Chronic fatigue syndrome is debilitating, and many doctors don’t fully understand the cause or experience of extreme fatigue. But irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and your gut health also impact fatigue. What’s the link between IBS and fatigue?
Researchers have been studying the gut for years. Especially since our gut health impacts so many other areas of our physical and mental health, it’s important to understand those connections. IBS and fatigue are related….but how?
Your Gut Actually Impacts Chronic Fatigue Syndrome In Lots Of Ways
- 1 Your Gut Actually Impacts Chronic Fatigue Syndrome In Lots Of Ways
- 2 How IBS And Fatigue Are Connected
- 3 How To Cope With IBS And Fatigue
Chronic fatigue syndrome is usually associated with debilitating fatigue after even small amounts of exertion. Typically, that fatigue doesn’t go away even when you get enough sleep and rest.
Unfortunately, there are no clearly defined causes or triggers for chronic fatigue. To be diagnosed with this condition, people undergo lengthy testing from doctors, mostly to rule out other possible causes.
But now, scientists have found a link between our gut health and fatigue. In fact, they’ve identified biological markers of chronic fatigue in gut bacteria.
What that means is that there’s a link between chronic fatigue and abnormal gut health. That’s why some people with chronic fatigue syndrome experience gastrointestinal and inflammatory symptoms.
In fact, this new research could indicate a link between the two. Of course, this research isn’t quite finalized. More information is needed to determine the relationship between IBS and fatigue, like which one is the result of the other.
How IBS And Fatigue Are Connected
People with IBS often struggle with fatigue as a prominent symptom. That fatigue can present as general tiredness, an extreme lack of energy, or total exhaustion.
Typically, fatigue isn’t a symptom of gastrointestinal issues. But it is commonly found in IBS patients, suggesting a link between IBS and fatigue.
There isn’t one clear cause of IBS and fatigue symptoms. But there are some possible reasons why IBS leads to fatigue, like gut-brain communication, lifestyle and diet, and hormones.
Your Gut Communicates With Your Brain
If you have IBS, you likely have some sort of dysfunctional gut-brain communication. That’s why people with IBS have more of a risk for mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Because your gut talks to your brain, gut health issues like IBS and fatigue can go hand-in-hand.
Especially since depression can lead to fatigue, you might experience a chain reaction with IBS and fatigue.
Your Lifestyle And Diet Play A Role
Figuring out the cause of fatigue starts with evaluating your lifestyle, like sleep, exercise, energy, and diet.
You need to assess your lifestyle. What’s weighing on you, how are you spending your time, and what’s stressing you out? Being stressed and focused on your IBS symptoms can actually increase fatigue.
IBS also causes a lot of anxiety surrounding food, but you need to nourish your body in order to avoid fatigue.
When your body doesn’t have enough food, it can’t create the energy it needs, which leaves you feeling tired and foggy. This also impacts your blood sugar and makes it inconsistent, which leaves you feeling a lack of energy. Nutrient deficiencies can also impact your energy levels.
Hormones Are A Key Player In IBS And Fatigue
Hormones also play a role in IBS and fatigue. If you aren’t familiar, hormones basically act as communication signals in your body to control different functions and systems.
Different hormones impact your body in unique ways, and certain hormone imbalances could trigger IBS. Once that’s triggered, those hormonal imbalances can actually cause you to feel more fatigued, less energetic, and even moodier.
How To Cope With IBS And Fatigue
Although we know there are connections between IBS and fatigue, what’s more important is knowing how to cope.
Here are some tips to help you cope when you’re struggling with this!
Evaluate Your Nutrient Levels
Nutrient deficiencies impact your gut and your energy levels.
That’s why you should check with your doctor for nutrient deficiencies like iron, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12.
Try To Sleep Better
Implementing a solid nighttime routine and morning routine will help you improve your sleep and feel less fatigue.
But did you know that sleep is about so much more than simply avoiding fatigue?
Sleep helps you improve your energy levels, digestion, and hormone levels—all of which impact both IBS and fatigue. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
Focus On Your Mental Health
Stress isn’t good for our physical or mental health, but it can also lead to IBS and fatigue. Lowering your stress levels will help you in so many impactful ways. Self-care and mental health care are both important to reduce stress, gut health issues, and fatigue.
Meditation is a great way to relieve stress by easing anxiety and worries. The stillness achieved in meditation helps support energy, focus, and hormone levels, along with your IBS symptoms.
Time management is also key for stress management.
Adjust Your Diet
First of all, you need to eat enough! Like we mentioned before, your body needs food in order to create energy.
On that note, you can actually focus on balancing your meals to feel more energized.
Add in complex carbohydrates with vegetables rich in fiber, protein sources, and healthy fats. Healthy fats like Omega-3s help support your hormone balance and your brain, which is super important. For great sources of healthy fats, try avocado, olives, seeds, and nuts.
Finally, consider visiting a dietitian to find a diet that works for you!
The connection between IBS and fatigue is something researchers are diving in to explore, but it’s clear that they’re linked. That’s why learning to cope in healthy ways is so important!