RePublished on 01 December 2020

Register now for next Pouch Open Forum on 7 December 2020

The latest in the series of Red Lion Group Pouch Support chat forums via the wonders of zoom technology was held on Monday evening, 2 nd November.   Attracting some 30 attendees, the evening was another riveting and thoroughly enjoyable opportunity for pouchees and potential pouchees to talk about common problems and challenges and for the more experienced pouchees to share their tips and recommendations to help the less experienced pouchees.   The evening was choreographed by Gary Bronziet, our very own IT guru (and Membership Secretary), with Theresa Parr (Minutes Secretary) and Christopher Browne (Editor in Chief of the excellent Roar! publication) chairing the female and male breakout groups respectively.  

The small but perfectly formed male group enjoyed an excellent discussion, including a variety of topics such as cuffitis, the diagnosis of crohns versus ulcerative colitis, prostate gland examinations, symptoms of blockage and the influence of adhesions in causing blockages to be more likely to occur, the foods that cause blockages and cures.  We welcomed a new pouchee of only 6 weeks, who was keen to hear personal stories and frustrations to reassure themselves that they were doing OK (indeed he is doing very well). The ladies group included two RLG members who were the 8th and 9thpeople respectively in the UK to have their pouches created by Sir Alan Parks at St Marks some 43 years ago!! A very warm welcome was extended as you can imagine.  

The ladies session covered topics suggested by the attendees, including loperamide usage, diet, skin care, mental health issues, lifting and exercise and blockages.  Regarding lifting, one of the attendees, Linda, provided the following information after the event: 

Professor Bo Shen recommended in his book “Pouchitis and ileal pouch disorders” that pouchees “…should not lift more than 20-25lbs as well as avoiding any postures during exercise that may assert pressure or torsion at certain sites such as tip of the pouch, the anastomosis site and previous stoma site.”

On the topic of mental health, Linda also commented that her local hospital ran a six-week (one night each week) course on chronic stress management, which was found to be beneficial.  Another potential topic for the next forum.  

In summing up, Christopher Browne appealed for more personal stories of mental health in pouchees – an opportunity to share your own story (anonymously or not, as you wish) in an article Christopher is writing for the next edition of Roar!  If you have a story to tell and would like to submit, then please send to Christopher at

Finally, David Davies (RLG Chairman) extended thanks from a PhD student, Zeina Bushnaq, who is conducting a survey of mental health and psychological support for pouchees during their surgical journey.  Thanks to a mention during a previous forum and other posts on social media she has managed to recruit 74 pouchees for the survey, an excellent response for which she is very grateful.   Thank you to all who took part.  We will hope to publish the outcomes in due course on the RLG website. 

These RLG monthly chat forums are very well appreciated by all attendees and have been a noteable highlight amidst the general covid gloom.  In particular, for pouchees who are based in more remote regions and for whom there isn’t ready access to other pouchees. Hopefully these sessions are helping those people to feel less isolated. 

The next Red Lion Group zoom chat will take place on Monday 7 December starting at 8pm.  Please click Register Now link below to register and reserve your place and please note that the dial in instructions will be sent to you within 48 hours of the event start.  

David Davies

RLG Chairman

Register Now

RePublished on 25 October 2020

Registration is now open for our next Open Zoom Forum on Monday 2 November at 8:00 pm. Open to all pouchees, prospective pouchees, family and friends – we split into ladies and gentlemens break-out groups so you can talk openly and share your experiences with other pouchees.

A quote from an attendee after recent meeting –

Thank you – I did enjoy the session.  I’d forgotten that in certain circles I was perfectly normal!

You can register for the next forum on Monday 2 November at 8:00 pm by clicking the register now button below.

(If you have previously registered for one or more of our Zoom into summer webcasts, you will receive a message saying you are already subscribed. Follow the instructions to Update your preferences and tick the box to say that that you would like to attend the forum on 2 November 2020).

Register Now

Read about previous sessions and examples of topics discussed below.

RePublished on 23 August 2020David Davies Chairman Red Lion Group

The second in the series of zoom get togethers for pouchees took place on Monday 3 August at 8pm.  Organised by the Red Lion Group, the forum offers the opportunity for pouchees, their family and friends to get together via the wonders of zoom to discuss common challenges and learn from each other’s experience in dealing with pouch-related issues.  One of the challenges for the organisers is to ensure that people have the chance to be heard and we therefore divided the audience into male and female sub-groups for the discussions, then re-grouped for a summary session at the end.  

Once again, the event attracted a good number of pouchees and everyone contributed in a lively discussion of various pouch-related issues, including:

  • How to avoid (or reduce) night time BMs (and therefore reduce fatigue from losing sleep):
    • Use of a catheter to achieve complete emptying before bed
    • Medications and their use to prevent/reduce nightime BMs.  Windeeze was one suggestion to reduce gas in the pouch
    • Alternative therapies – one person recommended a few drops of CBD oil tincture under the tongue before bed time. 
  • Diet and the best diets to use to achieve weight loss along with a healthy pouch 
    • The benefits of the MacDonalds diet for pouchees! 
  • The St Marks pouch nurses and how to contact them
  • Probiotics and the high cost of VSL#3.  Many people use probiotics and feel they help keep their pouches healthy.  Uchu Mead – Head of Pharmacy at St Marks Hospital – commented at an Information Day in 2019 that the best time to use VSL#3 was just after a course of antibiotics for pouchitis, when the antibiotics have disrupted the pouch bacterial community.  However, a number of the attendees use VSL#3 on a daily basis, which is expensive. VSL#3 is not on the prescribers list, but pouchitis is now a recognised condition which GPs can find on the NHS website. 
  • It was pointed out that at the Information Day it was mentioned that the probiotic called Vivomixx, claims to be the only product that uses the original VSL#3 formula, and the current product called VSL#3 cannot use the original formula. You can read about this interesting patent battle on Google if you are interested!

Huge thanks to Theresa Parr and Christopher Browne for moderating the sessions and to Gary Bronziet for arranging the facility and pressing all the right buttons.  And thank you to all who took time out to join the event and contribute to the lively discussions.  

You can register for the next forum on Monday 7 September at 8:00 pm by clicking the register now button below.

(If you have previously registered for one or more of our Zoom into summer webcasts, you will receive a message saying you are already subscribed. Follow the instructions to Update your preferences and tick the box to say that that you would like to attend the forum on 7 September 2020).

Register Now

Published on 5 July 2020.

First Red Lion Group Zoom Forum “a great success”!

The recent “Zoom into Summer” series of presentations was a great success and demonstrated the power of the Zoom platform to facilitate real time, “face to face” interactions.  So much so, that those clever people at Red Lion Group decided to trial a new concept; a zoom “coffee morning” to mimic the breakout discussion sessions that have proved so popular at the Information Days in the past.  The first of the “Zoom into RLG Forum” took place on Thursday 2 July and was attended by 20 RLG members.  The group was divided equally into men and women, who discussed pouch-related issues in their respective groups for 40 minutes or so and then came together to compare the topics.  The two facilitators were RLG stalwarts Susan Burrows and Christopher Browne and our thanks to them for their inspired leadership.

Representative screen image of Zoom meeting

The event was a resounding success.  Topics discussed by the men included seepage, the use of pads available on prescription, eating meals early in the day to prevent night time BMs, use of loperamide for the same, how to mask the smell of BMs, key hole surgery, support for remote pouchees (from Fife!), dysfunctional pouches, feeling of incomplete emptying, catheters and, amidst some hilarity, the challenge of weeing without poohing whilst standing up when on a night out.

Meanwhile, the ladies discussed topics as varied as sore bottoms, pouchitis, the use of catheters, the question of whether or not to choose a pouch operation compared with a permanent ileostomy and the ingenious suggestion of a motion-sensitive night light to illuminate the route to the toilet when a pouchee needs to go in the night in an unfamiliar place.  

We pouchees are united by a common journey and shared experiences which are unique to our circumstance.  There is reassurance and comfort in coming together to discuss these common challenges and issues and especially to find humour in adversity when the occasional “slip up” occurs.  The Zoom platform allows people to “meet” on video calls and talk as a group as if we were in the same room, to effectively mimic the Information Day breakouts.  

The event was a great success with attendees unanimously voting for another such event in one month time.  The next forum will take place during the evening of Monday 3rd August, starting at 8pm.  To register to attend the forum, click on the register now button below. If you have previously registered for one or more of our Zoom into summer webcasts, you will receive a message saying you are already subscribed. Follow the instructions to Update your preferences and tick the box to say that that you would like to attend the forum on 3rd August 2020.

Thanks again to the facilitators, Susan and Christopher, to Gary Bronziet for providing the technical input and to all the delegates who kindly joined this first event. 

David Davies

Chairman – Red Lion Group

Register Now

We look forward to receiving your registration and seeing you at the Forum. You will be sent the Zoom invitation in due course.