If you have Crohn's disease, chances are you suffer from fatigue from time to time. Although it's common,  fatigue is disruptive and can negatively affect your quality of life. There are many causes of fatigue; however, there are steps you can take to manage it.

Dietary deficiencies

Food needed for energy and growth is absorbed in your intestines. When disease damages the intestines, you cannot fully absorb critical vitamins and minerals, putting you at risk for nutritional deficiencies. If you don't feel well, you are also less likely to eat, especially during a flare up. This further reduces your ability to consume adequate nutrients.

Crohn's disease puts you at particular risk for iron and vitamins B and deficiency. Iron deficiency, caused by chronic intestinal bleeding, may cause anemia, which leaves you feeling tired and weak. Vitamin B12 helps the body absorb iron; so B12 deficiencies may also contribute to the development of anemia.

Lack of sufficient vitamin D can cause osteomalacia-a softening of the bones that produces achy bone pain and muscle weakness. Vitamin D is fat-soluble. Crohn's compromises your ability to absorb fat, increasing your risk for this vitamin deficiency. On top of that, certain medications used to treat Crohn's disease, such as corticosteroids, interfere in vitamin D absorption.

Fortunately, you can reduce these nutritional deficiencies through supplements. Strive to maintain an overall healthy diet, including consuming adequate protein in order to reduce Crohn's-related fatigue. Eat smaller, frequent meals if your symptoms are active. Dehydration can also leave you fatigued. Fortunately, this is easy to address: drink plenty of water.

Sleep disturbances

Sleep disturbances are common in people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. However, sleep modulates the immune system, so getting a good night sleep should be a key component in disease management. Experts recommend establishing bedtime rituals, such as brushing your teeth, to set the stage and signal to your body that it's time to sleep. Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening and use relaxation techniques if you need help falling asleep.

Other diseases and medications

Crohn's patients often develop other diseases such Fibromyalgia, which causes chronic fatigue and weakness. If you suspect your fatigue has other causes, ask your physician to evaluate you for Fibromyalgia. Some medications also cause fatigue, so discuss alternative treatments with your physician.

Lack of activity

Being active helps you manage fatigue and other Crohn's-related symptoms. Moderate activity boosts energy, makes you feel better overall and helps you sleep.

Fatigue may be inevitable, but that doesn't mean you must suffer. A few small changes can often make a big difference.



Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology