Here's When You Should Go To The Hospital For A Crohn's Disease Flare-Up

Crohn's disease is a condition of the gastrointestinal tract that causes inflammation, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can create pain that's debilitating , and a Crohn's disease flare-up can come on suddenly and unexpectedly. Sometimes you might need to go to the hospital, but it can be hard to know when.

In Crohn's disease, inflammation of the small or large intestine can cause abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss, and diarrhea (via Mayo Clinic). The inflammation can affect the entire intestines or just parts of it, which can also lead to blood in the stools, fever, and even mouth sores. Approximately three million Americans have Crohn's disease, and it's usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 30, according to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation.

Those with Crohn's disease can experience periods of remission, when they don't have any symptoms at all (via Healthline). But they can also experience flare-ups, when symptoms become more severe. If this happens, you might experience sudden diarrhea, cramps, fatigue, or bloody stools. Sometimes a flare is triggered by something specific, like a certain food or increased stress.

When to go and what to expect

While many people with Crohn's disease learn how to manage their flares at home, sometimes they become severe enough to warrant a trip to the hospital (via Healthline).

Healthline explains that if you're experiencing diarrhea for more than a week, frequent stomach cramping, unexplained weight loss, consistently bloody stools, sores on the skin that aren't healing, rectal bleeding or drainage, or more than two or three days of a fever, you should consider going to the doctor or emergency room.

There, they can help treat the pain as well as any dehydration or malnutrition, according to WebMD. You will also need hospital support if you're experiencing complications like abscesses, strictures, or fistulas, or any symptoms that you are unable to manage on your own.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of people with Crohn's disease are hospitalized within five years of their diagnosis, so knowing what to expect ahead of time could help you to manage symptoms and expectations (per WebMD). At the hospital, doctors might do imaging tests like an MRI or colonoscopy and give you medications like corticosteroids or antibiotics.

You'll probably be ready to go home once you have regular bowel movements, rectal bleeding has improved, you can tolerate medications, and can sustain food. It's important to follow the care plan given by your doctor to minimize your chances of returning to the hospital.