Dealing With
Crohn’s Flare-ups

Symptoms can be difficult. But know that you can get what you need to reach remission.

When you have Crohn’s, you may be thinking, “Will my condition flare up?” “What can I do when it does?” “How will I cope?” You’re not alone in those thoughts. Here, you’ll find helpful info that can help answer some of those questions you may be asking yourself.

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First Things First: What Is a Flare?

When you have Crohn’s, a flare is the reappearance or worsening of disease symptoms. With inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC), specific symptoms will depend on which condition you have and the part of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract that’s inflamed. With Crohn’s, once the inflammatory response is triggered, this is what can lead to a symptom flare.

Symptoms of a flare can include:

Frequent and/or urgent bowel movements


Bloody stool

Abdominal pain


Weight loss

Lack of appetite

Crohn’s is unpredictable. And over time symptoms can change or get worse—meaning that the disease is progressive. Of course it’s important to talk to your doctor when experiencing a flare. But it’s also important to be specific about changes or differences in symptoms over time. Remember to communicate when you feel like you need a change—discussing with your doctor whether or not your treatment plan is working for you.

How much of your time is your Crohn's impacting? Find out and make a personal action plan.

What Can Affect Crohn’s Flares?

Here are a few factors that may impact a flare or make symptoms worse:

  • Missing, skipping, or taking the wrong dose of medication—Flares can happen when medications aren’t taken as prescribed. If you’re taking your medication as prescribed and are still experiencing a flare, speak to your doctor about possibly changing the dose, frequency, or type of medication.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)—These include aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen. They can lead to bowel inflammation—making symptoms worse.
  • Antibiotics—Good for treating bacterial infections, but they also alter the bacteria in the intestine. Changes to intestinal bacteria may cause diarrhea or inflammation. Tell your doctor if you’re taking an antibiotic and experience a flare of Crohn’s symptoms.
  • Stress—Physical and emotional stress do not cause Crohn’s—but they can impact symptoms. 
  • Foods that irritate your GI tract—There’s no evidence that food can cause or cure Crohn’s, nor is there any evidence that it can cause a flare. But if a flare is present, what you eat can affect your symptoms. Every person with Crohn’s is different when it comes to foods or drinks that may aggravate symptoms.
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How long have you been diagnosed?

"I'm not diagnosed"

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"Under a year"

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"1 to 3 years"

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"3 to 5 years"

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"Over 5 years"

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How often do you experience symptoms?


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Have an open conversation with your specialist. Make the most of your next visit.

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Make sure that you’re telling your doctor everything they need to know to help you.

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Did you know that inflammation can affect you—even if you don’t have symptoms?


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Know the basics of Crohn’s or UC

See an overview of facts on Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC)—all on one downloadable page.

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Understand your inflammation

Explore and learn how inflammation affects you with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC)—from inside the body.

9 Tips for Managing Flare-ups of Crohn’s Disease

You can’t always prevent flares, but you can be proactive about your health.


Always take your treatment as prescribed


See your doctor regularly—and have open conversations about your symptoms


Monitor and track your Crohn’s disease


Keep up with Crohn’s-related tests and procedures


Set up your support system


Maintain a well-balanced diet and consider vitamins or mineral supplements


Exercise regularly


Don't smoke


Bring down your stress levels

Real Crohn's Patient

If you’re not feeling better, maybe try something different, whether that’s a different doctor or a different treatment.

SARAH | Real Crohn’s Patient

Real Crohn's Patient
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Understand your inflammation

Explore and learn how inflammation affects you with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC)—from inside the body.

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Looking for a gastroenterologist?

Find a gastroenterologist—a doctor who specializes in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC)—near you.

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Make the most of your appointments

Our doctor discussion guide can help you talk effectively with your doctor during your visits.


Is it time to make a personalized action plan?

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