What really is a "flare"??

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cpaarchie
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 102
   Posted 5/18/2008 8:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Ok, really dumb question.  Can someone really define a "flare"?  Is it simply the time when you're not in "remission"?  If so.... what is "remission"?  Is that actually a period in which you have NO symptoms of the disease whatsoever?

Only had UC since November, and I've already had my share of ups & downs, good days and bad... just not sure I know what officially constitutes a "flare".
 
Thanks

jujub
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 5/18/2008 9:38 PM (GMT -6)   
There are no stupid questions here, we all have had to learn about this disease many of us hadn't even heard of until we got it. A flare is when your colon has inflammation, with or without ulcers. Remission is when there are no ulcers and no inflammation. Technically, in remission there should be no symptoms, but a lot of us have our own definitions of remission. For instance, I think I'll never be back to one BM a day. But with no blood, no diarrhea and very rare urgency, I consider myself in remission.

Feel free to ask any questions you have, we've all asked our share of newby questions in our day.
Judy
 
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Asacol, Rowasa, Pentasa, Prednisone, Entocort, Azathioprine
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from steroid therapy.
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
 
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.


Pooie1981
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 274
   Posted 5/18/2008 9:44 PM (GMT -6)   
First of all.. there are no "dumb" questions in here !! Second.. I have been waiting for an actual definition of a "flare" too!! Honestly tho I think flares are different for different people.. the same as some foods bother people that don't bother other people.
I was diagnosed in 2004 after having mild abdominal cramps. I was tested for all sorts of things until I finally had the colonoscopy done and then BAM.. UC !! I had been in remission <no symptoms at all> until March of this year.

For me.. this is my first "flare." And I don't think it is a severe flare as I have read some pretty nasty things on here and have not experienced them myself.. yet. Right now... my personal "flare" is having unrelenting abdominal cramps on my right side. When the pains were really bad <about 3 weeks> I was pretty much confined to my bed. The pains went right thru to my back and some nights my legs were even aching. At this time I was also experiencing severe joint pains <in my toes, ankles, knees, wrists and fingers>. I was probably having bowel movements twice a day and they were loose and sometimes thin like a pencil. I had to sleep ALOT too... it was like my whole body was just exhausted. Some mornings I couldn't even left my arms. These symptoms all lasted until around the first week of May. Now... I have gotten my energy back and the sulfa has helped with the joint pain but I STILL have the pain in my right side. The pain is moving upwards it seems and changes to a "stinging" pain rather than a "crampy" pain as it gets higher up. Instead of having a bm twice a day I am now only going once every few days.. one extreme to the other... I have "urges" to go all the time which is really annoying...

So there ya have it.. a complete account of my first mild "flare." As I said.. there are ppl on here that spend almost their entire days on the toilet.. my heart goes out to them...

Good luck, keep well !!
Jenn 26/female
Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosed May 2004
Sulfasalazine 500MG 4 times per day
Daily Vitamin for Women and Folic Acid


puffed rice
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 495
   Posted 5/18/2008 9:51 PM (GMT -6)   
I agree with Judilyn, remission is different to everyone.  I am the same as Judilyn I will  never be back to one BM a day now its about 3 every morning but with no blood, mucus, fevers, weight loss and aches and pains so I  consider myself in remission,for  about a year and Half.  I still cannot hold it like normal people for hours when I have to go  but I do have more control when I'm not flaring at least I can make it to the washroom.  Once you've had UC for a while you will know exactly when your in remission and when your not. 

Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 1995
Salofalk Tablets , salofalk suppositories or cortifoam nightly
Bio-K Probiotic daily
multivitamin
metamucil nightly


Pooie1981
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 274
   Posted 5/18/2008 9:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Puffed Rice.... I have to agree with you on the part about when you have the disease for a long period of time you begin to know what's what. I don't think I have even had UC long enough to know what it is truly capable of. Reading some other posts on here makes me cringe sometimes. I truly envy those of you who have severe flares with the uncontrollable trips to the bathroom. You guys make me feel like a wimp sometimes !! LOL !! I mean, all I have is uncomfortable cramping, joint pain and fatigue and I have been home from work <I work at a restaurant.. if I had an office sit-on-my-butt type of job I'd probably be there> ... whereas I think some of you would classify my symptoms as remission compared to what you deal with in flare!!!
Jenn 26/female
Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosed May 2004
Sulfasalazine 500MG 4 times per day
Daily Vitamin for Women and Folic Acid


cpaarchie
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 102
   Posted 5/19/2008 6:16 PM (GMT -6)   

Thank you all for your replies.... very helpful information, although I'm not really sure I'm technically in a "flare" or in "remission".  For as long as I can remember, I would have 2-3 BMs a day.  My problems all started last October when I started having blood and mucous.  I did get to a point where I'd go 7-10 times a day, until I was diagnosed and put on Prednisone for 6 weeks, 9 Colazal a day.  I've been on the Colazal ever since, off Prednisone since late December 2007.

The past couple of months, I've had more "urgency" and days here and there where I go 4-5 times.  Seems a bit more loose and watery too.  2-3 really seems to be the norm for me, as I mentioned, I've had active bowels for as long as I can remember (maybe I've had UC for longer than I think?!?!? - not sure on that one).

Anyways.... I 'believe', based upon my condition, I'm in a "flare", although I'm still just struggling with what is to be considered "normal" anymore.  I mean, is it unreasonable to expect to have days/months/etc. where I have NO symptoms whatsoever?

Thanks again everyone for your comments... I'm already finding this website incredibly helpful for me as I struggle to cope with this disease.


- Diagnosed with moderate left-sided colitis - November 2007
- Colazal 3 (3 times daily)
- Probiotic


happyliving
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 166
   Posted 5/19/2008 6:25 PM (GMT -6)   
H cpaarchie,

When you are flaring what dosages of Pred you are taking for 6 weeks?
Right now my UC is flaring and my doc kept me at 20mg and tapering down 5mg every 10days.
Just want to know what dosages kept your UC under control.
Your reply would be helpful for me

Thanks in advance

cpaarchie
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 102
   Posted 5/19/2008 6:42 PM (GMT -6)   

Ok, not to sound like an idiot, but I'm not really sure.  I started by taking 4 pills the first week (maybe 40 mg?), 3 the next, then reduced by 1/2 pill each week over the remaining term.

I was having alot of bleeding and the first day on prednisone it was fine.  As I mentioned, I've been off the prednisone since the end of 2007 and have not had any bleeding... just more frequent "urges" and more watery stools. 


- Diagnosed with moderate left-sided colitis - November 2007
- Colazal 3 (3 times daily)
- Probiotic


happyliving
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 166
   Posted 5/19/2008 6:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi cpaarchie,

Thanks !! for your prompt response..

jujub
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 5/19/2008 10:47 PM (GMT -6)   
If you're having a lot of urgency and watery stools, you have inflammation and are flaring. Not all flares are the same, they can be fairly mild or terribly horrendous, depending on the degree of inflammation.
Judy
 
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Asacol, Rowasa, Pentasa, Prednisone, Entocort, Azathioprine
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from steroid therapy.
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
 
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.


cpaarchie
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 102
   Posted 5/20/2008 2:09 PM (GMT -6)   
So I guess the next basic question then..... what to do while I'm in this "flare"?  Again, no blood, not more the 4-5 stools a day.  Its actually more solid now that I'm taking 2 probiotics a day, and the urgency is not as bad.  I have no interest in going back on prednisone..... am I just supposed to wait it out?

Again, when I talked to my doctor a couple months ago - was having the similar symptoms at the time, he simply said, "give it a couple months".  Otherwise, he said we could try some things "I would not like".
 
Long story short, I ended up having a little medical "emergency" back in Feburary - my lung collapsed (spontaneous pneumothorax) and I had to have surgery for that.  Then... I was on heavy pain meds and popping Ibuprofin like they were skittles for close to a month, before this "flare" started acting up.  I'm not taking Ibuprofin anymore but am thinking that medical situation, along with the added stress from it have contributed to this mild flare I'm currently in.
 
Thank you all again for your comments!
 
- Diagnosed with moderate left-sided colitis - November 2007
- Colazal 3 (3 times daily)
- Probiotic


jujub
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 5/20/2008 5:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Pressure and urgency = rectal inflammation. The treatment for this is rectal meds - mesalamine or steroid enemas or suppositories. Call your doctor again. And lay off the Ibuprofen and all other NSAIDS, they can cause GI bleeding in healthy people, and can really throw our colons into a tailspin.
Judy
 
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Asacol, Rowasa, Pentasa, Prednisone, Entocort, Azathioprine
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from steroid therapy.
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
 
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.

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