There are several factors that may impact a flare and/or make symptoms worse, including: 

  • Missing IBD medications or taking the incorrect dose 
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin, naproxen (Aleve®), and ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®, Nuprin®), may lead to inflammation of the bowel and make symptoms worse. 
  • Antibiotics alter the bacteria that normally live in the intestine and may cause antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
  • Smoking. People with IBD who smoke tend to have more disease activity, more surgeries, and a greater need for medications to control their disease.
  • Stress. Physical and emotional stresses do not cause IBD. However, stressful situations or strong emotions may impact IBD symptoms.
  • Food. Although diet does not cause or cure IBD, paying attention to your diet may help you reduce symptoms, replace lost nutrients, and promote healing. However, no one type of food or beverage aggravates symptoms for all people with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Therefore, each person with IBD will need to determine which foods impact symptoms and which do not.