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Tired vs IBD Tired.

Tired vs IBD Tired

“I’m so tired

”I’m exhausted.”

Everyone has said these words. And everyone has heard someone else say these words. But what do they mean? When managing a chronic illness like IBD, the word “tired” takes on a whole new meaning. From difficulty sleeping, to anemia, medication side effects, mood changes, and chronic inflammation, fatigue lurks behind everything when managing Crohn’s or UC. So we decided to ask the experts – you, our community – how you distinguish tired from IBD tired. These were you incredible thoughts:

The Unrelenting Fatigue Experience

Many of you reported feeling like you’re fighting a never-ending battle with fatigue. It is all-consuming and exhaustion to the bone.

“Crohn’s tired is like living and walking through a wall of wet sand. Everything is harder and takes longer than a mere bout of fatigue. Your quality of life is compromised every day with that level of exhaustion weighing you down. There are not enough naps in the world to bring you back to merely tired

“I don’t remember what it feels like to be energized. You can sleep 12 hours and still feel like you ran a marathon or sleep 6 and feel the same way, makes no difference”

“For me, IBD tired is an evil force making you work twice as hard at everything all day. Also, on days off, you wonder why you are just as tired as a work day, and still can’t manage to get all of the home jobs done that you saved for the day off work”

Wishing Others Would Understand

Many of you reported wishing others would understand that IBD fatigue is so beyond just needing to take a nap and moving on. Sometimes, communicating with the ones we’re closest to can be the hardest step.

I’m tired of being tired, feeling drained, knowing I should rest but pushing myself to try and do as much as I can for my kids and family. IBD tired is everyday, top of your eyes hurt from being so tired because there was minimal sleep. Then there is the tired of trying to explain it over and over again. Sometimes, I feel it’s the ones closest to you that need the reminder of what IBD tired is”

The True Difference Between Tired and IBD Tired

“Feeling IBD tired means FORCING yourself to do things normal people do without a second thought. Sometimes just a simple shower is very challenging”

“Well, being tired you can still get up and do what is needed, but IBD tired you can barely get out of bed to even get to the bathroom. There’s no functioning when IBD fatigue sets in”

“I’d be happy to be just tired…to be able to get some rest and start out refreshed. There is not enough sleep (if I can sleep), or rest that can rescue us from this soul-deep, mind-numbing fatigue”

“IBD tired is gravity feeling much stronger, pulling you down. Difficult to do anything and everything”

“I can push through tired. If I push through IBD tired, I get worsening symptoms

We are so glad so many of you shared your thoughts and experiences with us. Your comments are so indicative of a broader trend: You are not alone! We are here for you, and so are your fellow community members.

How do you distinguish tired from IBD tired, and what you do to combat the exhaustion?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Julie Marie Palumbo moderator
    4 months ago

    This article really resonates with me! There have been countless times that I have been more than just “tired” and saying “I’m so tired” does not do it justice. You are right, the small daily activities like showering can really take so much out of us and these are little things that others take for granted.

    –Julie (Team Member)

  • Amandakok
    1 year ago

    Hi there I am in hospital for treatment of UC I must decide between Humira or Revellex which one is the best

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    1 year ago

    IBD fatigue is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Before my diagnosis, I would get tired but I was able to push through. I could drink a coffee or have a nourishing meal and it would give me the fuel to get through whatever I needed to get through. IBD fatigue, however, is on another level. It is literally like you are underwater. Everything is taxing and no matter how much sleep you get, you wake up with the same exhaustion. It is awful.

  • 3 years ago

    dcolon734 I’m beyond exhausted. Just to walk across the room is hard to breathe. I’m constantly having nausea and lower left quadrant pain. Can barley get up to use the restroom. I thought I was in remission after a 10 month flare. What gives ?!

  • SharonM.
    3 years ago

    When I was in an almost 3-year flare, the only way I knew how to describe my fatigue was that it was an effort to breathe. I am currently doing pretty well on Humira, and I enjoy every day that I have energy enough to engage in life. I don’t take it for granted; because with Crohn’s disease, you never know when it will flare up or when you will build antibodies to the treatment that is helping you get through each day. Thank you for this article!

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