Discussions By Condition: Gastrointestinal conditions

Severe Fatigue after Bowel Movement

Posted In: Gastrointestinal conditions 129 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • May 21, 2009
  • 06:24 AM

I am hoping someone else out there has heard of this and can give me some guidance. I get severe fatigue after a bowel movement, and when it happens, the severe fatigue lasts all day (I am destroyed and can't do anything, almost like a severe hang over). It does not happen all the time- it will happen every day for a week or two, then it will disappear for months with no symptoms. The severe fatigue only occurs right after a bowel movement. I can wake up just fine and function normally for a hour or so before my bowel movement, then I'm completely wiped out for the rest of the day once I go. There is nothing special about my poop- it is not particularly hard or soft, it is not liquidy, there is a normal amount coming out (not too much, not too little), it is normal poop color. My bowel movements are not painful and, I can't stress this enough, I AM NOT straining to go or pushing too hard. I have no idea why it happens or why it goes away- I am not doing or eating anything different. My gastro-intestinal doctor doesn't have a clue what's wrong, and he said he's never heard of this symptom before. I have a camera look at my stomach (not during an episode, however) and it appears normal. Does anyone out there have this problem or can give me a guidance on where I should look for answers?

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  • Two questions for anyone with great fatigue after BMs:1. Is anyone else following this thread also taking Celexa/citalopram (or its refined brother Lexapro) for anxiety or depression? How about another SSRI for anxiety or depression? I've been taking either citalopram or Paxil/paroxetine for about 2 years, approximately matching when I've had the BM-related fatigue. Two years ago I was put on my first SSRI, Paxil, and then made a switch to citalopram, which I still take. The only other type of prescriptions I've had over the last 2 years with these symptoms is (a) various kinds of oral antibiotics for sinus infections (including a quinolone antibiotic once), and (b) a several-day round of oral prednisone at three different times over the last 2 years. 2. Is there anyone else who has the same sort of great fatigue begin at times without a BM (and also not just after eating, which has not been a symptom of mine)? That is, does anyone else sometimes just wake up with the fatigue and have the fatigue and achy legs linger and be present for a day or two, slowly easing over that time? My great fatigue with leg aches initially appeared only after some normal BMs (some BMs, but not all, as we've said). However, after half a year or so of that, it sometimes began to appear without relation to a BM. During such times of fatigue, the fatigue can worsen within a few minutes after a BM, but it doesn't always worsen after a BM. Thanks,Toast
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • IvanD,What was the result of taking the threadworm medicine and possibly also the prescription for microscopic parasitic infections? I learned at a medical web page that parasites don't have to be worm-sized, they can be microscopic. I didn't realize that. Also, many microscopic parasites are not bacteria and so may not have respond to antibiotics I've taken for a couple of sinus infections. A parasitic cause is an intriguing theory. --ToastI currently have the same symptoms after suffering flu like symptoms for about 2 weeks, I required IV Fluids to get over this flu feeling, yesterday i went to a gastrologist who suggested it could be from drinking bad water or eating food washed in bad water, currently I am taking over the counter 'combantrin' which is a treatment for threadworm, if this fails i have been given a prescription for metronidazole which is an antibiotic used to treat a variety of bacterial and parasitic infections, so i will update with my progress at a later date to let ye know if these treatments helped..
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • September 8, 2010
    • 02:18 PM
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  • IvanD,What was the result of taking the threadworm medicine and possibly also the prescription for microscopic parasitic infections? I learned at a medical web page that parasites don't have to be worm-sized, they can be microscopic. I didn't realize that. Also, many microscopic parasites are not bacteria and so may not have respond to antibiotics I've taken for a couple of sinus infections. A parasitic cause is an intriguing theory. --ToastI have the same symptoms after a BM and yes I am taking Celexat. I have gradually reduced the dosage because the fatigue just was too much to handle anymore--I needed to not be wanting to lay down during the day!!. I mentioned the tiredness to my physician as soon as I started taking it. He thought the exhaustion was not a side effect from the Celexa, so I have not taken anything else. The exhaustion would get worse the higher the dosage--complained again to the doc with still no change in med. I still get very tired from a BM and the feeling usually lasts 30min to 2 hr. At its worst, I had to sleep almost immediately after using the bathroom. When I had the dosage decreased the fatigue lessened. Sorry I quoted from the wrong post--I don't think I have any parasites unless I got them the same time I started taking the Celexa.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • October 26, 2010
    • 07:40 PM
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  • I have made some progress in the last 2 weeks in lessening my fatigue symptoms and thought I'd share what might be helping. What led me to try a new treatment is the post in this thread saying that microbial parasites in the intestines might be a cause. Second, I saw a summary of a recent research study that proved that taking two courses of strong antibiotics only a month apart can eliminate whole strains of bacteria in a person's intestines. One course of a strong antibiotic usually did not eliminate any beneficial strains that they tested for in most participants, but following up with another course of antibiotics a few weeks later did eliminate certain beneficial strains in a majority of participants. I've taken a number of courses of antibiotics in the last several years, so this might apply to me. Also, I've heard reports of studies that several beneficial strains of microbes naturally occur in soil. Learning this kind of made me want to eat dirt, except I didn't know which dirt or how to avoid any bad microbes (or bird poop) in soil. I also realized that in the last couple of years, it was very rare for me to be constipated. My stools have been soft pretty consistently. Just like they're supposed to be, I thought. In some people, might this change to consistently softer stools have diarrhea as a symptom, like some posters here? Maybe nausea? Why were my BMs so soft? Could it be related to a bacterial imbalance between good and bad bateria or due to a microbial parasite? (ADDED REGIMENThinking that antibiotics might have overly harmed the microbial communities in my intestines, I searched online to find out how get beneficial microbes back into my gut. Before long, I found an over-the-counter mix of 12 beneficial bacteria in a caplet/tablet. The ratings for these tablets numerous and are very, very high on Amazon online. I usually don't go for treatments that might seem like new age/Zen/magnetic methods, but I decided to give it a try because I really want this fatigue to stop recurring. I will not give the brand name because I am not promoting any one product and I have no relation to the company whose product I take. I made a rare trip to a health food/organic food store to get the product, after I searched online to find out who had it locally. I bought it the same day I found out about it.In short, after 2 weeks of taking the soil bacteria supplement (including the bacteria found in yogurt) I can say that I've had only one bad episode of great fatigue after a BM. This is a big improvement for me. I've had more energy and have gotten more chores done, although I still have mild fatigue sometimes after a BM. I hope the improvement is not just due to a coincidental lull in symptoms or due to the placebo effect. I want to have a solution. Be mindful that I still take a low dose of cyclobenzaprene every evening. That's a muscle relaxant prescribed by a doctor who suspected that my mild lower back issues could be contributing to the fatigue. I find that when I stop taking low-dose cyclobenzaprine, the fatigue symptoms are much greater. Now I might have a second method of reducing symptoms. I'll post again here about any setbacks or progress over time.By the way, the brand of bacteria strains I'm taking has an Ultra version with 13 beneficial strains instead of 12. I saw it on the shelf in the health food store that I went to solely to get the 12 strain product for the first time. It turns out that the Ultra version also has iron in it. Men should not take iron supplements, in general, so I did not get the Ultra version.Long explanation. I'll send a shorter post later saying if it still helps or not. --Toast
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 3, 2010
    • 10:27 PM
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  • I have made some progress in the last 2 weeks in lessening my fatigue symptoms and thought I'd share what might be helping. What led me to try a new treatment is the post in this thread saying that microbial parasites in the intestines might be a cause. Second, I saw a summary of a recent research study that proved that taking two courses of strong antibiotics only a month apart can eliminate whole strains of bacteria in a person's intestines. One course of a strong antibiotic usually did not eliminate any beneficial strains that they tested for in most participants, but following up with another course of antibiotics a few weeks later did eliminate certain beneficial strains in a majority of participants. I've taken a number of courses of antibiotics in the last several years, so this might apply to me. Also, I've heard reports of studies that several beneficial strains of microbes naturally occur in soil. Learning this kind of made me want to eat dirt, except I didn't know which dirt or how to avoid any bad microbes (or bird poop) in soil. I also realized that in the last couple of years, it was very rare for me to be constipated. My stools have been soft pretty consistently. Just like they're supposed to be, I thought. In some people, might this change to consistently softer stools have diarrhea as a symptom, like some posters here? Maybe nausea? Why were my BMs so soft? Could it be related to a bacterial imbalance between good and bad bateria or due to a microbial parasite? (ADDED REGIMENThinking that antibiotics might have overly harmed the microbial communities in my intestines, I searched online to find out how get beneficial microbes back into my gut. Before long, I found an over-the-counter mix of 12 beneficial bacteria in a caplet/tablet. The ratings for these tablets numerous and are very, very high on Amazon online. I usually don't go for treatments that might seem like new age/Zen/magnetic methods, but I decided to give it a try because I really want this fatigue to stop recurring. I will not give the brand name because I am not promoting any one product and I have no relation to the company whose product I take. I made a rare trip to a health food/organic food store to get the product, after I searched online to find out who had it locally. I bought it the same day I found out about it.In short, after 2 weeks of taking the soil bacteria supplement (including the bacteria found in yogurt) I can say that I've had only one bad episode of great fatigue after a BM. This is a big improvement for me. I've had more energy and have gotten more chores done, although I still have mild fatigue sometimes after a BM. I hope the improvement is not just due to a coincidental lull in symptoms or due to the placebo effect. I want to have a solution. Be mindful that I still take a low dose of cyclobenzaprene every evening. That's a muscle relaxant prescribed by a doctor who suspected that my mild lower back issues could be contributing to the fatigue. I find that when I stop taking low-dose cyclobenzaprine, the fatigue symptoms are much greater. Now I might have a second method of reducing symptoms. I'll post again here about any setbacks or progress over time.By the way, the brand of bacteria strains I'm taking has an Ultra version with 13 beneficial strains instead of 12. I saw it on the shelf in the health food store that I went to solely to get the 12 strain product for the first time. It turns out that the Ultra version also has iron in it. Men should not take iron supplements, in general, so I did not get the Ultra version.Long explanation. I'll send a shorter post later saying if it still helps or not. --ToastI too have had severe back problems. I dislocated my pelvis after a fall, and also herniated a disk. If I gain a few pounds the pain in my back becomes constant, but excess weight does not seem to change my being tired after a bm. Thanks for keeping the thread going.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 16, 2010
    • 01:26 AM
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  • UPDATEIt's about 2 weeks after my last post and a total of 5 weeks after I started taking a pill that contains a dozen different probiotics that occur in people's intestines and are also found in soil, as explained in the previous post. (one of the 12 is lactobacillus acidophilus and a couple of related strains found in various kinds of yogurt). After each additional week on the probiotics, I feel better and better. My energy level is much, much more consistent, which is a HUGE change for me. During the last few weeks, I've gotten more little tasks done around the house and some side jobs done in my work that have been nagging at me for a while. As I said in my most recent post, I got the probiotics bottle of pills off the shelf of a health food store after comparing user reviews of various probiotics on Amazon.com. I take the probiotic pill 3 times a day on an empty stomach. I started with one pill a day for the first few days, then two a day for a few days, and am staying at three a day, as the bottle recommends. YOGURTAlthough I usually do not try new agey-type treatments for things, for many years I have eaten a lot of yogurt, with its active acidophilus cultures to help ease diarrhea symptoms. I would eat it more often while or taking antibiotics for sinus infections, as advised to me by a couple of different primary care doctors and an ear, nose, and throat doctor. It seemed to help control some of the worst intestinal effects of some antibiotics. However, the yogurt did nothing for fatigue after bowel movements.FIRST VISIT TO A GASTROENTEROLOGISTI went to a gastroenterologist last week. He is in his mid-50s (well experienced) and seems to be very sharp and was really listening. He asked good, logical questions after I explained my fatigue after BMs (to the point of needing to lie down or nap, which is important to tell them) and we talked about it for a while. He said he'd never heard of such symptoms before and he was stumped, although he did not doubt that I had the symptoms I described.I then showed him the bottle of pills with 12 different probiotic strains and I said that the probiotics might have brought on the easing up of symptoms in recent weeks, or maybe I am having a coincidental lull in fatigue symptoms, or maybe it's just the placebo effect. (To the latter he light heartedly said, essentially, if it works for me somehow, that's all that matters.) He also said that just a few months ago he went to a gastro medical conference and one of the groups of talks he attended was on the results of probiotics research. He said that the speakers suggested that: (a) studies conflict on how beneficial probiotics are for various intestinal maladies--so, some studies appear to show significant positive effects and others don't, (b) they appear to do no harm, and (c) the number (concentration) of bacteria in many of the probiotics sold today is probably too low to have much of an effect on the workings of the intestines. He had no problem with my continuing to take probiotics, especially if I feel they might be helping.Lastly, he also said that the cause of the fatigue after many of my bowel movements might be a nervous system reaction of some sort, but that it was only a thought at this point. That coincides somewhat with what my rheumatologist is thinking. SUMMARYRight now, my own sense is that the many-strain probiotics I have been taking for five weeks--which contains more than the 1 or 2 or 3 strains of bacteria that are in most probiotics--are helping to give me more energy. Over the past 3 years I have had the severe fatigue symptoms after many, but not all, of my BMs. I would have the occasional lull in symptoms for a week or two, but, usually, I would need to lie down after a BM--even moreso after a larger BM.During the first 3 or 4 weeks on the new probiotic pill, I would still have some fatigue issues that seemed to be slowly lessening. My overall level of energy keeps increasing each week and is still rising. Last week I had virtually no fatigue symptoms other than normal tiredness when not getting enough sleep. Normal tiredness feels good compared to the malaise/fatigue after BMs. I've been able to get more stuff done each day. I feel pretty good.CYCLOBENZAPRINEFor now, I am continuing to take a low dose of cyclobenzaprine (a non-dependency-forming muscle relaxant) an hour before bedtime. I started it one year ago. It makes me need coffee in the morning, but otherwise is okay. When I have forgotten to take it before, especially for a couple of days in a row, I would have worse fatigue after a BM the next day. It has cut down on the severity of my post-BM symptoms for the past year, which has been a very welcome change. However, the cyclobenzaprine did not cut down on the frequency of symptoms (still pretty frequent until very recently). My energy continues to rise, especially in this most recent week, and fatigue symptoms appear to be just about gone. If the BM-related fatigue continues to be history for me over the next couple of weeks, I'll probably start taking the cyclobenzaprine every other night and see how that goes, and try to taper completely off of it from there, keeping track of fatigue symptoms that might appear. I'll consult with the rheumatologist that prescribed the cyclobenzaprine 1 year ago for my post-BM fatigue (which he thought could be due to strain/pressure on nerves in my lower back, as I explained months ago). I've seen him twice since then. He's a good doctor and I'll probably use e-mail to consult on to tapering down. He'll probably concur with that step without needing an office visit.The way I feel now, I recommend trying some several-strain probiotics for at least a few months to see if they help. Good luck. --Toast
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 16, 2010
    • 03:49 PM
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  • I SEEM TO BE COMPLETELY CURED OF THE FATIGUE! I hope that the fix I came upon will be helpful for many of you and others with similar symptoms after bowel movements. It's been a long 3 years, but I finally have lasting relief from the fatigue that would virtually make me lie down for a while, with the tiredness slowly easing over several hours. I now have normal energy every day and am catching up on personal and work tasks I wondered if I could get to. No more near-daily effect on my family, my job, my life. Whew!I suspect that something was physically wrong with my gut walls or with some aspect of the many nerves (or maybe their sheaths?) that run through the gut walls. In any case whatever unhelpful body mechanism was triggered by many of my bowel movements seems to have been directly mended over 2 or more months while I took 3 tablets daily of a probiotic with 12 strains of helpful intestinal microbes (probiotics). While scanning medical research papers for information on intestinal issues to try to find an effective remedy, I learned that our guts might have hundreds or over a thousand different strains of microbes at any given time. Also, some recent intestinal research confirms that antibiotics, at least some of them, can greatly affect the kinds of microscopic organisms that die off or remain living there. Whole classes or types of microbes might be finished off, some of which (I'm thinking) might be key to protecting the structure of gut walls or protect some important function of the gut/food relationship from the strains of microbes that will do harm if not outnumbered or if they don't have their population kept in check by certain strains of beneficial microbes. This is obviously speculation on my part--and I don't know the exact body mechanism that is affected by influencing the kinds of key microbes in my intestines. However, my speculation leans heavily on the speculation by current intestine researchers. They don't have all the answers, and neither do we, but I very much believe I have been led by some medical research to stumble upon a cure for myself, and perhaps for others with great tiredness and very low energy after some bowel movements. Also, I had been taking prescription cyclobenzaprine (10 mg an hour before bedtime) which lessened the severity of the fatigue during the next day, but did not make the fatigue symptoms after BMs any less frequent. About 7 weeks after starting the 3 probiotic tablets daily, I stopped taking the cyclobenzaprine and in the days that followed, the fatigue did not reappear in the least. I still take the probiotics for now, but have been symptom free for about a month. Prior to this last month, my symptoms gradually lessened over several weeks from the time I started taking the probiotic with 12 different helpful microbes on an empty stomach with water 3 times a day.SUMMARYI am not in a medical field, and I am not you, so please take my story of how my body has reacted with a grain of salt. However, I hope that this fairly simple regimen of taking a probiotic with several helpful strains can help others with our strange history of great tiredness/fatigue for perhaps several hours after a bowel movement. Every day during the last several weeks I am thankful for having my normal energy back! Although I did not name the exact probiotic I was taking in my hopeful message of good progress a month ago, I will name it now:It is called Primal Defense, made by Garden of Life. The bottle says it has 12 species of probiotic organisms. I found out about it when seeking to balance out a possibly unbalanced community of organisms in my gut. I looked on Amazon.com for probiotics beyond yogurt cultures and found reviews of these caplets on Amazon.com (there are many, many reviews), but ended up buying it off the shelf at a local health food store that I had not frequented before. You might call one or more health food stores to see if they have it or a similar product (and I would look for one with more than 3 or 4 types of probiotics). The bottle I bought had 180 caplets and it does not need to be refrigerated, which is convenient. As I noted in an earlier message, I had also found a related formulation of caplets by the same company that boasts 13 probiotics instead of 12, but I saw that it also has iron as a supplement, and, as I recall, most men are not supposed to take iron supplements. So, I bought the caplets with 12 strains. My doctors did not mind that I had started taking this probiotic, but they were not hopeful that it would work for me. I feel that it has really turned the tide for me, though. I continue to take it after feeling completely normal for some weeks, but will eventually wean myself off after I enjoy even more time with normal energy. It feels great. The probiotic caplets are a simple thing to try for several weeks. If you try it, please post back to let us know if it was helpful or not. Good luck!--Toast
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • December 27, 2010
    • 09:13 PM
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  • Canine Crew, nika757, SubSailor and other recent posters,I had not checked this thread for a few months and appreciate the ideas and questions and new guests that seek answers. I have not had Crohn's or celiac disease, which I am thankful for. The positive effect of a thyme preparation noted by SubSailor is interesting. SubSailor: Would you give us an update on whether symptoms? Do they continue to be lessened or maybe completely gone over a longer period of thyme/time? Periodic updates are very helpful with potential treatments or cures. It's always good to know that we are not alone in facing this condition. We know that our condition is relatively rare because we and our doctors don't know anyone else with it. With that rarity, it is more important for us to stick together so that we can interact better with the medical community and they in turn can help us more. Sticking together is probably the only way we're going to make any real progress unless there is a lucky discovery of a cure soon.Canine Crew said:"Hey Toast! Did you ever get the website up and running. I was thinking of the same thing." Yes, I have been building web pages, writing text, and gathering ideas for a nonprofit organization that would stand behind that website. I could use some help. It would be great if you and I could talk on the phone, but we can't exactly post our email addresses or phone numbers or full names on this forum. Temporarily, let's try adding each other to our forum contact list. I just put your Canine Crew name in my list of contacts for this forum by going to my member profile. Please go to your member profile and list Toast in the contacts section. (Other people here with this condition are welcome to do the same.) I suppose then we can send messages to each other more directly that way, although our messages will still somewhere in this forum's database. We'll have to think of a way for us to privately give contact information to each other. It will be good to bounce ideas off of each other. That alone would help me finish the first publishable version of the website, but I can also use help in other ways. For all of us: Participating in a website and a nonprofit organization dedicated to this condition will allow us communicate with each other more easily and quickly, interact with the medical community more effectively. That should lead to quicker progress on treatments, finding a cure, and learning about prevention. I am working toward a website and organization now, with an eye toward keeping identities private on that website (so that insurance companies cannot choose to drop us for having an unknown medical problem).Sticking together and comparing notes on this illness probably is also our only hope of getting medical researchers interested in doing serious research. Medical research relies on having a number of people with the same condition and then applying statistics to findings for that group. No medical researcher/professor at a university hospital can statistically say anything about one person who sits in their office and describes our strange symptoms. I have already sat in some of their offices. They have been professionally intrigued by the challenge my condition presents, but they won't start a study on just one (or two or three) patients with a condition. They need a few dozen. In fact, they might need that many just to do a detailed survey of us to find out what the various symptoms are and publish a little paper on the existence of this thing. Right now, our condition is not mentioned in peer-reviewed medical literature. Not in English, anyway, as far as I can tell. Side note: For people who have recently begun having these after-a-bowel-movement symptoms, it would be good for you to write down whether you started getting symptoms within about 3 to 6 months (a year?) of certain experiences: For instance, had you started new medications or health supplements? Did you have a surgery with or without anesthesia? Did you have any unusual illnesses (if so, what were the symptoms)? Did you have meningitis or a similar illness? What antibiotics or antivirals were you prescribed in months before symptoms started? Do you live in a cool or moderate climate but vacation in a warm climate (Florida, Spain, Mexico, etc.). Anything else you can think of that might affect your bowels or your nerves or skeletal muscles?I am convinced that there are at least several thousand of us around the world who have deep fatigue after some or all bowel movements. It's just rare enough that most doctors don't have patients with this illness. The internet is a great tool for helping us find each other, though. So we should use an association, a website, blogs, twitter at times, etc. to gather us together and spread the word so we can learn what this thing is and overcome it. Toast
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Odd my goodness, I am so happy to have found this thread. I have been feeling intense fatigue after a bowel movement for several months now. It has on several occasions resulted in me arriving at work 2 or 3 hours late. I was recently diagnosed as mildly hypothyroid and began 25 micrograms of levothyroxine daily 2 weeks ago. I had hoped that would fix this problem but it has not, although my night sweats, hot flashes and overall fatigue have abated. I know it can take up to 6 weeks for thyroid levels to level out, so I haven't given up hope yet. I have bad asthma and allergies which are under control, and have dysthymia depression and anxiety which are also under control. I take a low dose of Paroxetine and bupropion daily. My diet is high in fiber and low in sugar and salt,a dn has always been so. I do not consume aspartame and eat quite healthfully but don't deprive myself the occasional pizza or French fries. I drink lots of water and always have. I have been thinking that maybe I should try drinking a glass of salt water after a bm when I feel the exhaustion coming on, but that seems a bit gross so I haven't tried that yet. I have noticed that when the exhaustion happens I usually have to go twice within few hours. The exhaustion is centered in my legs but extends through my whole body. I don't have ibs or back problems the way others have described, and haven't taken antibiotics for anything in ages. I'm relatively active, 36, no pregnancies, and I've had to rest twice while typing this. So it is cramping my style. Very annoying.
    Jane b. 1 Replies Flag this Response
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