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Fatigue can be described as an overwhelming sense of continuing tiredness, lack of energy, or feeling of exhaustion which is not relieved after rest or sleep. It is far more than the ordinary and usual tiredness that anyone feels after they have done a lot of physical or mental activity.
Fatigue can be very unpredictable, vary day to day, or even hour by hour. It can come on very suddenly with no warning. People sometimes describe this feeling as like ‘hitting a brick wall’.
Fatigue in IBD is very common - over three quarters of people experience fatigue during an IBD flare-up.
There does not seem to be a major difference in the levels of fatigue between people with UC and people with Crohn’s. However, some research suggests that fatigue may be worse in people with Crohn’s.
Many people find that their fatigue improves as their IBD improves. However, for some, there can be a time lag of weeks or even months before they regain their normal energy levels. Sometimes the fatigue does not go away even when the IBD seems to be completely under control. Fatigue continues to affect over 2 out of 5 whose IBD is in remission.