Does IBS cause fatigue? Many IBS sufferers experience a certain level of fatigue from IBS symptoms. However if IBS and tiredness are regular experiences in your life, there are some special signs to watch out for – and some ways to improve your vitality!
Fatigue with IBS flare-ups
Just having to deal with regular IBS symptoms can cause fatigue. Seriously, anyone who has just had a flare-up will likely just want to go to bed and rest.
Flare-ups in particular can drain SO much of our energy, which is why doing what you can to stop flare-ups will progressively get you your energy back.
Once you know your IBS triggers, you will have the choice of avoiding them. Or of releasing them altogether. That’s what got me my vitality back!
Fatigue with food intolerance
If you suffer with digestive problems and food intolerance, your body will take much more time and energy trying to digest foods. This is why eating the foods you can digest is important, rather than trying to force “healthy” food onto your system if it can’t handle it.
The more you eat the foods you can actully digest, the less fatigue with IBS you’ll experience.
If you’re intolerant to the foods you love, it is also worth looking into how to improve, or reverse food sensitivity. I have succesfully done this myself, so know that it is an option.
Fatigue with IBS through poor sleep
Another more obvious cause of fatigue from IBS is lack of sleep. If you are rolling around all night trying to digest, the quality of sleep will be affected.
If this happens once in a while you may not find this such a problem.
However if this is happening regularly, every night even (as it used to for me), then you can feel exhausted. And stressed about how you are going to get everything you have to do done – which can make your IBS symptoms even worse.
If digestion is wrecking your sleep, watching when you eat what can improve your sleep. Although I don’t have IBS or digestive problems any more, I do find that eating heavy foods like cheese really late still sets me up for a rough night.
Stress is another factor that can set you up for a bad night. Here are some ways to reduce stress.
What stresses us and keeps us up at night can be related to how we feel and patterns we have learned. These can be changed.
Fatigue through lack of magnesium
Another knock-on effect of regular stress can be a lack of magnesium. If you are experiencing fatigue with your IBS, this may be compounded by low magnesium levels.
Magnesium is used by the body for muscle and nerve function, and in the production of energy.
When we are stressed we can lose magnesium fast. And this can add to tiredness and IBS.
You can increase your magnesium levels through the foods you choose (this article includes low Fodmap sources of magnesium) or through magnesium supplements.
If you choose supplements, do ask your doctor or chemist for advice. The Mayo Clinic warns that magnesium supplements (as opposed to magnesium in food) can interfere with medication, and if taken in large doses provoke symptoms like nausea, cramping and diarrhoea.
When fatigue with IBS can have a deeper cause
I had never associated fatigue with trauma.
Simply because fatigue had been part of my everyday experience since I was a child.
I just assumed it was me.
I hadn’t associated persistant fatigue with an accident and emergency surgery I had as a child.
According to this report on pediatric surgery and PTSD, “there is consistent evidence in the literature of post-traumatic stress following surgery in childhood.”
Fatigue can, of course, be one of the tell-tell signs of all kinds of childhood trauma, not just pediatric surgery.
That trauma can be a single event, or ongoing, repeated situations that stirred up a strong emotional response in you.
On my path out of IBS, I have a recovered a great deal of vitality. In fact I have more energy now than ever. Part of that I achieved through releasing the emotions around that event that I could never voice. Doing that released the blocked energy, and allowed my body to rebalance.
So if you are dealing with long-term fatigue, do consider trauma – and know that there IS a way out.1