What is considered a real Crohn's "Flare"???

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 4/1/2010 2:50 PM (GMT -6)   
I would like to know my fellow Crohnnie's take on this.  Your feedback would be appreciated.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 414
   Posted 4/1/2010 3:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Tough question and everyone will probably have different answers! Depends on the type of Crohn's, what life is like on a day to day basis, what the symptoms are - for most these will probably differ, some may consider themselves to be in a constant kind of flare some may be like me and get periods of pretty much total relief and short bouts of symptoms. And a flare could be mild, moderate, severe............there is so many variables! For me a flare is obvious - usually comes on quick, lots of pain, vomiting and usually require hospitalisation within a week and my bloodtests will be majorly out of whack, luckily I don't flare often.

What A Life
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 116
   Posted 4/1/2010 3:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Well for me personally; I get random stomach pains here and there, like most of us do.... I consider a flare to be when I have these stomach pains for more than a few days... And the pains get worse than what I'm normally used to. Also, I find I don't get as hungry, feel weak and tired; almost as if the flu was coming on at times. (Get chills, etc) I also have abnormal bowel patterns. I normally go about twice a day which is normal for me in remission; however, if I flare it could go up to 5 or more.

A flare differs for many of us I'm sure.. It's the pain that bothers me most; cause when I'm flaring, it makes me curl into a ball.
28 Y/O Male DXed Crohns in 2000.
Fistulotomy/Fistulectomy 2001
Been on many meds including Remicade.
Asacol and Pentasa on a when-needed basis as of recent
Current regimen: Diet and Exercise.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1169
   Posted 4/1/2010 4:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Bloating, cramping, urgent D repeated over a period of time. Since I have a fairly mild case that is usually 4-24 hours. Also malaise and often a low grade fever. As noted your own definition of a flare largely depends on the severity of your disease. Basicall I consider a flare any state where the disease is active on a symptomatic basis and interferes in some way with normal activities.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 3932
   Posted 4/1/2010 7:07 PM (GMT -6)   
For me, it has to be a DRASTIC upswing in symptoms ( And usually with me a new symptom will appear). I get cramping & Red Triangle pain, the Big D, Rectal bleeding, often Fissures, varios rashes, & the lovely joint pain.
I do not consider low level symptoms flares IMHO. Right now, I must have a bit of active inflammation but I'm not flaring. Every vet here should remember how that was, because I was very open about my symptoms the las BIG one in 2004.


Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1284
   Posted 4/1/2010 7:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Like What a Life said... Random pains... I get those every now and then... But I don't consider myself flaring until after a week or so of constant pain and just generally not feeling well...
I think I am being picked on by life, sometimes. But's that okay. Life and I are good buddies... I know life doesn't mean no harm. It just is the way it is. I can accept that.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 383
   Posted 4/1/2010 8:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Mine is an increase in urgency, constantly running to the bathroom with D. I really only have pain when I eat, so I start getting into the mindset that eating=pain so I will eat less and start losing alot of weight. Lately, my joints have been aching more and more which I never had before... Everyone is different and for me, every flare can be different...
Dx'd w/ Crohn's in 1979 at age 14, have had minor flares throughout the years, but mostly kept in remission. Bad flare 2008 but no health insurance so I dealt with it. Colonoscopy in July 2009 caused a perforated colon, emergency bowel resection. Was on Pred. Dr. wants to try Humira...
Currently just take a multivitamin, calcium, magnesium, and fish oil.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 42
   Posted 4/1/2010 9:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I am new to this, But I am sure after reading alot, everyone is different, Which makes me even scratch my head more over this D. Anyways with me, I can describe it as worse then labor pains, ( I say this bc I had my 3 girls natural) and the pain is more intense, or maybe bc there isn't a bundle of joy coming from this pain, IDK. Either way, My stomach cramps real bad, pretty much live in bathroom, with a can in front of me as well.
And I agree with grayeyeblonde since I don't really know what is upsetting mine, I just have the mindset eating = pain, and I get scared to eat bc I never want to feel that pain again.

DX'd with Crohn's 03/31/10, Fibromyalgia 97, IBS around 00, Allergies since birth, amoung other stuff along the way.
42 Female

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1177
   Posted 4/1/2010 9:28 PM (GMT -6)   
For my hubby, it is usually a sudden onset of symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping, blood, urgency, waking up at night to go, and night sweats. He has it really bad - when he flares, it is severe, and early morning starting around 3 am onwards until around 11 am is really bad. He could go 15 times in just that period.

Usually I have to end up taking him to the hospital for at least re-hydration. Thankfully, he doesn't flare too often; when he does though, it's absolutely horrific. It could be because he's also had trouble with c-diff, but it is usually pretty bad for him, poor thing.


Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 4/2/2010 11:15 AM (GMT -6)   
For me it is a the worsening of symptoms that last at least a week or longer. I have bad day(s) here and there and do not consider them as flares. But when things continue longer than a week, thats a sure sign I am flaring.

Tink what you describe sounds more like obstruction pains. Pains that come in waves much like labor pains, is exactly how I describe my obstructions. That and not being able to move air out of either direction, no bowel movements, severe bloating, and then eventual vomiting. So if that happens again, get your butt to the ER. Good luck!
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease & Anxiety/Panic
Crohn's Disease for over 34 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium, Vit D, and Xanax prn. Resections in 2002 & 2005. Also diagnosed w/ Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, & Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 390
   Posted 4/2/2010 11:45 AM (GMT -6)   
I have 3 modes: getting progressively worse, getting progressively better and everyday-well. :)
When I have a flare it usually takes a month or so where I start having symptoms and then it gets really bad really fast.  Then I am sick for however long and that is what I consider a flare.  It's at that point that my dr puts me in the hospital with IV steroids, morphine drip, etc and I am out of work on medical leave, etc.  Usually it takes about 4 months from start to finish and I am back to being well again.
This has happened about 5 times over the past 4 years, there were 2 times I wasn't in the hospital but was too sick to do much of anything so was on bed rest for a couple weeks. 
33 yr old Female
Crohn's Colitis
DX 12/06
Currently on Remicade, Humira, 55 30 mg Prednisone, Multivitamin, Calcium, Probiotics, Vitamin D, a few other herbal supplements my natureopath has me on.
Eating a Macrobiotic diet, no meat or dairy, trying to cut way back on sugar and white foods.  Trying to focus on a more holistic approach to healing. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 3932
   Posted 4/2/2010 7:00 PM (GMT -6)   
    I forgot to add, IMO symptoms need to last longer than a minimum 2-3 weeks. Major Flares last no shorter than 2 months of PURE H***!

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 2480
   Posted 4/2/2010 8:01 PM (GMT -6)   
A flare is when the disease is active.
Flares can have different degrees of symptoms, some worse than others.

artist guy
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 1373
   Posted 4/2/2010 8:39 PM (GMT -6)   
for me I have 2 types of flares. 1 I have narrowing and inflammation where I have had 2 resections, those are gas blockages that can happen when I go off diet or other things that can trigger that part. 2 I now have cd up into my esophogus and throat, mouth,(cankersore) and leasions on my tongue that is in constant flare unless I'm on med's ,i.e. pred. I usually don't have D, but I do go 3-4 times in the a.m. which can cause dumping syndrome, this is why I'm on state disability and have applied for SSDI, I'm 59
artist guy

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 2480
   Posted 4/2/2010 8:42 PM (GMT -6)   
artist, i also get ulcers in my upper gi and mouth. It sucks. I use oracort.
I find acidic foods can set it off or a really bad flare in my TI sometimes too.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 3932
   Posted 4/3/2010 7:16 PM (GMT -6)   
I have read the technical answer to this before:

A sudden return of or worsening of existing symptoms.
But as we all answered, it is different for each person. If you have one fistula that exists for years without other symptoms, well most here wouldn't consider that a flare..


New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 4/6/2010 8:11 PM (GMT -6)   
My Chrohns symptoms are very mild compared to most of you, so my 'flares' probably aren't as serious as some others, but for me....I call it a flare anytime I get more than  3 or 4 days of constant D and stomach pain. During this time my other symptoms (bleeding, tiredness, not wanting to eat, fistulas, etc) will sometimes get worse and sometimes not.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 703
   Posted 4/6/2010 10:51 PM (GMT -6)   
For my GE the line for a serious flare seems to be blood in the D.
Cimzia, Asacol

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