New to Forum - 2nd Major Flare in 10 Years - Ouch - Smoking?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 49
   Posted 3/9/2010 4:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello All,
I am new to this forum, and have been reading it for a few weeks! Thanks, it has been a great help, and I am posting here for the first time. My first question is if anybody had a flare or initial diagnosis after quitting cigarettes? That's been my experience... weird.

By way of introduction, I was diagnosed 10 years ago at the age of 39, had an episode that lasted 10 months of stomach pain & extreme fatigue, fistulas, joint pain, swollen intestines. Treated with Remicade Pred, Asacol, maybe some other stuff. It finally cleared - the fatigue was the last to go, and I resumed life. Since, then, just some minor stuff, usually cleared in a month or two. Got a life!

Since December, (Christmas Eve- boo hoo) I am in 2nd major flare -- started with joint pain (couldn't move my back, couldn't walk). I thought I pulled my back & went to chiro. Within a month, the swelling moved to my ankles, and I ended up on crutches, and that's when I knew it was Crohn's. I had been having terrible stomach pains, but I thought it was due to giving up smoking (which I did in Sept). That always gives me a flare to the intestines, don't know why. (Yes, I have quit a million times, so I know from experience that it upsets my intestines, nobody knows why). Anyway, since mid January, been on pred, Lialda, Flagyl, Cipro, fish oil, probiotics, oxycodone. We had to up the prednisone to 50mg /day. Makes me crazy. Missed 1-2 days work all month in Jan, then in Feb, had to go to half days. Now am working 2/3 of the day (8-3). Trying really hard, but no progess healthwise. Fistula is my worst problem. It is R-V, and I leak all day long. It is really demoralizing.... I am being tested for bloodwork & TB test to see if I can use Humira. Now trying to coordinate with insurance co / doctor to get the humira approved. Kind of scared of it, but willing to try!

I feel like a mess physically with fatigue & discomfort (on a good day), and emotionally, the fistula is messing with my head. 49 yrs old & diapers (maxi-pad, but when I want to go to my pity party, I say "diaper" to myself). Anyway, I am going with the one day at a time maxim, and have found these forums to be a great help in trying to maintain some mental stability here, worrying about work (how long will they continue to put up with me) / health (how long till I can reclaim some life in my life).

Tried fish diet (omega 3), now buying a juicer. I feel like I am doing any thing I read... need to give it all time, and of course stick to the meds, and keep my head on straight.
That's my crohn's history... and thanks for this forum!

on Lialda, prednisone, flagyl, cipro, fish oil

artist guy
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 1373
   Posted 3/9/2010 5:30 PM (GMT -7)   
this is really weird, I am 59 i have had cd since 1970, that year 3 major surgeries, then surgically induced remission until 1988, no med's just the occasional pain med when i would have gas blockage (I call them that). 1989 major surgery agian for bloockage in small intestine. now I'll back track a little i was a horse jockey from 1970 until 1991. i smoked cig's, I always had to reduce (weight) so smokeing I thought kept my hands busy and i wouldn't eat, plus racing was super dangerous and very stressful so a lot of jockeys smoked back then, so now 1991 i was injiured out. Broken neck and I thought OK no riding I'm going to quit smoking, which i did no problem, I wanted to quit, within 3 months of quitting i started to flare in my esophogus and throat and canker sores in my mouth and on my tongue. i never put 2 and 2 together dr's back then figuered It wasn't cd, i was treated for herpes in chest for years, not until 5 years ago that a really good gi said that is a cd issue, and now my new gi said you bet it is, it has gotten worse every year, pred, and imuran now but it is probably the pred that keeps my throat and mouth area flared down, but yea smoking is definately the trigger when i quit, powerful mental stuff that smoking is, i don't believe it was the quitting the nicotine, i think it was the act of smoking, it is a huge stress release, smoking is. i have a friend who has teribble lung issues from smoking and i know if she quits she would have a heart attack. my thoughts

one other thing i want to say i had a 6 tooth bridge in my front teeth, so 2 front teeth were pulled then the bridge, but I chewed my finger nails all my life, after the bridge i couldn't chew my nails anymore, and I flared bad. sorry about the length but it all correlates

artist guy

Post Edited (artist guy) : 3/9/2010 5:36:29 PM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 49
   Posted 3/9/2010 6:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Interesting experience you had with the smoking factor, I found one post on here about others who were diagnosed after quitting smoking. I was really happy to be free of the cigarettes and didn't feel stressed about it. I liked the freedom. But it's just weird looking at my CD, it has always occurred (greater or lesser episodes) after quitting smoking. I made 10 months one time smoke free, then went back to smoking and CD did go into remission too. I will never know if it's related (doctor says it's not). I don't know if stess can bring on CD.... my doctor says no. I read that UC flares when giving up nicotine.

Either way, now my focus is on trying to regain some health / energy. This Crohn's has really got me down at the moment, and just trying to work, and take care of myself seems so tiring. 10 years ago, when diagnosed, I had a 15 year old daugher to look after too (single mom) and that was way harder to keep it together. Now, she is helping me. I am grateful for that, she is as supportive as she can be. Sorry for whiny post.... I feel overwhelmed today, but hope & trust that better days will come.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 222
   Posted 3/10/2010 3:44 AM (GMT -7)   
I still smoke, although I know I shouldn't, as every time I have tried to give up I start flaring back up again and am scared to quit completely because of this. I know that one day I will be forced to give up, but how many crohnies do actually still smoke because of this???
I also have no will power when it comes to giving up, I might have to try and do it cold turkey again, but I must admit I enjoy my cigarette and I think I would rather smoke than to have one big flare after another , although I know as well that smoking doesnt help with getting flares in the first place!!
Michelle 40 years old
Diagnosed with CD 2004 (undiagnosed correctly +- 3 years, wrongly diagnosed with IBS)
Bowel resection 2005
medication: pentasa 500mg , Co-codomol 500mg/32mg codeine
loperamide 2mg (prn - take as many as 10-20 a day)
calcium tablets, multivitamin tablets, Omega 3
Ferrous sulphate(anaemia)
levothyroxine (thyroid)
questran light (3 sachets/day), 3 monthly B12 Injections

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 166
   Posted 3/10/2010 4:12 AM (GMT -7)   
I had quit smoking for two years and then diagnosed with crohn's at the age of 44. I started back about 5-6 mos after diagnosis. For me it just takes too much energy to quit and these past 7 yrs with crohns have been a full time job
diagnosed 13 days following an MMR vaccination at the age of 44
tried Colazal, Pentasa, Immuran, Remicade, Prednisone, Cipro, Flagyl, LDN, Osiris clinical study,  accupuncture, began Cimzia 5/2009

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 49
   Posted 3/10/2010 5:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Crohn's first started 7 months after quitting smoking cold turkey in 2000. I stayed smoke free for 8 more months (total of 15 months off cigs). At that point, I was so miserable, couldn't eat, sick all the time, gut pain, fatigue, diarrhea, that I caved in to "comfort" of a cig. Lo & behold, within a month, I was able to ride in the car w/o worrying about bathrooms. Go to work, etc.

SInce that time, I have managed to quit smoking for periods from 1-5 months. Each time, I flare and then get back on track with drugs & I start smoking again. This time, I wanted to hold out and not smoke, and made 5 months w/o smoking. Problem is, I can't do anything! This flare is my worst yet, and I started smoking (feel stupid about it). Everyone says it's my stress, but I feel like that makes me some sort of weakling. It wasn't stress. I was HAPPY smoke free. I was unhappy with the crazy Crohn's symptoms though. So I made the decision to smoke again. My co-workers, family, & doctor all think I'm crazy. Of course, nothing has changed yet, still on meds, still trying to stay ahead of the symptoms.

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 3/10/2010 7:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, I had a terrible flare up after quitting smoking. I only smoked about 10 cigarettes a day.
I stopped smoking in August 2008. By the end of September 2008 I was in the midst of the worst flare up I had ever experienced.
It took several courses of pred and finally switching to Humira to finally bring it under control.
I am well now and SO happy I stopped smoking. I am sure in the long run it was a wise decision.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 3/10/2010 7:28 AM (GMT -7)   
I quit cold turkey after smoking for 29 years about 10 yrs ago. I will tell you that things Crohnswise got worse for a bit, but slowly improved after awhile. I think maybe for some of us smoking is our turn to comfort thing when we are stressed and without it we experience more stress and maybe that triggers the Crohns in some way. I say stay smoke free if you can, it is much healthier for you. Smoking is a known trigger for Crohns. I think you just need to allow your body to adapt to the change. Isn't it wierd that smoking helps those with UC but not Crohns??? Good luck!! (JMHO)
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"*

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 3/11/2010 6:57 PM (GMT -7)   

I started smoking when I was 12 and was diagnosed with crohn's last year and my doc had been breathing down my neck to quit since Diagnosis. so I caved 2 weeks ago, and my boyfriend and I quit (smoker for 8 years, currently 20 y/o) and the next day i flared. I am having the worst flare yet, and am having a hard time! however I refuse to cave after seeing how proud my doc and parents were of me!!! however, I cheat :P and have one smoke a day but NO more! and I think going from 25 king sized cigarettes a day to one regular is a pretty big accomplishment!!!!

I actually JUST had my TB test (both under skin and chest x-ray) and blood test done 4 days ago to go on humira and am also waiting for the authorization from my drug plan. I am nervous as well, I just can't see myself giving me a needle.... I'm VERY frightened of needles, but the doctor says I can get my boyfriend to come in and learn how to do it (of course I'll learn too) and he can give me the injection instead.

My best advice, keep up the hard work (you seem to be doing so well with quitting, but then you go back) and don't give up!!!! I think humira will be a good idea, and I've done a lot of research on it and it seems relatively safe. I think we'll be ok!!!! :)


artist guy
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 1373
   Posted 3/11/2010 8:27 PM (GMT -7)   
I'll say this about smoking, I know it probably didn't help in when i quit to start flareing, but I wouldn't change a thing i'm so glad that I quit, the ramafications on our health the smoking does is far more than having cd flare up, i think the nature of the disease would have done what it is going to do regardless of not smoking or smoking, I'm so glad i quit smoking for my daughter, she grew up without any smoke, ever, so I'm proud of that

artist guy

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