Like a lot of autoimmune diseases, Crohn’s disease also alternates between remission (little or no symptoms) and flares (intensified symptoms). Surely, the purpose of treatment is to maintain remission; however, flares can often occur even if you’re regular with your medications.
This cycle of remission and flares can be quite unpredictable. So, what can be done to prevent flares ups? Let’s find out.
What is a Crohn’s Disease Flare?
When you have Crohn’s disease, a flare is the recurrence or worsening of Crohn’s disease symptoms. When it comes to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease, certain symptoms depend on the kind of condition one has and the part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that is affected. With Crohn’s disease, once the inflammatory response gets triggered, it can result in a symptoms flare.
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease Flare
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease flare can include:
- Frequent or urgent bowel movements
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody stool
- Weight Loss
- Lack of appetite
What Can Trigger Crohn’s Disease Flare?
Here are some of the factors that can impact a Crohn’s disease flare or worsen the symptoms:
- Skipping, missing, or taking the wrong dose of medicines: Crohn’s disease flares can occur when you don’t take medications as your doctor prescribed. If you miss or skip a dose, or take the wrong ones, it can have an adverse impact on the entire Crohn’s disease treatment. Moreover, if you are experiencing Crohn’s disease flare despite taking your medications properly, talk to your doctor immediately. The doctor may change the dose, type, or frequency of the dosage.
- Nonsteroidal anti–inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Taking NSAIDs can lead to bowel inflammation, which can further result in worsened symptoms. Some of the common NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin.
- Antibiotics: Although antibiotics are a great way to treat bacterial infections, they can alter the intestinal bacteria. Changes to intestinal bacteria can cause inflammation or diarrhea. If you are taking antibiotics and experiencing a Crohn’s disease flare, talk to your doctor about it.
- Certain foods: Although there is no evidence for food causing or curing Crohn’s disease, there are certain foods that can irritate your gastrointestinal tract, and eventually cause a Crohn’s disease flare. Therefore, the doctor would advise you to follow a balanced Crohn’s disease diet and prevent eating foods that can impact your symptoms. Remember, the triggers can be different for every person; hence, you need to be careful while choosing what to eat if you have Crohn’s disease.
- Stress: Emotional and physical stress does not cause Crohn’s disease, but it can significantly impact symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
How to Manage Crohn’s Disease Flare?
Crohn’s disease flares cannot be prevented, but you can manage them to a certain extent by following the following tips:
- Always take the medications as prescribed
- Visit your doctor frequently and always talk about your symptoms openly
- Monitor and track your symptoms
- Keep up with all Crohn’s disease-related procedures and tests