Over the past six months I have been struggling with constant exhaustion and a "fuzzy head", but more on that in a moment, perhaps a bit of background might be useful (will try not to be too lengthy).
Approximately a year ago I started suffering from daily upset stomach/bloating. I had an endoscopy in August last year and the specialist found something along the lines of general gastritis (i.e. not attributable to anything he could see). As a result of the following hydrogen breath tests I was found to be fructose/fructan intolerant and once I removed these (key items being apples, honey, onions, garlic, wheat, HFCS/invert syrup, high sugar foods) from my diet my stomach issues settled down and for the most part I don't have any issues unless I accidentally eat something with the above FODMAPs (hence I'm very careful/picky about what I eat). Additionally, during this time I had all of my wisdom teeth removed.
Late last year I started to feel tired all the time despite getting 8 hours sleep each night (would often try and sleep on the bus to work), often as the day went on I would start to feel better. If the day was stressful then I would remain tired most of the day making it difficult to concentrate but able to get by. Figured it was the end of the year so made sense I was tired.
Then this year, having been back at work just two weeks after the Christmas break the same thing happened but got progressively worse as constantly exhausted, small decisions felt like big decisions, spent the weekends exhausted (probably fair to say started to get slightly depressed, although probably a secondary effect rather than the cause), back to work on Monday and exhausted by lunch time and so the cycle continued until I decided resign last month, was just too hard struggling through each day (bearing in mind it was a reasonably high pressure job, long hours, time sheets etc etc, could probably still handle something less mentally demanding in my current state but wouldn't exactly be pumped to be there).
Additionally, I also started to get a "foggy head" which is the worse symptom - what I mean by this is a constant fuzzy feeling that doesn't go away (less noticeable if I'm lying down or there is some reason that feeling might be there like if I was wearing a cap or hoodie - maybe its psychological but it does make the physical manifestation less noticeable). Sometimes its across my forehead sometimes the sides, can feel it moving/getting worse etc. I kind of felt like my brain was shutting down under any pressure what-so-ever, almost as if I could no longer differentiate between what was logical to be worried about and what was not logical to be worried about.
I think everyone just assumes that it was my job including my doctor, and maybe it was in part if it was aggravating a pre-existing condition (I wasn't the only one in my year group with new found food intolerances, eye problems etc). However, three weeks have pass since I left and although I am happier not having to face that sort of environment everyday, my symptoms still persist and if I was as active/busy as before I suspect tiredness would become exhaustion again. I still wake up tired (have the tired feeling in my legs on and off during the day) and feel I can't get on with things I want to do because of this. I still try to get to the gym twice a week to do some exercise, but feel tired when I leave rather than energized like I used to and I kind of feel as if it is using up energy that my body really needs for other things.
I've been to the doctor several times and he's done several blood tests, but everything comes back as I am "fit and healthy". He is sending me to someone else, but before going I thought it would be good to hear from others who have been in a similar situation to see if we can short cut the process a bit as I'm quite sick of how long it takes to get anything done by the time you bounce from doctor to doctor who in reality are only guess based on the information provided to them.
Male, mid-20s, two degrees from good universities, can't say I've ever been the most energetic person in the world but not constantly tired and never had this fuzzy head before, probably fair to say I've always been a slightly anxious person and like things to be in order but never has it caused my any serious/longterm issues, probably don't tend to let go of things ie. mind is always active and thinking about something. Seems logical to me it could be linked to my food intolerance - maybe preventing me from absorbing nutrients properly. I'm not bed ridden and can still put together a sentence so on the face of it people probably don't really think I have much wrong with me say things like "everyone gets tired" etc but I know it is more than that, especially the fuzzy head feeling.
Here's where I'm at with narrowing it down:
- Iron Deficiency - Doctor has tested for this and says I don’t have anemia (not sure what the test result number was).
- B12 Deficiency - Have been tested for this and have reading of 268. As far as the doctor is concerned I am not deficient, although I've read that you can get similar symptoms to deficiency if less than 500. I'm tempted to ask for B12 injections next time I speak to him since there are apparently no side effects/risks.
- Adrenal Fatigue/Cortisol - Don't think I've had cortisol tested, not sure if its something that can be tested. Also, not sure whether adrenal fatigue is legit or not, seems to be somewhat disputed.
- Glandular Fever - Have been tested, doctor says I don't have it.
- Carbs - Has been suggested to me that some people don't digest these properly, need to find out if this can be tested for.
- Hypoglycemia - Have ruled this out on the basis that after eating sometimes it can be worse rather than better.
- Hyperventilation - Have also ruled this out as have made a conscious effort to ensure I am breathing properly, and the feeling of hyper ventilation is more of light headedness which is different from what I have.
- Anxiety - I do tend to worry about failing, have trouble disconnecting from things/mind always active so I guess this is a possibility, but could it be caused or perpetuated by something like lack of B12 etc. I would have expected the symptoms to subside after having time off if it was this by itself.
Sorry for such a long post. Would appreciate anyone's suggestions or comments.
It does sound like it could be ME/CFS, especially with regards to your reaction to exercise. The main symptom of ME/CFS is Post-Exertional Malaise, which basically means you feel you get hit with the flu a day or two after exercising. It can last days or weeks.
One thing you could try is being taking it VERY easy for a week or two - skip the workouts, just take care of the basics. If it's ME/CFS, then avoiding exertion should improve how you're feeling a bit. Also, laying down frequently can help, since Orthostatic Intolerance is another common symptom.
Regarding B12, you can get it over the counter (or online). I'm fond of high dose sublingual hydroxyB12, as it helps with my muscle pain quite a bit, as well as the OI. Also Omega 3 Fish Oil (high EPA and DHA) helps reduce inflammation and might get rid of headaches and improve brain fog symptoms.
Cortisol testing is pretty reliable, and there are "real" diagnoses available, not just borderline ones like adrenal fatigue. If worried about hypoglycemia, blood glucose monitors are dirt cheap, especially if you're just testing once in a while and don't need to buy a ton of needles and such.
Your feeling of "light headedness" does sound like it might be a form of Orthostatic Intolerance. It can also cause feelings of anxiety if you're upright too long, especially when sitting down isn't an option (like at the supermarket). You can test for one form (NMH) with a blood pressure monitor, and see if your BP drops or narrows a lot after standing still for 20-30 minutes. Another form of OI (POTS) will show up on a heart rate monitor immediately after standing up - heart rate would increase by 30bpm or more.
Thank you for your response Valentijn. I had an MRI which hasn't shown anything, so I am going to be referred to a neurologist (the feeling in my head isn't so much light headedness, rather a light moving pressure which makes it difficult to think clearly and seems to exhaust me). Will look into your suggestions.