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  • Post-meal fatigue

    Posted by Wendy Dirks on January 15, 2020 at 6:19 am

    Hello, friends – me again!

    I’m very frustrated again (seems to be my usual state lately) for two reasons. First, my cleaner turned up with a cold and I sent her home. No matter how frequently I tell people to 1) stay away from me when they’re ill and 2) stay away from me when they’re wearing perfume – nothing seems to make them remember. Ugh!

    But my question for you folks is about fatigue after eating. I have spent most of the last two days asleep and hoped to feel a little more lively today but I’m ready to go back to bed already after being up for three hours. I know that loss of appetite is common in PF and I’ve noticed mine diminishing over time – although it has had no effect on my weight. At the same time, I’ve noticed that after a meal – even a small one – I feel incredibly sleepy and often have to go to bed. Is this common? Is it the oxygen required for digestion? I know most people feel sleepy after a big meal, but I feel sleepy after very small ones. Everyone tells me just to go to sleep when I’m sleepy but I’m starting to feel like Rip van Winkle!

    Wendy Dirks replied 4 years, 5 months ago 9 Members · 14 Replies
  • 14 Replies
  • Susan Howitt

    January 15, 2020 at 8:50 am



    I think you are right as after eating oxygen is required for digestion and if you are not on supplemental oxygen this could be your answer.

    You are so right about people and colds etc, have the same problem,  makes me so mad when they say *but it is just a simple cold* for them maybe but for me it is a matter of life and death  Had some one the other week, turn up, they seemed fine so let them in, as they were leaving they happily told me that they thought they might have the beginnings of the fluey type virus that is doing the rounds here.  Did get the beginnings of it, pulled so many muscles coughing and vomiting but it never got to the really bad stages mainly thanks to  taking huge doses of steroids and antibiotic, thanks doc. Do hope the cold doesn’t get you.  If in the slightest doubt double your steroids for a week  if on them.

  • Fred Schick

    January 16, 2020 at 11:33 am

    I have found that eating only small meals, and more frequently, helps.  If I do eat a large meal, not only am I uncomfortable but also do not sleep well.  My weight loss has been minimal but significant when viewed over a three year period.  Everyone is different so do what works for you,


  • Mark Koziol

    January 16, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    Hello Fred, I agree with you. I believe small healthy meals throughout the day has more benefits for a person who has been transplanted or currently suffering from pf. I used this method pre-transplant to lose weight and still use this method. Currently, if I eat too much in one sitting I feel pressure placed on my diaphragm which in turn effects my breathing when I walk. This method also worked for me when I was using Ofev. It led to less gastro problems for me. Take care, Mark


  • Wendy Dirks

    January 16, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    Oh, Susan – I really feel for you! I think I’m okay as after the cleaner left my husband went around and wiped everything down, door handles, etc. People don’t mean to be thoughtless – but they are!!!

  • Wendy Dirks

    January 16, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks, Fred – that makes sense. I don’t usually eat large meals any more anyway – I can’t. I follow what’s called “intuitive eating,” which is a way of reconnecting with our bodies and eating when hungry and stopping when full. I get full quite easily nowadays, and I’ve noticed I eat a lot less than I used to. Making sure I’m eating healthy meals would be a good way to stay on top of this too.

  • Karen Martin

    January 16, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    There has been discussion in our Better Breathers Group about how much CO2 certain foods create, too, which might be part of the problem you are having.  It also interferes with how much oxygen is getting to your body.  Karen

  • Wendy Dirks

    January 16, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    That’s an interesting thought, Karen, thanks!

  • Nan

    January 16, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    I can relate, m oxygen sats are lower while eating and even after. Just resting on the couch after a meal it drops. I try to eat small meals which helps but i want to eat more, its a conundrum.  I do feel tired after evening meal, very tired, no so much after lunch but it does take energy to eat and to digest so makes sense. All the best!

  • Charlene Marshall

    January 16, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    Hi Wendy,

    So nice to hear from you, thanks for writing and starting this topic for us. This is a good one, and unfortunately something that many of us can relate to I think. I know my co-columnist Mark finds that smaller meals work better for him, to avoid feeling unwell and fatigued after eating. I’m finding (especially since being sick) this is what works best for me too! It also significantly depends on the type of food I eat, how I feel afterwards…which does make a lot of sense in hindsight. Not eating too much allows me to maintain a bit more energy, and then nutrient-rich foods are helpful too. Anything with processed carbs in them – typically I stay away from anyways, plus sugar – leave me feeling very sluggish. I know sometimes people don’t want to limit their food choices, and I completely understand/respect that. However, these are some of the things that do help reduce the fatigue after meals for me 🙂


  • Noah Greenspan

    January 21, 2020 at 10:54 am
  • Charlene Marshall

    January 21, 2020 at 11:01 am

    Thank you for sharing this @noah-greenspan !

    Tagging the lovely members of our forums who were inquiring about this so they can see this response too. Enjoy your day and thanks for chiming in with this information.

    @wendy-dirks @reglois @casey @nanm


  • Jane McBride

    January 21, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Fred and Wendy,

    I find smaller meals helps with fatigue as well. The only draw back is balancing the meals and the Ofev dosage, which requires a “full meal” according to the instructions (has a similar problem with previous meds). Found I can balance both smaller meals and stave off some of the side effects of Ofev at the same time but it takes practice and time spent ‘noticing’ what to eat which was difficult for me. I think it will work for most people but will require trial and error for an individual balance. For example, I am allergic to fish but a friend with IPF finds baked or grilled fish works well. Too many vegetables seems to increase the most annoying side effect for me, yet vegies are supposed to be the healthy eating regime. May I suggest, if the digestive side effects of Ofev are a concern, time and effort spent constructing small meals that are acceptable to your system are well worth the effort.


  • Wendy Dirks

    January 25, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Jane. I’m not taking Ofev so I’m not suffering any side effects but small meals are definitely part of my life now!


  • Wendy Dirks

    January 25, 2020 at 4:29 pm



    Thanks for this, Noah and Charlene! I have read this chapter and it has lots of common sense tips for good nutrition. I do have a couple of questions that have arisen this week while my health care team try to get my new ambulatory oxygen at the right flow with the lightest possible cylinder. Back for more walk tests on Monday!

    The nurse told me that people with COPD have to worry about a buildup of carbon dioxide in their blood from getting too much oxygen but that people with my illness don’t need to worry. I’m assuming that’s because COPD is an obstructive disease and people are unable to empty their lungs properly. Pulmonary fibrosis, however, is a restrictive disease and we are unable to fill up our lungs completely when we inhale. If this is the case, is the dietary advice about CO2 more relevant for people with COPD than people with PF? It would seem to me that we don’t have to worry about it as much. To be honest, the only time I ever crave carbohydrates is at breakfast. I have my one cup of coffee for the day and I have to have something high in carbs with it – a muffin, bagel, toast – something like that. I feel energised afterward. The rest of the day, protein and veggies are all I need.


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