What is a flare?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 73
   Posted 12/17/2008 4:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi all!
I'm fairly new to this forum and have only posted a handful of times. While I have not been officially diagnosed with Crohn's, I have Ileitis with a possibility of Crohn's (should know by next colonoscopy). My only experience with diarrhea is what I was dealing with when I was having what I believe was a horrible reaction to artificial sweeteners. The diar. stopped as soon as I stopped using the sweeteners and that's been quite a while (mid-August). I am weaning off Entocort because we want to TTC baby #2. I am concerned that I won't recognize the symptoms of a flare if I have one when I go off the meds. Since I'm not sure I've ever experienced a flare, I don't know what to look for as far as signs of trouble. Can you describe what you consider a "flare"?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 12/17/2008 4:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Constant D, blood(depending on the person) in stool, abdominal pain, fatigue, just a general unwell feeling. It varies from person to person though..I'm sure other members will be along to help more, and I recommend looking on mayoclinic.com for information on different illnesses and symptoms as well as complications that arise. It's a pretty helpful source. Not as much as this place though...
20 years old, Diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's and Colitis in May of 2008.
Currently taking:
Prednisone 30 mg, pentasa 2 pills 4x a day, bentyl as needed, prilosec in the morning, tandem plus, humira every other week, and good probiotics.
Surgery for ectopic pregnancy most likely the result of severe Crohn's inflammation in July of 2008.
Attempting the specific carbohydrate diet. Cheated once for Christmas.

"He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how."

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 12/17/2008 5:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Although everybody's flare symptoms seem to vary, the basic requirement is that you feel much, much worse than you usually do. The disease seems to be active--or more active--than usual, with joint pain, fatigue, diarrhea or constipation, bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, butt irritation or worse (like painful fissures or abscesses), etc. After a while, you can recognize your own particular variant of flare. It's when you wake up in worse shape than you went to bed, saying, "Oh, man, I just feel plain awful today." Flares can last for a day or indefinitely. The one thing everyone can agree on is that they're no fun whatsoever.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 12/18/2008 7:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Well I respectfully disagree with Nawlinscate that a flare lasts for one day. I believe we have bad days occasionally usually from eating the wrong thing or not enough rest. But a true flare is something that takes more drastic measures to get undercontrol. You have an increase in symptoms i.e. more d, joint pain, fatigue and general feelings of unwellness. I always allow myself to go at least a week before I call the doc, just to make sure that its not just a bug I picked up, or something in my diet not agreeing with me. If it continues more than a week and continues to get worse, then I know its a Crohns flare.

We Crohnies will always have a bad day here and there, but when it lasts for a more prolonged time frame, I believe that is what you can consider a flare.

Good luck,
Gail *Nanners*
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis. Currently my Crohns is in remission.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1169
   Posted 12/18/2008 8:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Nanners, like everything else with this disease, it varies from person to person. I tend to have miniflares lasting a few hours to a day or two, then slide back into stable bowel habits. Sometimes I can trace them to something I ate, sometimes not. Bu I agree that the classic and more common definition of a flare is increased disease activity and symptoms over a more extended period, which can range from days or a week or more to months, depending on the patient, meds, etc. One thing you learn reading the posts here over time is that Crohns can range from a 1 (minimal disease, no complications) all the way up to a 10 (almost constant flaring, little or no response to medications, extensive complications and surgery) depending on individual. So basically a flare to me is anything beyond normal stool habits and a feeling of general well being.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 192
   Posted 12/18/2008 8:28 AM (GMT -7)   
I agree a flare is a general state of not feeling well. For me, some days are horrible where I am in bed all day, nauseous with vomiting and/or d and stomach pain; while other days are just d/nausea/pain when I eat and for hours after eating.
Diagnosed with Crohn's Disease; Meds: Entocort & Asacol; female in late 20s.

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 12/18/2008 11:36 AM (GMT -7)   
Yup, it's true nanners, I was told by 3 GI's over the yrs that IBD flares can last anywhere from a day to yrs, same with remission...sounds crazy but I think they say this because there is still not enough understanding of IBD.

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

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 12/18/2008 12:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Pink,

I'm currently involved in my 2nd flare. For me, it involves blood in my stools, then it advances to just blood. I get nausea, severe cramping, lower back pain (basically my entire equator hurts), and the urge to go comes out of nowhere. I'll feel like I need to have a BM really bad, and all that comes out is a little blood/mucus.
Rachael - 24 years old, diagnosed with CD in Dec. of 2004.

Currently on 40 mg of Prednisone, Lialda, and Azathioprine.

I thank God every day for an amazing support network of family, my boyfriend who has been there since the beginning, and my amazing friends who never waver.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 497
   Posted 12/18/2008 6:46 PM (GMT -7)   

I have had what I guess are full on flares, where the entire flare follows a pattern.  I have also had mini flares that are very short--these do not always follow a pattern.  I have also had varying degrees of flares where symptoms of one flare are not as painful or severe as another. What makes these different, I have no idea.  Sometimes, I won't recognize I am in a flare until the symptoms get worse, if that makes sense.

I think over time you learn what your flares are and it kind of comes together.  It took me a couple of hard flares to discover the pattern.  This last flare I have been in has been different, but I am REALLY hoping it is because I got started on Remicade and that it is working!

I agree with Mike that this disease is different for everyone.  There are also so many different symptoms and things that can happen with Crohn's that it can really throw you for a loop. 

Best of luck with your health and baby #2!   :-)   

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 195
   Posted 12/18/2008 9:27 PM (GMT -7)   
I've basically been in a flare for 5 years. Nothing seems to help except for a few days, and then it just picks up where it left off. I feel like I've been beat up.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 73
   Posted 12/19/2008 4:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks so much to everyone! I really appreciate all of your responses. I definitely know what to watch out for now!
The members of this forum are a huge wealth of information. I love this place!
Happy Holidays!
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