There is nothing worse than feeling like you're chained to the bed with fatigue. Few understand how debilitating it can be like those who suffer from Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease. While it isn't a symptom everyone experiences, many sufferers of these illnesses find that feeling excessively tired goes hand-in-hand with a positive diagnosis.
While it may seem like there's nowhere to turn, remember that you aren't alone. There are ways to combat fatigue and take back your life. With some daily changes and a healthy lifestyle, you can finally find the energy you seek to start your day.
Every Day an Uphill Climb
For some who previously had an active lifestyle, being saddled with increasing tiredness can feel like the end of the story. One patient found that it wasn't only himself that suffered, but that his children also lost their energetic father who used to skateboard and mountain bike regularly. For him, it was a daily battle, but for other sufferers feeling tired can come on so suddenly it stops them in their tracks.
This unpredictive nature of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis that make dealing with fatigue so difficult. It can keep you from work or play at a moment's notice, or leave you bedridden for days at a time. It is the goal of treatment to ensure that your quality of life can get as close to your norm as possible, and that includes fighting back against these diseases' most underhanded symptom.
Finding the Cause
Before you can work towards regaining your energy, you first have to get to the root of the problem. There are a number of reasons why these illnesses can cause fatigue, and they vary from patient to patient. Possible causes include:
- Depression: A symptom of so many illnesses, depression can make getting out of bed feel like the most exhausting task. Lacking connections with friends and family thanks to IBD issues leads to feelings of loss which add to anxiety, with feeling tired being a common result.
- Lack of nutrients: Simply not having the materials your body needs, like B-12 and Vitamin D, can leave you feeling exhausted throughout the day as reserves dwindle.
- Thyroid issues: Hypothyroidism is a common occurrence in Ulcerative Colitis sufferers, which can leave you drained of energy.
- Anemia: Iron is an essential part of feeling active and alert. Losing blood, even in invisible amounts, will deplete iron content, leading to tiredness.
Every patient is different, so check with your doctor to see if your lifestyle or symptoms align with a particular diagnosis.
Getting Back in the Saddle
The most devious aspect of fatigue as a symptom is that it inherently pushes you to ignore it. When you're tired, the last thing you want to do is actively pursue a solution. However, once the cause of your exhaustion is discerned, movement towards relief may be just around the corner.
- Treat your ailment: The best course of action is to get the Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's Disease under control. this could involve lifestyle changes, adjusting your diet, and following a prescribed regimen created by your doctor. Once you've managed the illness, fatigue should subside along with other symptoms.
- Increase your movement: Generally, low activity levels can be attributed to poor physical health and a lack of exercise. Though it may be difficult at first, forcing yourself to move around more will let your body build up muscle and increase reserves. With each passing day, you may find that you have more energy than before.
- Rule out other possible causes: Just because you have Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's Disease doesn't mean they are the cause of your fatigue. There could be other conditions you are unaware of that sap your energy. Consult your physician to learn of alternat reasons for exhaustion and how you can treat them separately.
- Eat well-balanced meals and take supplements: Your doctor has probably proscribed a healthy diet that will treat your other symptoms. While this might seem limiting, it's designed to make your illness more manageable. A physician may also suggest taking vitamin supplements to help boost your energy and replace what is lost due to the disease.
- Limit caffeine and other energy drugs: Coffee and tea might be lifesavers thanks to the quick boost they offer, but they come at a cost. Caffeine may exacerbate current symptoms, and the crash that often results after these drugs have one their job can make you feel worse than when you started.
Ulcerated Colitis and Crohn's Disease are illnesses that are difficult to manage, and having fatigue as a symptom makes it even worse. Following your doctor's recommendations will help alleviate issues, and focusing on your health via eating well, exercising often and taking supplements may curb the worst of them. Don't let exhaustion take control of your life. Initial action may be difficult, but the reward of independence far exceeds the pains it takes to get there!