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Bloating/Fatigue: Diet or Infection?

I’ve been suffering from bloating and fatigue for almost 3 weeks. I’ve been trying to pin it down to diet or infection, but so far I am stymied. It’s damaging my training, as I am pretty wiped out trying to do even a standard ride; I was forced to skip the Devil Mountain Double Century this year; it was hopeless. It’s really frustrating being in peak condition but unable to train much at all.

I’ve tracked my food intake for years (to the gram), and yet I can’t seem to pin down any specific cause. At present I have eliminated wheat, peanuts, licorice and red wine (for sulfites) but as that does not seem to help. I suspect an infectious cause, presumably viral. My doctor had little to add to my own analysis.

While bloating and fluid gain are clearly involved, so is fatigue and there is nothing unusual to note (stool or otherwise, including poster-child perfect lab results on every metric for an annual physical). A little stuffiness (seasonal allergies, seems minor), slightly headache at times, and just generally fatigue, generally setting in around 3PM. Adequate sleep too. I am just hoping it goes away soon and doesn’t cost me any more training time at a key part of the season.

Update May 13

Saw two internists and an allergist. Allergist says turbinates swollen, so nasal spray and steroid sinus rinse applied for 4-5 days. A little clearer up there, no change in energy, but head seems clearer (sense of pressure mostly gone). Taking Amoxicillin for 5-6 days now from internist as precaution. Energy remains low, cannot handle average ride without pooping out. Riding every 3rd day, weaker than after a double century finish.

Physical exam with blood work makes me out as a poster child for perfect health in spite of all this. EKG normal, blood pressure normal, HR normal resting as low as 41, though +10 beats or so higher on “high fatigue days”. So no metrics to point to anything.

I’ve cut wheat, peanuts and licorice out of my diet (to rule out any suspects in the bloating thing). Ironically now that I’m not training more than fractionally, my weight is hitting new lows. Something seasonal there every year I guess.

The chest ache— about a decade ago, my left lung was damaged (maybe scarred) from pneumonia (I still remember doctor’s words were “a big ball of puss”). To this day, bugs like to camp out there. My main symptom now aside from the fatigue is a dull general ache at left of chest, right in that troubled area, with pain extending all the way up to my left collarbone at times. Not too overt, but steady and unrelenting. I suspect a low level infection down there, even if my lung function tests as normal (tested), since I sense a slight crunchiness down there under full exhalation. Might have to get an X-Ray or CT scan, but wouldn’t a lung infection be more prominent? Dunno. Just about out of hope of doing Four Horsemen of the Solstice as the detraining continues.

Update May 16

See Right Maxillary Sinusitus.

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