Emergency Flare-Up Guide

Flare-ups are a sudden source of fiery pain for people living with Crohn’s. Flare-ups can inflame you from stem to stern with canker sores, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, anal aches, joint pain, and skin that’s sore to the touch.

Flare up triggers include consuming food or drink that upsets the stomach, smoking tobacco, and making mistakes with medicine dosages. Stress has been shown to worsen and even prolong the misery of flare-ups.

Putting Out the Fire

Remedies for Crohn’s flare-ups range from topical solutions to over-the-counter medicines.

You can survive flare-up attacks by readying a portable kit supplied with antibacterial cleanser, antiseptic mouthwash, protective ointment, non-prescription anti-inflammatory and antidiarrheal medications, plus disposable wipes.

Here’s what to keep within reach in the event of a Crohn’s flare-up: 

  • Relieve pain with acetaminophen (Tylenol) if your doctor approves, and ask for alternative pain management recommendations.
  • Control bouts of diarrhea with anti-diarrheal medication, such as Imodium or Pepto-Bismol, under the guidance of your doctor.
  • Wipe away anal irritation with a soothing moist towelette rather than toilet paper, which can feel abrasive to tender skin tissue.
  • Slather on vitamin-enriched ointments like Desitin Multi-Purpose Skin Protectant or A+D Original for relief from anal itching.
  • For anal fissure or fistula soreness, soak the affected area in warm salt water.
  • Wash your anal area thoroughly by using a hand-held showerhead with a mild perianal cleanser such as Balneol Hygienic Cleansing Lotion.
  • Rinse and gargle with medicinal mouthwash to dilute the pain caused by canker sore ulcers.
  • Apply moist heat to alleviate joint discomfort, followed by rest.
  • Consult a physical therapist about healing hurting joints with range-of-motion maneuvers.

Preventive Safety Measures

There are preventative safety measures to keep in place to ensure that you stay healthy and strong. Every day, remember to exercise and get a good night’s sleep.  Be sure to eat a nutritious balanced diet, and take multi-vitamin/mineral supplements.

Don’t become a smoker, but if you already are, take steps to quit. Smoking ignites flare-ups, which can lead to serious tissue damage and even cancer.

Start a log to track your flare-ups by date, rate their level of intensity, and provide detailed descriptions of your symptoms along with what relief actions you took. Give a copy to your doctor to add to your file of medical records, and reserve another copy for emergency room visits.

Your dedicated efforts will go a long way toward lessening your stress levels and the frequency of your flare-ups.