IBD: What to Do During a Flare-Up

May 2014

There are some chronic conditions which, although not life-threatening in many cases, can be uncomfortable to live with and require prolonged treatment. Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, two forms of IBD, fall into this category. Many cases of IBD can be treated with medication. But some do require surgery, and a small number can lead to complications – particularly when left untreated.

The main symptoms of IBD during a flare-up are abdominal and rectal pain, as well as frequent, bloody and runny stools. There might also be extra-intestinal symptoms, such as lethargy (possibly due to blood loss) and mouth ulcers.

Overcoming a flare-up isn’t always easy, and often necessitates a course of prescription treatment, such as corticosteroids. But there are additional things a sufferer can do to help relieve the pressure on their bodies, and get themselves on the road to recovery:


Stress plays a big role in the onset of a flare-up. So if you find yourself in the throes of one, try to get as much rest and sleep as possible. Avoid any physical or manual labour, and give your body a chance to catch up. If necessary, let your place of work know that you aren’t well enough to come in, and give yourself a break from the track, gym or any other form of exercise you normally participate in.

Eat and Drink Carefully

When it comes to what not to eat and drink during a flare-up, every doctor and patient will tell you something different. In truth, it’s really down to the individual sufferer. Most will be able to identify what aggravates them through trial and error. But some common offenders are nuts, seeds, carbonated drinks and spicy foods containing chillies. Try to steer clear of anything which might cause further problems.

Avoid Toxins

Most IBD sufferers say that alcohol can bring on diarrhoea, while some studies have suggested that smoking can exacerbate Crohn’s disease. In any case, it’s probably for the best to try and cut out obvious toxins like these during a flare-up.

See Your Specialist

Don’t forget, your consultancy team is there to help. If the course of medication you’re on isn’t working, or you need further assistance or advice, give them a call.

Image Source