Some triggers of Crohn’s disease may include environmental irritants, certain medications, and stress, among others. Talk with a healthcare professional if your symptoms don’t improve after 1 week.

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that goes through periods of no symptoms, known as remission, and periods of active symptoms, known as flares.

Crohn’s flare-ups are often unpredictable.

However, taking the right steps to manage Crohn’s, including following your prescribed treatment plan and making healthy lifestyle choices, may help prevent flare-ups.

Keep reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for Crohn’s disease flare-ups.

Crohn’s disease flare-ups often aren’t predictable, but certain triggers may bring on a flare. According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, some triggers may include:

Crohn’s is a complex condition that scientists don’t yet fully understand. Research is ongoing on how to predict flares, though it’s often inconsistent on the precise cause.

Experts found that multiple factors play a role in the disease, including:

Learn more about the causes of Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s can affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) system, from the mouth to the anus. Symptoms of a flare-up may occur gradually or suddenly and can vary in severity. They may also change over time.

The most common symptoms of a Crohn’s disease flare-up include:

Other symptoms may include:

Regularly monitoring your symptoms can help you recognize a flare-up quickly and take steps to manage it.

How long does a Crohn’s flare-up last?

Depending on the severity, a period of Crohn’s flare-ups can last a few days or even a few months.

It’s important to inform your doctor of changes in your symptoms, especially if they worsen.

When to see a doctor if you’re having a Crohn’s flare

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) recommends speaking with a healthcare professional if you experience:

  • diarrhea for 7 days
  • bloody stools
  • regular cramps and stomach pain
  • unexplained weight loss

Learn more about when to contact a doctor for Crohn’s disease.

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There’s no single test to diagnose Crohn’s disease. A doctor will likely use tests to eliminate other potential causes of your symptoms before making a diagnosis of Crohn’s.

These tests may include:

You may go through multiple rounds of tests to rule out other conditions, especially similar conditions like other types of IBD.

Learn more about how a doctor diagnoses Crohn’s disease.

How to determine if you’re experiencing a Crohn’s flare

Most people who receive a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease will experience flares from time to time. However, there’s no exact test to diagnose flares, specifically.

If you’re experiencing new or worsening symptoms, this could be a sign of a flare. Talk with a doctor to determine the best next steps.

Treatment for Crohn’s disease may include a combination of several treatments. It’s important to work with a doctor to develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

Your treatment plan to help manage Crohn’s disease flare-ups may include:

Aim to be as consistent as possible when taking your regularly prescribed medications. Even if you have no symptoms, missing a dose may lead to a flare-up.

Research suggests that treating flares is most effective when focused on the specific symptoms and their severity.

Learn more about how to treat Crohn’s disease.

Managing flares on the go

Flare-up attacks can be unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to pack a portable supply kit to be ready. This could include items like:

  • medicated mouthwash
  • an extra pair of underwear
  • disposable wipes
  • protective barrier ointment
  • OTC antidiarrheal medications and pain relievers
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In addition to following your Crohn’s treatment plan, the following preventive measures may help you avoid flares:

While going through a flare-up can be troubling, these efforts will go a long way toward helping you manage Crohn’s and improving your quality of life.

What can trigger a Crohn’s flare?

Triggers for Crohn’s flare-ups may include eating certain foods, smoking, taking certain medications, and infections, among others.

How to calm down a Crohn’s flare-up?

Some ways to help calm down a Crohn’s flare-up include taking OTC pain relievers, reducing stress, avoiding trigger foods, and exercising.

What foods trigger Crohn’s?

Some foods that may trigger Crohn’s flares include foods high in fiber, lactose, sugar alcohols, fat, grease, spices, and added sugars. Caffeinated beverages and alcohol may also trigger flare-ups.

Crohn’s disease flare-ups are periods when your symptoms reappear or worsen.

There’s not a single trigger; instead, there’s a range of triggers that may or may not affect you.

If your symptoms don’t improve after 7 days, talk with a healthcare professional. They could modify your current treatment plan to help you manage and prevent future flare-ups.

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