A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Pouchitis
I had a question the other day about pouchitis.
Many people with serious ulcerative colitis end up having their diseased colon removed and their bowel reconnected with a surgical procedure.
This surgery creates an internal pouch (from the small intestine) to hold waste before it’s eliminated.
Pouchitis is an inflammation of the lining of this pouch.
This complication occurs in up to half the people who have this operation.
They have symptoms like abdominal pain, cramps, an increased number of bowel movements and a strong feeling like they need to have a bowel movement.
The exact cause of pouchitis is unknown and the way it’s diagnosed isn’t completely agreed upon.
The suspicion of pouchitis is based on a combination of clinical symptoms like an increase in stool frequency, change in stool consistency, abdominal cramps and rectal bleeding.
Treatment is often based on these symptoms alone.
But, diagnosis of pouchitis based on symptoms alone isn’t always accurate because symptoms can stem from many reasons, not necessarily inflammatory in nature.
Due to the relapsing nature of pouchitis, and the fact the cause isn’t entirely clear, long-term management can be challenging.
Stool frequency is the symptom most commonly used to describe the function of the pouch, with aspects of urgency and continence also being commonly used.
Unfortunately, there’s a wide range of stool frequency, urgency and leakage considered to be ‘normal’ pouch function.
But, the median stool frequency appears to be 6 bowel movements per day with a range of 1 to 20.
It’s commonly believed pouch function stabilizes 1 year after the ileostomy is closed.
To deal with pouchitis it’s beneficial to:
*Eat healthy meals.
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily to keep hydrated.
*Optiflora may be taken after each bout of diarrhea to replenish the “good” bacteria.
*Food sensitivities/allergies and diet must investigated and addressed.
*Become educated on any gluten connection.
*Avoid all dairy.
*Avoid sugars, grains, carbs, soda pop, alcohol, caffeine, processed products.
*May be beneficial to lightly steam veggies.
*Increase Omega-3 fats intake.
*Consider a liver, gallbladder and/or colon cleanse.
*Practice good stress and relaxation techniques.
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