Crohn’s Disease Flare-Up: What It Feels Like, Triggers, & Treatment


If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, it’s understandable to feel a little overwhelmed by the thought of having some form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). But knowing what’s coming next can help you take important steps to prioritize your physical and mental health.

Depending on how long you’ve had symptoms, you may realize that they tend to feel absent on some days (remission) and quite debilitating on other days (relapse or recurrence). Crohn’s disease Sudden events are difficult to predict, but are expected for anyone with this disorder. “[A flare-up] time period when inflammation in Crohn’s disease is active,” Aniruddh Setya, MDa board-certified gastroenterologist at KIDZ Medical Services in Florida, tells SELF.

We’re not going to sugarcoat it: Living through emergencies sucks. Symptoms of Crohn’s disease Things like abdominal pain and cramps, extreme fatigue, and incessant diarrhea can range from uncomfortable to outright painful, and they often get in the way of daily life.

Crohn’s disease is a complex autoimmune disease There is no single cause or cure, but here is some hopeful news: There are many effective treatments were able Help you feel better.1 You also need to learn more about what might be causing your symptoms to recur so you can do your best to prevent them. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re figuring out a Crohn’s disease flare-up for the first time.

What happens during an attack of Crohn’s disease?

“During a flare, your disease is active, which means your immune system drives inflammation in your gut,” Matilda Hagan, MDa board-certified gastroenterologist and medical co-director of the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Colorectal Disease at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, tells SELF.

Inflammation leads to recurrence of symptoms, which may persist for months to years without effective treatment, Douglas Nguyen, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist at Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California, tells SELF. Other times, symptoms come and go quickly, as quickly as they come.

It’s also common to have more severe symptoms during flare-ups, Dr. Nguyen said.This includes gastrointestinal symptoms such as exacerbation stomach ache, urgent bowel movements or rapid weight loss, and systemic symptoms associated with chronic inflammation, such as severe eye or joint pain. All of these changes can also take a toll on you mentally and emotionally.

In a 2019 study, researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine sought to better understand how people with Crohn’s disease describe their disease flare-ups.2 Here are some responses that stood out to them:

  • “I’m tired and usually at home, often stuck in bed and near the bathroom.”
  • “The part that affects the most is the lack of energy. I usually try to keep to my daily routine, but at night, I’m so exhausted that I can’t do anything.”
  • “It made the simplest tasks seem impossible. My self-worth hit rock bottom.”
  • “My family was affected by my IBD because they were constantly worrying about me, making sure I was feeling well, and trying to help me fight back.”
  • “I can’t do what I want to do.”


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