Edmund had his colon removed and a J-pouch created in 2014 after experiencing severe ulcerative colitis. Two years on he reflects on some of the things he wished someone had warned him about...
1. How much your insides can gurgle at times and how loud that can be. Not so much a problem when around those who know that you’ve had your insides rebuilt but can make you very self-conscious in public situations such as work meetings!
2. How gassy it gets when you are partaking of the facilities. I swear there are times I think I’m going to need a seatbelt to hold me onto the toilet it’s that powerful! Suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) I’m used to all manner of toilet horrors but with my j-pouch the smell can be horrendously potent and what comes out can make quite a mess at times. Again, friends and family can be understanding and get used to the smell of air freshener but I’ve had a few cheeky comments sent in my direction after using public toilets!
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3. How fizzy drinks make my insides very uncomfortable. Being Scottish I have a natural addiction to Irn-Bru (other soft drinks are available) but I have to remember to shake the bottle a bit before each sip to ensure that as much of the fizz has gone otherwise my insides end up bubbling away like a witch’s cauldron
4. On a more serious note, what to do if I got a blockage. I had a couple of blockages in the first year after my surgery and the first time it happened not only was it excruciating but I didn’t know what to do at the time. Touch wood it’s only happened a couple of times but now I know what the symptoms are and what to do now. (If you don't know then I'd strongly recommend discussing with your IBD consultant or nurse the symptoms and what to do in the event of a blockage)
5. How quickly liquids work their way through your system and how easily you can get dehydrated in hot weather or while exercising. Similarly, how quickly your body absorbs alcohol once you are colon-free: maybe I’m just going soft in my old age but after one large glass of wine the world starts spinning round and round.
What things did you wish you knew before having J-pouch surgery? Comment at the bottom of the page.