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J-Pouch Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis

OstomyLife Co-Moderator
05/13/19  8:00 AM PST
J-pouch surgery

Many people do not know what a J-pouch is. However, if you have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), chances are you have at least heard of this procedure. J-pouches are commonly used in the treatment of the IBD disease, ulcerative colitis, when medication management is not available.

What is J-Pouch Surgery?

J-pouch surgery, also referred to as ileal pouch anal anastomosis, is a procedure that allows removal of the colon without requiring a life-long ostomy. In this procedure, the colon (also known as the large intestine) and rectum are removed. Then the end of the small intestine is folded back on itself and sewn together to create a pouch. This pouch serves as a reservoir for stool until it is excreted. The J-pouch is then connected to the person’s anus so that stool held there is excreted normally.

While this procedure offers an alternative solution for ulcerative colitis that avoids the need for a life-long ostomy, one is needed temporarily. The surgery is usually a two-part endeavor:

  1. During the first surgery, your surgeon will remove your colon and rectum, create the J-pouch, and also create a temporary ileostomy for stool excretion. This will be used until your J-pouch has healed and is ready to work.
  2. For the second surgery (usually about 2-4 months later), your surgeon will reverse the ostomy and allow the stool to pass through the now healed pouch and be excreted as it was before surgery.

Adjusting to Your New J-Pouch

As you are healing from the J-pouch surgeries there will be some side effects as your body finds it’s new normal.

  • Usually, at first you will experience increased frequency of bowel movements. Although, it may not seem as frequent for those living with ulcerative colitis. After some time, as your pouch becomes more established, the frequency of bowel movements will decrease but may always be more frequent than someone without a J-pouch.
  • Pouchitis is something that can happen after surgery. It is when the pouch becomes inflamed and causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, and increased frequency of and urge to have a bowel movement. Pouchitis can usually be treated with antibiotics and may require hospitalization.
  • Having a J-pouch means you do not have a colon, which is responsible for water absorption, so someone with a J-pouch may excrete more water in their stool and require more fluid intake to stay hydrated.
  • Click here to learn more about other side effects of receiving a J-pouch.

J-pouches provide an alternative to having an ostomy for individuals who are very sick and need to have their colon removed. Although this is the right choice for some, it is not for everybody. If you are considering J-pouch surgery, talk to your doctor and learn all you can about the procedure to decide if it is right option for you. Depending on the stage of the disease, you doctor will decide if it is appropriate treatment for your IBD case.

Serving Medicare Ostomates Nationwide
Dear Laura, I wear a two piece ostomy bag. I need help with concealing an ostomy bag. When I move around my shirt hikes up and the tip of the bag peeks out from under my shirt.
Tom
Hi Tom, I have a few suggestions that may help!
 
First, I'm wondering if a stealth belt would be a good option for you. This is a black belt that you can conveniently tuck your pouch...


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