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When Should You Get A J-Pouch?

Every week I’m bombarded with emails and questions about j-pouches. Questions such as…

“Can I get pregnant with a j-pouch?”

“How is your j-pouch?”

“Do you still recommend a j-pouch?”

“What can I expect after j-pouch surgery?”

I honestly love the questions

I could rave about how wonderful my j-pouch is and how it gave my life back to me… but I know that my story is not everyone’s story. There are some out there who are living with complications related to the j-pouch. Others are dealing with j-pouch failure.

Is it right for me?

Many of you are still living with a sick, ulcerating colon. I have had multiple questions about whether or not a j-pouch is right for you. I wish I had a quick and easy answer for you, but it is a lot more complex than that.

I can tell you that the j-pouch has been just right for me

It has some drawbacks, like any treatment, but life has improved since I had surgery. I no longer worry about the nearest bathroom. I no longer lie in bed day after day wondering how I’m going to survive the pain. My j-pouch has been good to me. If you’re tired of trying medication after medication, a j-pouch may be just what you’ve been looking for. 

What about j-pouch failure?

You’ve seen the stories on the internet bashing the j-pouch I’m sure. It’s true that the j-pouch isn’t a perfect fix and it doesn’t work for 100% of patients. However, 95% of patients report a better quality of life with the j-pouch. Not to downplay someone else’s pain; some of my best friends have lived with j-pouch failure. Most successful j-pouch patients aren’t on the internet telling you about it because they’re out there living their lives!

This is the reason I continue to tell you my story

I want you to know that you can have a life after surgery. You can have children after surgery. I also want you to know that should my j-pouch ever fail (knock on wood), I would be ok with living with a permanent ostomy because life with a sick colon is over. 

When do I know if it’s time?

 The answer to this is it depends! Every patient is different. Every disease is different.

For me, I had gotten to the point where no amount of medication was helping me. I was sick of waiting for the treatments to start working. I was tired of feeling like a lab rat. My doctor wasn’t being helpful either. At the end of my colon’s life, my doctor and I weren’t getting along at all. He was tired of not being able to help me… and I know my disease frustrated him. He finally told me there was nothing else he could’ve done for me, and that I should probably consider surgery.

I could have easily gotten another opinion or found another doctor, but I had been flaring for almost a year. I was ready to change it. I had browsed the internet for other j-pouch stories and found that the success rate for surgery was high.

The bottom line is if you are wondering if surgery is right for you, do your research. If you’re tired of medication failure after medication failure, talk to your doctor. Talk to other patients! Many patients who are living with a j-pouch are more than happy to answer your questions. The decision to get a j-pouch is a very personal one.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Ikeuchi, H., Uchino, M., Matsuoka, H., Bando, T., Takesue, Y., & Tomita, N. (2012). Clinical Outcomes After Restorative Proctocolectomy With Ileal Pouch Anal Anastomosis Using Ultrasonically Activated Scalpel for Ulcerative Colitis. Retrieved from


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    9 months ago

    Thanks for writing about this topic. So many IBDers have this question and it’s nice to hear from someone who has had a positive experience.

    Wishing you the best!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • txgal58
    11 months ago

    I wanted to comment on my 21 yr old j pouch. I wouldn’t change anything about having the surgery! I’ve had some complications since I developed Crohn’s but having the j pouch is something I wouldn’t change.

  • Jaime H moderator
    11 months ago

    I love a good success story, but am especially happy when I see people share positive stories about their surgical outcomes. Especially with j-pouch. Congrats on doing well and cheers to many more years of awesome to come! Thank you for sharing your story! Holland ( Team Member)

  • gpalmarella moderator
    11 months ago

    @txgal58 Thanks for commenting about this! I know it will be helpful for others in the community to see that your j pouch is something that you’ve had success with and wouldn’t change. -Graceann ( Team Member)

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