What is a flare?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 2/26/2008 7:40 PM (GMT -7)   
I have mild crohns at the T.I. w/some narrowing, inflammation and ulcer. Have just started for the first time, a short round of pred. and also Asacol for an indefinate amount of time. My bloodwork is fine.
What are some of the symptoms of a flare up?
Is there such a thing as a mild flare and what symptoms might you have?
There are times that I just dont feel well. Tired, headache, sluggish bowels, nauseated,  bloating and sweats but it normally stops after a day or two. Is this a flare? I had these symptoms before I started meds so I know its not caused by them.
Any guidance would be appreciated,

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 298
   Posted 2/26/2008 8:33 PM (GMT -7)   
When I flare I start pooing blood and have gut wrenching, toe-curling, uncontrollable pain when having a bowel movement. I don't mean to sound gross, but basically I would "pee out of my butt." I know it sounds gross and I'm sorry for the description, but a flare (for me anyway) usually involves pooing blood 10-15 times a day, terrible abdominal pains right before pooing and worse when pooing (but then goes away afterwards). I even got so bad I started having little "accidents."

I am now going through a mild flare in which I poo a little bit of blood (but still have the abdominal cramps). My poo is sometimes formed and sometimes like shredded wheat.

I never flare while on prednisone, it usually happens about 3-5 weeks after tapering of the 'roids. I often get fatigued but have found that forcing myself to exercise (even if it is only for 15-30 minutes) has helped me immensely and I don't get fatigued nearly as often now. I would say if you're not seeing blood in your poo your prob not flaring...but that is based solely on my experience (I've been battling w/ severe CD for the past two years). Hope this helps!

-Emma =-)~
Battling w/ CD for 2 years...
Osteopenia in the spine caused by prednisone
Currently on Remicade

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 73
   Posted 2/26/2008 9:15 PM (GMT -7)   
I was diagnosed with mild to moderate crohn's back in June of 07, since starting my meds i have seen no blood in my stools but i do believe i still have "flares" which i usually think is the worst of the worst when i am not feeling well. Sometimes i feel tired and crampy and bloated. But i find when i am in what i call my flare i have diarrhea which not nec. liquid but you get the idea. Pains which feel like stabbing prior to going to the bathroon. i am bloated and usually right before i go to the bathroom if its really  bad i feel alittle bit dizzy and then tired after going...and depending on how bad it is it can last a few days to a week.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 845
   Posted 2/26/2008 11:08 PM (GMT -7)   

Not having any blood in your stool is not a sign that you are not in a flare.  While it is very common to have some sort of bleeding during a flare, it is more indicative of having an ulcer or internal hemroid.  Thid disease is a very complicated disease that can rear its' ugly face at any time in a variety of ways.  For some a flare is D. or Constipation, while for others it may be pain, nausea, bleeding, vommiting, or a combination of all of the above.  To me, a flare is when I get to a point where the inflammation of the Crohn's is not being control through my medications, causing many of the above symptoms.

  Unfortunately, this disease is not the same for everyone, so you really have just got to come to an understanding of what a flare is personally for you.  As you become more and more familiar with your body and the way that the reactions that come from the different types of medications, you will come to know what being in a flare is for you.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 2/27/2008 8:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Sometimes things we eat can cause us to feel unwell for a couple of days. I just went thru that earlier this week. If my bowels get slowed down, I will feel nauseous and crampy for a couple of days until things start moving again. And then I start feeling better again. Hope that helps.
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 32 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec 60 mg, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and doing tests to see if I have Inflammatory Arthritis or AS.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1169
   Posted 2/27/2008 8:31 AM (GMT -7)   
A flare is when the symptoms you associate with your specific location, level and severity of disease manifest themselves on some sort of continuous basis -- from hours to days to weeks. Everyone is different with this disease, and thus everyone;s flares vary in symptoms and intensity and duration. about the only think constant about it i that just about all of us experience flares at some point.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 3/2/2008 1:26 PM (GMT -7)   
sharon...thanks for posting the question.  For awhile now I have been wondering if I just don't understand what is considered a "flare-up."  My life is pretty much a daily routine, where I wake up 90% of the time cramping and running to the restroom and then some time in the afternoon the same.  My body tells me, to the minute, when it is time to take my meds.  I see watery blood almost every day.  While once or twice a week, I am okay, the rest of the week, I fluxuate between a few hours feeling alright, then 30 minutes in the bathroom and fighting pain.  Accidents once or twice a month.   I avoid eating out or movies or traveling...
Luckily my boss agreed to let me work from home this past year.  I decided to return to grad school - but going to class is sometimes a problem to the unpredictable nature...  I am getting worried that this disease is going to make teaching an impossibility and maybe I shoudl just stop throwing money away at my teaching certification...
So I have been wondering, is this daily ridiculousness and unpredictable nature of my condition normal...or have I just been in a flare up for over a year? 

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 3/2/2008 3:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply to my post.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 3932
   Posted 3/2/2008 7:36 PM (GMT -7)   

Basically for me, a flare is a return and/or worsening current symptoms. Of course, the arthritis part of my illness flares too, but as for the main IBD part it is quite obvious. I get D, rectal bleeding/mucus, also occult blood on the Hematocrit, tons of LRQ abdominal pain, nausea, loss of appetite. I usually also get some joint pain & maybe a rash. And last time, I had a few really weird things going on..


Mormor Vicky
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 684
   Posted 3/7/2008 11:23 AM (GMT -7)   
This had been a hard question for me too. I've never had bleeding or weight lose. I have learned, even though I'm in remission that I still have what I call "mini-flares". Just days when my stools are watery and I lack energy. Usually lasts a day or two and then I'm okay. I won't call my GI unless it lasts at least a week or other manifestations appear.
Vicky / 48 years old
DX'd with Crohn's during a resection August 2006
DX'd with Steriod induced Diabetes November 2006
Considered in Clinical remission but have minor signs of disease activity
Daughter (27) also has Crohn's since she was 12.
Currently on 4000mg of Pentasa only for Crohn's
No longer able to take 6-MP because of Bone-Marrow Suppression
Cymbalta, Metformin, Lipitor

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 3932
   Posted 3/7/2008 7:41 PM (GMT -7)   

I get those right before I have CD arthritis attacks. I don't know which is worse!


Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 3/7/2008 8:01 PM (GMT -7)   
There are so many varying degrees of a flare it's almost impossible to list them because there are also many extraintestinal symptoms that can go along with flares/having IBD.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it!  LOL  :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 101
   Posted 3/8/2008 8:16 AM (GMT -7)   

This has been great info for me too. SOmetimes I think it is in my head and I need to buck up, then I have severe D and other symptoms and I know it is not in my head.

ElainePearl- Iam a special education teacher and at times it is difficult with the disease it is doable. One thing I am trying to do is work part time. That is still 1-2 years away. I also have small children of my own, but I love my students like my own. I take a lot of sick days and they are still making phenominal progress. I LOVE teaching and I feel blessed that I have a hand in my students succeeding. Please stay in school. There are so many options for teachers to work partial weeks and days and we do get summers off. I don't kinow what you are in school for, but don't let the disease make decisions for you. I am currently in a herendous flare and all I do is work and sleep, but I know it will pass. I have a great husband to help out and this year I am counting down to Spring break.

I hope this helps!


27 year old female dx with CD in 2001. Pentasa 4 g/day, Prednisone 30 mg/day, Amytripaline 25mg/day, Lexapro 20 mg/day, Maxalt 10 mg as needed. Mother of son, 3, and daughter, 6 months.  

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 739
   Posted 3/8/2008 9:22 AM (GMT -7)   
My flares, usually consist of extreme fatigiue...when that happens i usually shoot to the doc b/c i know whats to follow. So i havent really bled in years b/c i know what order everything comes in. As time goes on u'll recognize ur symptoms earlier and earlier

Elaine Pearl! please dont quit school! i have my degree in English w/teaching certification ( i know u probably can't tell by my typing lol). It took me seven years to graduate undergrad, but i did it! and it felt so good to have accomplished that. I actually took my certification test the day after getting out of the hospital for a flare. I figured id just go and see what it was like and low and behold i passed! on my first try! after being totally sick for a month and therefore not studying or n e thing!

I made it thru both of my field experiences, and was even offered a position (of course i was sick at the time and couldnt take it). I'm thinking about going back, i miss the classroom. I just dont want you to give up. Once u have it, nobody can take it away!
25 y/o female- crohns disease since 14
Ileostomy pending-very worried
Tried asacol,pentasa,prednisone,remicade,6mp,azasan, no avail
Seatons placed
Worst year ever!

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear....."
Where does mine come from?!
 Temp Ileostomy performed 1/29/08
Still Adusting
 Healingwell.com has been my Godsend...Thank you

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