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When you have Crohn's disease, it can flare. When that happens, you may have symptoms like belly pain and diarrhea. Other times, you may feel good and not have any symptoms.

You probably take medicine to control your symptoms and keep your disease from getting worse.

When your symptoms fade, it might be tempting to stop taking those drugs. But medicines work best when you take them as your doctor told you. They keep your disease under control and stop complications. So if you stop taking them, you might have a flare-up, which means symptoms can return, like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping and pain in your abdomen
  • Fever
  • Feeling tired
  • Blood in your stool
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Mouth sores
  • Joint pain or soreness
  • Red bumps under your skin

If you stop taking your medicine, the inflammation that causes your Crohn’s won’t be under control, either. That can lead to more serious issues, including:

  • Ulcers
  • Abscesses
  • Blockage in your intestines
  • Malnutrition

You may need to go to the hospital for treatment, which could include surgery.

Working With Your Doctor

Even if you're not having side effects, taking regular medicine might seem like too much work. You might be worried about taking so many drugs, especially if you haven’t had a flare-up in a long time.

There also might be times when your medicine may not seem to work as well or new symptoms might pop up.

Instead of stopping your treatment, see your doctor.

Crohn's is an evolving disease. A treatment that works at one time may not work as things progress. That's why it's key that you tell your doctor about any good or bad changes you have. It can also help your doctor come up with a treatment plan that works for you.

What If I Have Side Effects?

One of the main goals of Crohn's treatment is to improve your quality of life. And that means making your symptoms go away as much as possible.

But if you take medicines that have side effects that are hard to deal with, it can seem like a poor tradeoff, especially if you have to deal with things like headaches, weight gain, and nausea.

Don't stop taking your medicine if you have unpleasant side effects like these. Instead, have a chat with your doctor. They’ll be able to adjust your dosage or find a new medicine that works better for you.

Show Sources

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Crohn's & Colitis Foundation: "What is Crohn's Disease?" "Types of Medications for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis," "Intestinal Complications," "Understanding IBD Medications."

Mayo Clinic: "Crohn's disease."

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Symptoms & Causes of Crohn's Disease."