Recognizing and Dealing with a Crohn’s Flare-Up

People who suffer from Crohn’s disease can go through periods of remission, but flare-ups can occur, and when one comes on, it usually does so unexpectedly, so it’s important to know how to deal with it beforehand.

What is a Crohn’s Disease Flare-Up?

A chronic disease like Crohn’s can have periods when symptoms subside, but those are, unfortunately, followed by regular flare-ups as well. During a Crohn’s flare-up, various symptoms develop, and there is a general feeling of being unwell. No two flare-up events are the same, but there are symptoms that can show up again and again.

A flare-up can lead to an abnormal number of bowel movements in 24 hours. There may be constipation or diarrhea. Rectal bleeding may also occur. During a flare-up, the symptoms are not limited to the digestive system.

People experience a mix of symptoms that include:

  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Fever
  • Skin rashes
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tender bumps appearing under the skin
  • Eye inflammation
  • Mental distress from dealing with the symptoms
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats

The flare-ups can last anywhere from a few days to months. Crohn’s disease is a chronic disease and needs careful management because serious complications can develop due to the severity of the symptoms.

Dealing with a Flare-up

The type and severity of the symptoms will determine how best to manage your flare-up.


Your doctor may adjust the medication you’re on. Typically, immunomodulator medication is used to keep some of the symptoms at bay. The medications are not a cure, but they suppress the normal inflammatory response that causes the symptoms.


Diet is important. Some foods can trigger symptoms, while others may help ease them. Crohn’s disease symptoms reduce your body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients, including fat, protein, and carbohydrates. The symptoms can also lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies and dehydration. A bland diet consisting of soft foods may reduce symptoms. Staying hydrated is also essential. Your doctor can recommend a diet that will help soothe the gastrointestinal tract and is less likely to trigger the symptoms.


Stress is also a trigger of Crohn’s flare-ups. Addressing any ongoing stress can be a good way to deal with your symptoms.


Exercise is also important. Low-intensity or low-impact exercises can help reduce psychological stress and promote general physical health.

Reducing the Risks of Flare-Ups

Following your doctor’s management plan is the first step to helping you reduce your risks of a flare-up. Sometimes, people start feeling well or have extended periods between flare-ups, so they stop taking their medications. The medication prescribed to help manage Crohn’s disease helps support a healthy gut, and staying on it, even during a long remission, is vital to stopping a flare-up before it starts. Taking control of your lifestyle through diet, exercise, and stress management is important as well.

Schedule A Consultation

If you have Crohn’s disease and you’re struggling to manage your symptoms, Dr. Hakiman and Dr. Patel at Arizona Colorectal Experts can help you finally get some relief with a customized treatment plan that works for you. Schedule a consultation today by calling our Chandler, AZ office at 602-844-5157 or filling out our online contact form.