What do you consider a flair up?

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 7/1/2008 9:13 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm just wondering what some of you consider a "flair up"? I'm new to UC, and my UC is not near being under control yet, but my neighbor also has it, and she considers a "flair up" to be some abdominal cramping and maybe one bm of diarrhea. Can it get this good? Right now I go to the bathroom many times a day (10-20), and there is always a lot of blood and mucus. She told me that for a lot of UC sufferers that it can get a lot better, and that a flair up can be quite simple. Is this true? Sounds funny, but I don't want to get my hopes up if this is not the case for most people. Does everyone consider this to be a flair up? And how long does a flair up last?
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis April 2008
Meds: Mezavant, Vital Greens
Status: no change

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5698
   Posted 7/1/2008 9:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Flares come in degrees of severity.  What your neighbor describes is probably a minor flare, your flare sounds moderate, and then severe would land you in a hospital and would include rapid loss of weight, dehydration, possible fevers and vomiting.  There is no standard on how long a flare will last.  I had flares that lasted as little as a few days to one that went on for over 2.5 years.  UC is unpredictable at best.  The goal is to get a flare controlled and in remission.
dx proctitis in 1987
dx UC in 1991, was stable until 1998

1998 started prednisone, asacol, pentasa, nortriptylene, ativan, 6MP, rowasa enemas and suppositories, hydrocortisone enemas, tried the SCD diet, being a vegetarian, omega 3s, flax, pranic healing, yoga, acupuncture, probiotics

2000 lost all my B-12 stores and became anemic

2001 opted for j-pouch surgery- now living life med-free

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 7/1/2008 10:57 PM (GMT -6)   
I consider a flare-up to be anything other than remission (which most people consider to be "normal" bowel function).

Sometimes a flare might be loose bowels for a week or two, but it can be controlled thru diet change. Sometimes you might be bleeding and need to go on steroids for a few weeks. Sometimes you might have to be in the hospital for a while and receive IV medications.

I think the key to managing flares is to not let them get out of control. As soon as I see blood, I let my GI know. I took a 10-day backpacking trip last summer, and he gave me a bottle of Prednisone and said to start taking it if I started having bleeding again so that it wasn't a raging flare-up by the time I got back to civilization.

21 yrs old, diagnosed severe ulcerative pancolitis 2 Mar 2007
Hospitalized 27 Apr-5 May 2007
Asacol (mesalamine) 400 mg x 12 daily
Remicade <--first infusion on 3 May 2007; currently once every 5 weeks
Imuran (azathioprine) 50 mg x 2 daily
Eating fruits and vegetables like there is no tomorrow...

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 7/2/2008 7:28 AM (GMT -6)   
Everyone views their flares and remissions differently. Someone can say that they are in a flare even if they are going more then once a day but to them, that is a lot especially if their disease is mild. But then we can have someone who says they are flaring and going 15+ times a day and their disease is moderate/severe. So yeah, basically what Sue said lol - there are different severities.

Flare = active symptoms

Remission = no symptoms (individualistic) - some can have very mild symptoms and they consider themself in remission
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~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs), Hydrocortisone E's, Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Allergies-Singulair, Allegra
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Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 7/2/2008 11:06 AM (GMT -6)   
Having lived through a horrid five-year flare, my definitions may trend a little differently than most.

Blood (other than from hemmies) - definite flare

Cramping, mucous - flare coming, take action

More frequent/softer stools - watch yourself, watch the diet

2-4 stools a day, no cramping or mucus - remission

I guess I'll do most any kind of rationalization to keep from calling it a flare, because that word takes my mind to a place where I was so sick for so long.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
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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