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Crohn's, Anemia and Mental Health

Mon, July 22, 2019 10:24 AM

Many thanks in advance for any responses I really do apprecate it.

I am recently diagnosed with Crohn's disease - in the last month. I had been living with Crohn's symptoms for over 2 years prior to my formal diagnosis and was just living with the symptoms - about 2 years ago I was diagnosed as 'mildly anaemic' and had high inflammation markers and had some heartburn medication (for acid reflux) but apart from that was carrying on as normal.

4 months ago I went for another blood test which revealed I was now anaemic (i.e. more than before) and then had the subsequent investigation which led to my Crohn's diagnosis last month.

Around 4 months ago I suddenly started feeling depressed - although not as a result of feeling bad / worrying about my condition - I'm certan of this. Clearly I had been somewhat anaemc for over 2 years and also suffering the effects of Crohn's over this time so it's had to conclude that it was definitely due to these two reasons although I can't help but suspect they have had a contributory effect as the anaema got worse - it just seems such a strange coincidence.

My question is this - has anybody got any experience of where the effects of their iron deffiency anaemia has caused depression? (not caused by worrying about one's symptoms but perhaps caused by the neurological impact of low iron on the brain etc). Or experience of where the Crohn's itself has caused depression - agan not due to the worry about oneself but more due to the (apparent) link between inflammation / poor gut health and depression?

Once again - thanks for your replies!


FPO Riccardo
Joined Jul 22, 2019

Fri, August 16, 2019 9:07 AM

Reply posted for Riccardo.

I am in the exactly same boat as you. Anemia makes me feel tired, stomach ache makes me feel bad. Depression sets in and goes away. There are good days and bad days, still under process of getting the final diagnosis. If depression is severe and lasting then need to consult a physician.

FPO jshrink
Joined Aug 16, 2019

Sun, August 11, 2019 8:34 AM

Reply posted for Riccardo.

The fatigue you're feeling is due to the disease and the way your body reacts to it. If you're on medication that, too, can make you feel draggy. This is a very debilitating disease. It affects every aspect of your life. I have Crohn's all the time. No remission; no effective medications. There are times when I do nothing because I have no energy to do anything. I'm retired so it's easy for me to do. But, it doesn't make it any easier to live through.

Your body is fighting a battle it can't win. It's in constant battle with the foods you need to stay alive thinking that they're enemies. Crazy!

I don't know how severe your Crohn's is. Are you constantly having diarhhea, do all foods affect your bowels, do you go into remission? If you do go into remission, do you feel better? Have more energy? Ready to face the day? You have to remember that the digestive tract feeds your entire body. That's what its job is. Parcels out the nutrients to all parts of your body. Then when all of the current nutrients are dispersed, the left-overs (!) are gotten rid of. 

I've learned over the years to stop feeling guilty because I can't do what everyone else can; to stop trying to explain to people why I'm sick all the time; this is a disease noone can see from the outside. Grow a thick skin and know you're living your life the best way you can given the circumstances. You owe no one an apology. Not even to yourself. This disease is inherited; it's genetic. You did nothing wrong to get it and you're doing everything right in fighting it. 

It's a tiring, exhausting, debilitating disease. Not only physically, but mentally, too. Go easy on yourself. You're okay. Really!

FPO Julia Katherine
Joined Jul 25, 2019

Wed, July 31, 2019 4:00 AM

Reply posted for HItoCA.

Hi to HitoCA, thank you for your response - I appreciate your kind sentiment,


FPO Riccardo
Joined Jul 22, 2019

Wed, July 31, 2019 3:59 AM

Reply posted for Julia Katherine.

Hi Julia - I just wanted to say thank you for your heartfelt response, it gave me hope and I appreciate your kindness. 

I'm hoping my Crohn's is fairly mild - compared to some other people I may not have had it too bad. 

I'm 39 by the way, have 2 young kids and am out at work (or commuting) for 12 hours a day 5 days a week with a challenging job. I'm hoping I just feel crappy because with the fatigue from the anemia and the effects of the Crohns.

I may post this question elsewhere but you may know the answer noting you have had it for 50 years - it's well publicised that Crohns Disease gives sufferers fatigue; when we talk about fatigue do people experience fatigue from the Crohn's directly (because of disease activity or the sheer tiredness factor of being in pain) or is the fatigue due to anemia that often also occurs with the Crohn's?

Many thanks and best wishes

FPO Riccardo
Joined Jul 22, 2019

Sat, July 27, 2019 5:46 PM

Reply posted for Riccardo.

Hi David:

Your type of depression is not a mental health issue. That's doctor-speak. Anemia, Crohn's symptoms and flare-ups, inflamation, diarrhea, etc. is enough to cause anyone times of depression. It's a terrible disease with terrible side effects. Don't get down on yourself because your ill health is making you feel depressed. 

Since you're "newly" diagnosed, you have a lot to deal with, doctor's to deal with, tests, not to mention the disease, itself. I have a psychiatrist that I've been seeing for years and trust her completely. I've been on/off anti-depressants when my health issues overwhelm me. Taking an anti-depressant does not mean you'll be on it for the rest of your life. But, it can make life easier while dealing with your health problems. There are many medications out there so it may take more than one try to find the right one for you.

I've had Crohn's for almost 50 years. I've tried every medication out there for the disease. Hopefully, you're trying to find one that works for you.

This disease is hereditary. It can be triggered at any time of your life. No doctor knows how or why this happens, but please know that you are not alone in this. Find someone you trust who you can talk with and confide in. It helps a great deal. 

I'm hoping that in my lifetime that an effective treatment or cure is found for this disease. If not, then I hope one is found during yours. Best of luck with you and remember that you're not alone in this. 

Please post if/when things get better for you. Or, really, anytime.

Best of luck and well, well wishes for you.

FPO Julia Katherine
Joined Jul 25, 2019

Sat, July 27, 2019 10:34 AM

Reply posted for Riccardo.

Hi David, 

Sorry to hear about your struggle. I can’t speak to the relationship between anemia and depression, but there is a connection between gut health and mental/emotional well being. Many people with IBD and other auto-immunity issues struggle with mental illness like depression and anxiety.

You’re not alone. There is another message board on this website that is specifically focused on this problem. 

Joined Jul 27, 2019

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