Please review our frequently asked questions and information below

It depends on the operation they choose to have. If they have laparoscopic or keyhole surgery their stay may only be a few days. If they have the more traditional two-stage surgical procedure, it usually means a two-week stay in hospital stay for the first stage, and seven to 10 days for the second.
There are four types of pouch - the Parks pouch, J-pouch, S-pouch and W-pouch. The J-pouch which is slightly longer and narrower than the others is usually the pouch of choice.
About one-in-four - or a quarter. Although medication can help to control ulcerative colitis, it doesn’t always and those who need surgery have found it radically improves their quality of life.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA), also known as an ileo-anal pouch, restorative proctocolectomy, ileal-anal pullthrough, or sometimes referred to as a j-pouch, s-pouch, w-pouch or an internal pouch, is an internal reservoir; usually situated where the rectum would normally be. It is formed by folding loops of small intestine (the ileum) back on themselves and stitching or stapling them together. The internal walls are then removed thus forming a reservoir. The reservour is then stitched or stapled into the perineum where the rectum was.
Ileo-anal pouches are constructed for people who have had their large intestine surgically removed due to disease or injury. Diseases and conditions of the large intestine which may require surgical removal include:
  • Crohn's disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis
  • Colon cancer
  • Toxic megacolon
There is debate about whether patients suffering from Crohn's disease are suitable candidates for an ileo-anal pouch due to the risk of the disease occurring in the pouch, which could make matters even worse. An alternative to an ileo-anal pouch is an ileostomy.
In some cases where the pouch was formed as a result of colitis, inflammation can return to the pouch in a similar way to the original inflammation in the colon. This is known as pouchitis.
The following comments are taken from the responses to a diet survey conducted by the Red Lion Group in 1999.
It is important to appreciate that everyone’s reaction to foods is highly individual. So what is suggested as a tip may not work for you, or may even have a detrimental effect.
However, these ideas should give you something to try if you are not happy with your pouch function at present.
“I always sit down at a table when eating, and concentrate on getting into a relaxed state of mind before starting. I try to eat slowly.”
“For best pouch function, I try to eat a good mixture of food for each meal…this avoids a severe reaction to any one type of food.”
“Eating 10 marshmallows before going to bed seems to help prevent/lessen leakage at night.”
“I have a banana each day after lunch.”
“Not eating regularly or going a long time between meals causes watery output and anal irritation [for me].”
“I’ve gone a whole week with no potato and I’ve found I’m much better. Gone from 6 - 7 to 3 – 4 times on the loo.”
“[As I have to avoid lots of foods], I supplement my diet with Ensure!”
“[For me], too long between meals causes painful wind and cramps.”
“Wind is increased the longer I delay going to the toilet.”
“Since giving up smoking, pouchitis attacks have been very much less.”
“Drinking vegetable juice is quite soothing on the digestive tract.”
“Fish creates smelly stools.”
“Routine, balanced meals (medium portions) with enough starchy foods and less protein works best [for me].”
“Onken bioyoghurt helps to settle my pouch and to decrease wind.”
“Anything slightly off or out of date causes increased urgency and pouch irritation [for me].”
“I associate anal irritation more with a change of soap powder on underclothes.”
“White wine settles my pouch – usually taken socially, so maybe relaxation helps.”
“Physical activity using stomach muscles leads to increased frequency.”
“I very rarely get anal irritation. I drink herbal alkalising teas.”
“Globe artichoke is brilliant [for thickening stool].”
“Aloe vera (from Forever Living) evens out consistency and is excellent.”
“I have noticed if I eat cereal or toast for breakfast then use the toilet, I do not need the toilet until I eat again.”
“[My pouch is settled if I drink] lots of fluids, especially water.”
“Stress and tiredness have a detrimental effect on [my] pouch.”
“I suffered from anal irritation for the first few years but now always use Hackle wipes and now it is no problem.”
“I avoid fried foods. I would recommend a steamer!”
“More liquid output – seems to be caused by apprehension [for me].”
“Pouch function is slowed if I eat first and wait an hour or so before having a drink.”
“Cold drinks or very hot drinks will speed [my] pouch function.”
“Eating a lot of fruit with pips or seeds and skin will cause [my] pouch function to speed up.”
“I find herbal tea helps to settle the digestion, especially after a main meal.”
“Light but continuous activity eg gardening, walking [settles my pouch].”
When planning their diet, a pouch patient should ask themselves two questions: “How am I going to achieve an adequate nutritional intake?” and “How will what I eat affect my pouch?”.
Nutritional intake
When considering the first question you must bear in mind that it is desirable to take a varied and well-balanced diet, and vital to take plenty of fluids and keep salt levels to.
Typically you should drink 6 to cups of fluid a day (1½ to 2 litres) in the form of water, tea, coffee and unsweetened fruit juices. You should also add a teaspoon of salt to your food every day because without a colon you are at risk of not absorbing the salt your body needs to stay healthy.
There are times when you need to be extra careful about keeping your fluid and salt intake up. These are when you are suffering from vomiting, diarrhoea or excessive perspiration due to hot weather or exercise, and also during the first few weeks after surgery.
At times like these increase your fluid and salt intake, and if necessary take oral rehydration fluid (you can buy sachets of powder for this from your pharmacist).
As always, if the condition is severe, or persists, seek medical help.
Eating and your pouch
As far as the effects eating has on the pouch there are no set rules. Pouch function is often just as affected by your eating pattern as it is by individual foods. If you think your food is adversely affecting your pouch keep a food and symptom diary.
It is worth retrying problem foods - they may not cause you problems after a while. But always bear in mind that variety is essential for good health.
Eating patterns
Obviously bowel frequency increases with the number of meals eaten. If you feel you are suffering from going to the loo too often try consuming no more than three meals a day. If you are troubled by getting up in the middle of the night to empty your pouch try eating your last meal of the day earlier, and perhaps make your largest meal of the day at lunchtime.
Food effects
Different foods have different effects on different people. What may cause one pouch patient a problem may not bother another. However, the following guidelines make sense for many pouch patients.
Soluble fibre thickens the consistency of the stool and therefore reduces frequency. This can be found in oats, peas, beans, lentils and barley. Insoluble fibre holds fluid but encourages faster transit time, thus increasing frequency. This can be found in wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals.
Increased output.
Foods which increase output are: alcohol caffeinated beverages citrus fruit chocolate beans leafy green vegetables raw fruits and vegetables
Another culprit is sugar which attracts fluid into the small bowel through osmosis causing a larger, more watery stool.
Decreased output
The following foods decrease bowel output: bananas rice cheese creamy peanut butter tapioca white bread potato suet pudding
Avoiding wind
Chew your food thoroughly and cut down on fizzy drinks if you are troubled by wind. Wind can also be caused by talking too much during a meal!
In 1994 Northwick Park Hospital published a sheet containing dietary advice for people with a pouch which we have eproduced below. Not all the tips may be appropriate to you, but if you have a ‘problem’ pouch, it might be worth trying out some of them. Let us know how you get on, and please send in some tips of your own.
Try a high fibre diet to facilitate water absorption and aid regular bowel movement. You should include wholemeal bread, wholegrain cereals, wholemeal biscuits, brown rice and wholemeal pasta. Aim to include one portion from this list at each meal.
Reduce your intake of sugar and sugary foods, especially those between meals.
Take fluids in between meals rather than with meals.
Take regular meals during the day, but experiment with the timing or amount of food or fluid taken prior to bedtime to help reduce the number of bowel movements at night.
Foods that may increase bowel movement Leafy green vegetables Broccoli Beans Spicy foods Raw fruits and vegetables Beer Caffeine beverages Chocolate Red wine Fizzy drinks
Foods that may cause anal irritation Corn Popcorn Oranges Apples Coleslaw Celery Other raw fruit and vegetables Nuts Coconut Food with seeds Spicy food
If you have been looking around for travel insurance it is likely that you will have encountered the following problem: finding quality cover at a reasonable price once you have declared that you have a medical condition.
That’s why we have worked with Leisure & Lifestyle Insurance Services Limited to offer a travel insurance policy specifically for the Red Lion Group.
Both single trip and annual policies are available. Cover includes: Emergency Medical Expenses up to £5 million Cancellation cover up to £5,000 Personal Liability cover £2 million
Leisure & Lifestyle understand that not everyone has a perfect medical record and that this shouldn’t preclude you from enjoying a holiday as much as everyone else.
You will be asked a few simple pre-screening questions to help you get the cover you need with a minimum of fuss (although in some instances a more detailed medical screening may be required).
For a free quotation, phone 08445 763029 and quote reference RL1, or visit the Leisure & Lifestyle website for more information.
Red Lion Group accept no liability in respect of the sale of this or any other travel insurance product nor do they have a financial interest in the sale of such products.
Leisure & Lifestyle Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority reference number 477114
I am not sure if there is an official policy, but I can confirm that I purchased one on the disability rights website (www.disabilityrightsuk.org) without a problem.
Answer provided by GaryB.
It depends who you speak to! While some GPs and local Area Health Authorities are willing to give pouchees free prescriptions - many do not.

Part of the answer seems to be how you approach your local GP. We ran several articles on how to get free prescriptions in early issues of Roar! (see below) and quite a number of you succeeded by approaching your GP and using the articles as evidence.

Though it is more difficult for pouchees under the age of 60 to obtain free prescriptions in the Nervous Noughties, there are exceptions and we suggest you take these early articles to your GP and see if they give you the nod. It’s certainly worth trying!

Download old ROAR! articles here

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