wanted me to make a few “lifestyle” changes that would help with my fatigue.

Lifestyle changes to help with the fatigue

I had to change how many hours of sleep I got. Six was just not enough. I now force myself to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night. This bit of advice was kind of known already; I just always brushed it aside as not being important. Trust me, sleep is important!

My doctor suggested that I eat more fruit. Lots of fruit helps with fatigue, especially bananas and grapes. I know that I have problems digesting fruits, so he told me to be cautious. When it doubt, puree!

I started to feel better after leaving the doctors office

I was glad that we didn’t find anything really wrong, and that others had the same issues. I was eager to make my lifestyle changes, but open for suggestions! 

I have to open this question to the Crohn’s and Colitis community world: If you are experiencing fatigue from IBD, what do you do to handle it? Any suggestions would help!

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