Looking at the Different Types of Tiredness with Crohn’s

Looking at the Different Types of Tiredness with Crohn’s

With Crohn’s disease and IBD, people can experience different kinds of tiredness, including one that comes with fatigue and another that results from insomnia. I am affected by many types of this tiredness.

I am often sleep deprived from frequent waking during the night. Because Crohn’s is an autoimmune disease, my body is fighting against itself, resulting in digestive system flares that deplete energy and leave me feeling drained.

Fatigue with Crohn’s can mean that I am able to sleep but awake feeling exhausted. Even when I go to bed early, I wake up during the night with bowel pain or urgency, joint pain, and extremely dry and painful eyes. These issues can keep me up for hours, ruining my sleep.

Uninterrupted sleep is essential if I am to wake feeling refreshed, but getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult for those with IBD due to frequent waking.

When I deal with insomnia related to Crohn’s, I might not get any sleep at all. Some nights I am still awake at 2 a.m., or even 5 a.m., for no apparent reason other than my body’s refusal to fall asleep.

Some IBD medications, including prednisone and other corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, can cause insomnia. It might help to take these medications in the mornings instead of the evenings. Discuss medications and dosages with your healthcare team and pharmacist.

Another cause of Crohn’s disease fatigue is anemia. Sometimes when IBD patients suffer a flare-up of symptoms, blood loss can be seen in the stool and show up in blood tests. When blood is lost through intestinal bleeding, it can result in iron deficiency. Blood loss can be red, which is newer blood from the lower digestive tract, or dark, which is older blood from the upper digestive system.

Dietary habits and exercise can play a role in fatigue and the degree of tiredness. Discuss changes in your sleep habits with your healthcare team. Try to go to bed early, and avoid screens — such as the television, phone, or computer — before retiring.


Note: IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of IBD News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to IBD.

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