After a period of remission, or a time with few or little symptoms, IBD may flare-up, causing symptoms again. Symptoms that may have been gone for weeks or months become bothersome again.
There is, unfortunately, no criteria that would define a flare-up: there’s no quiz that a person can take to determine if the IBD is active.
Many times, a patient will start to have symptoms and will see their gastroenterologist for an evaluation. The gastroenterologist may do a series of tests such as blood test or stool tests, to start to understand why the symptoms are returning. In some cases this might also mean having an endoscopy, such as a sigmoidoscopy, a colonoscopy, or an upper endoscopy.
With these tests, a gastroenterologist can see exactly what is going on in the digestive tract, and pinpoint the area of inflammation. It’s important to know where the problem is in order to treat it.