What Can Trigger Crohn’s Disease?

Published February 9, 2024 by

What can trigger Crohn’s Disease? Many individuals may not be aware that this condition has specific triggers that can set off symptoms. It may come as a surprise that individuals with Crohn’s disease experience periods of remission, during which they are symptom-free, followed by the return of the disease, known as flare ups, accompanied by uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating symptoms. We will explain more about what this disease is and what can cause flare ups.

What Is Crohn’s Disease?woman having a crohn's attack

Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) causing inflammation of the tissue in the digestive tract.

Research into the causes of Crohn’s Disease has pinpointed three contributing factors:

  1. Genetics
  2. Intestinal bacteria or the gut microbiome
  3. A person’s immune system health

What Are Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease Flare Ups?

When someone has a flare, it can include the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in stool
  • Mouth sores
  • Pain at the anus with drainage

Flares are not predictable, but there are some common triggers that may contribute to a flare up.

What Are Common Crohn’s Triggers?


Smoking cigarettes causes inadequate oxygen in the intestines, increased inflammation, and increased symptoms. It also creates poor response to treatment, and it makes the disease progress faster and makes flares more frequent.

Consult with GI Solutions to find ways to quit.

Even second hand smoke can increase the amount of flares, so steer clear of those who smoke.


There is a clear link between stress and increased flares. No one yet understands it, but you should find ways to manage your stress.

Breathing exercises can be calming, try yoga, tai chi, or simply begin a regular exercise regimen.


Avoid these types of medications. NSAIDS are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds which you can find over the counter. They include naproxen or Aleve, aspirin, and ibuprofen.

The American College of Gastroenterologists strongly recommends against the use of NSAIDS in people with Crohn’s Disease.

If you have arthritis or another condition causing pain, talk to your doctor about options.

Altering Your Treatment Regimen

The goal of medications is to keep inflammation down. They will only work when you take them. Skipping doses or changing doses without your physician’s advice is an invitation for inflammation to return.

Eating the Wrong Foods

Tracking your diet is the only way to know exactly what foods are causing flare ups. In general, avoid greasy fried foods which can increase gas and diarrhea.

Additionally, stay away from the following foods:

  • processed foods
  • raw veggies
  • seeds
  • peanuts
  • popcorn
  • beans
  • cabbage
  • carbonated drinks

Find Ways to Reduce or Eliminate Your Triggers

Taking positive actions to reduce the possibility of flare ups should be your ultimate goal. Find ways to avoid the wrong foods, quit smoking, get plenty of exercise to manage your stress, and take your medications as directed.

See GI Solutions in Chicago, IL with any questions or concerns about your Crohn’s Disease flare ups.


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