Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center | Signs of a Disease Flare

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Contact the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

  • 1-617-355-6058

IBD is a chronic condition. Many patients experience periods of remission (when a patient is feeling well and has little to no symptoms of their disease), and also periods where the disease symptoms are very active. These active periods are called Flares. Some symptoms strongly suggest a flare, like bloody diarrhea— others are less specific and can be seen with viruses or other illnesses like nausea, non-bloody diarrhea or fevers.

Flare symptoms are often similar to the symptoms children have when they are first diagnosed with IBD.

It is important to notify your child’s health care team if you notice any of the following symptoms of a disease flare-up.

  • bloody diarrhea (please call right away)

  • abdominal pain or cramping (if severe, please call immediately)

  • ongoing nausea or vomiting (if vomiting bile [greenish fluid] call immediately)

  • diarrhea (without blood)

  • continuing weight loss without an explanation

  • persistent fevers without an explanation

  • fatigue or feeling tired

  • joint pain and swelling

  • mouth ulcers

  • coin sized, painful red or black bumps on the arms and/or legs

  • eye pain or redness

Different people have different symptoms, and symptoms may range from mild to severe. Again, it is important to contact your health care team if you are worried about any of the symptoms listed above.

We created this guide to help illustrate how to better understand and manage IBD flares.

Signs of a Disease Flare

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Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337