What is a flare up?

As my journey to remission seems to becoming closer, I started to wonder about the future. Will I be symptom free? What does remission feel like? How long will it last? But most importantly, what is a flare up? Because often people who go into remission talk about having flare ups.


I have used this word before when I have talked about my own disease, but I began to wonder if I even truly understood what this meant. Is it moments where we feel a little off? Is it where the disease is becoming active? Is there a time line of how long we have to experience a symptom before we consider it a flare?

So I decided to venture down the rabbit hole of Google and found this information out:

A flare is considered the reappearance if disease symptoms after a period of remission, most commonly being

  • frequently or urgent bowel movements
  • bloody stool
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain

People can also experience symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, or a lack of appetite. Symptoms will vary from person to person and can change over time.

IBD’s are characterized by times of active disease when symptoms are present to times of remission when there are little to no symptoms. This means that even in remission, you can still have periods of symptoms- it just depends on your case personally and how your doctor has defined your remission case.

But it is important to listen to our bodies and notice when changes arise. Having disease flares may be a sign that a change in your medication may be needed. Talking to your healthcare professional is essential. During times of remission it is still important to see your specialist every 6 months to a year and even more so when you enter a flare.

I know a lot of people have discussed that they have found remission without medication- but guys it’s really important to understand that not everyone can achieve this. It really all depends on YOUR disease. It’s been found that only about 15% of patients who have an initial attack will remain in remission without medication and possibly for the rest of their lives. And that’s great for them! But I am one of those people who will probably end up having to take medication for the rest of my life. How do I know? Because of my history. Back when I tried Humira the medication wasn’t even responding to my body, so it was basically like me not being on medication. The result? Going from being only 25% affected by the disease to being 100% affected and having pancolitis in less than 2 months.

Know your body!

So in my google search essentially what I got was that a flare up happens after remission, so I am just experiencing active disease symptoms as I am not yet in remission and that if you do experience a flare and it is best to talk to your doctor as they understand the specificities of your case and can provide further insight on what you should do next. Do not ignore your body trying to tell you that something is off. It is easy to brush it off and say “maybe I just ate something funny“, but isn’t it better to be safe than sorry? Because what if it wasn’t that at all and you continued to let it go for awhile? Remember there is more than one type of remission and clinical remission (having an absence of symptoms) does not equal an absence of inflammation. You could be symptom free but still have active inflammation occurring (there is an entire post of the different forms of remission). Always listen to your body and be over zealous when it comes to your health rather than complacent. You only have one body!

In other news, it is mother’s day so I am off to prepare for my dinner for the lovely mom’s in my life. I hope this gave everyone some insight like it gave me and have a happy mother’s day!




Published by shitsandgiggleswithb

A 20 something university graduate who was recently diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Follow me and my journey with this chronic illness.

2 thoughts on “What is a flare up?

  1. Good post, my thoughts are that you need to listen to your pain, fatigue and body. Rest, rest, and rest! Give yourself permission to heal, to stay quiet, to be at peace. We love you and want you to be better, no matter how that looks.
    You’re a social person, a people pleaser, and a helper to all who cross your path! Maybe this disease is a lesson for you, to concentrate on a little, mighty, powerful person named Brittany!!
    Love you! Always here for you!❤️😘🙏
    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: