5 Things You Should Know Before Getting a J-Pouch
Over these past two years, I’ve gotten to know my J-Pouch very well. I’ve learned ways to manage my life around having a J-Pouch. I’ve read a lot about J-Pouches since my surgery and continue to learn so much as time goes on. When I first began life with a J-Pouch, there are several things that I wish I had known. I want to share those with you today.
Here are the 5 things I wish my doctor had told me about life with a J-Pouch:
You might still have some minor rectal bleeding.
This first happened to me when I was between services. I would sit on the toilet to pee and mucus and blood came out of my bottom. When I asked my surgeon about this, he told me that was totally normal. He said that since my J-Pouch isn’t being used, it’s going to “fester” a little bit. I honestly still am not quite sure what he means by that, but I did ask some of my other J-Pouch friends, and they, too, had this problem. Even now, after my takedown surgery, the more I go, the more likely it is for me to have blood on the toilet paper. Now, I don’t want to scare you and this isn’t something that should cause you great distress. Without your colon, your body doesn’t absorb the digestive enzymes and this can and will cause a breakdown of your skin. It was really scary at first, but now I’ve learned to help keep that at bay by using a good quality diaper rash cream.
You may pass staples.
Most J-Pouches these days are constructed using staplers. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for you to pass some staples when you go to the bathroom. My surgeon told me this was normal. During my pouch scope, my surgeon kept me awake. I didn’t appreciate it at first, but looking back, it was really cool. He even pointed out one of the staples! It was awesome.
The gurgling gas is a nightmare.
and when I say nightmare… I don’t literally mean that it was the worst thing ever. The gas eases with time, but right after surgery, your stomach will growl and gurgle like nothing you’ve ever heard.
Nighttime accidents could occur
especially at first. I’ve had several accidents at night after my takedown surgery. It was really embarrassing to have to wake my husband in the middle of the night to tell him I needed to change the sheets because I pooped myself. He was always very kind about it… but it was still annoying. One night when it happened, I took to the internet. I found that this is a really common occurrence too and that it gets better with time. For a month or two after takedown, I started wearing adult diapers at nighttime. My surgeon advised me to practice kegel exercises to help tone my sphincter muscles.
The last, and probably most important thing, that I wish my surgeon had told me is that J-Pouch failure only occurs in about 6% of patients. There are several complications that might come with a J-Pouch… but you aren't guaranteed to have a complication. And if you do end up with a complication, such as pouchitis, it’s not guaranteed to make your J-Pouch fail.
Overall I love my J-Pouch. I feel like it has given me my life back in a lot of ways. I know that my story is not every story and that every patient will have a different experience, but overall, the odds are in your favor.
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