Pouchitis - ten non-medical ways of avoiding and fighting it
Pouchitis is a condition that all people with an ileoanal anastomosis
or pull-through surgery will suffer from time to time. It is basically
a painful inflammation of the inner pouch, can occur at anytime. The
standard medical way of dealing with it is antibiotics, mostly Flaggyl.
Over the past 15 years, I have taken a totally different approach, the
natural way. Here is a compilation of what I have learned so far.
Note: I have added a new page that outlines new things I have learned since writing this piece.
This does not invalidate anything on this page, I still believe the following ten points will help to keep your intestine in
good working order, thereby reducing the risk of getting Pouchitis.
1. It is better to avoid than to fight pouchitis
In my experience, Pouchitis is definitely triggered by behaviour,
mainly poor choices in diet. Specifically, for my own body, this
condition seems to be caused mostly by sugar, wheat, and to a lesser
degree dairy products. If I eat or drink too much of these foods, for
too long, I get Pouchitis. The amount of these foods consumed has a
definite effect on how quickly I get it, but the length of time that
these foods are eaten on consecutive days also has a measurable effect.
The intestine has it's own defences, and it can well fight off
Pouchitis if it is given enough time to recover without offending
The list of foods that trigger this might be different for you, but the
three that I have listed are definitely mentioned frequently in
connection to this disease.
2. The earlier you fight it, the better
Pouchitis gets worse the longer it is allowed to exist. As soon as you
become aware of having this condition, you need to react, and change
your diet and lifestyle to make sure you do nothing to help it along.
3. Anti parasite cleansers
If you become aware that Pouchitis has made a home in your intestine, a
few days of anti parasite cleansers. Basically these are pills that
contain different types of spices and other natural compounds that are
known to fight parasites in your intestine, and in my own experience
are also excellent in keeping Pouchitis under control.
4. Make sure that food does not stay long in your pouch
Especially when having consumed those no-no foods, it is best to make
sure they don't say long inside of you to give them minimum time to do
damage. So make sure you visit the washroom not just when it is
convenient, but when you feel that there is something there. Remember,
your small intestine, which is what your internal pouch is made from,
it not really meant to hold such matter, it is meant to absorb
nutrients from it while it passes through.
5. Keep your intestine working
Talking regular walks for at least 1/2 hour every few days (an hour
every day would be perfect) is a wonderful way of keeping your
intestine healthy. The activity of walking is very helpful in making
sure your intestine is transporting wastes along. Prolonged periods of
sitting can at times bring your intestine to a complete standstill. In
one of my other articles, I found that sitting in an airplane for a
prolonged period (7 hours) was especially bad for this. Should you have
to sit for this long, make sure you take a really long walk right after
to make sure things are once again moving. When I am saying a long
walk, I am talking about at least two hours. I will personally walk for
four hours if I can. As well, the method of walking has an effect on
how well it works. Hiking in mountains or hills works especially well,
better than on a flat path.
6. Listen to your body
Your intestine will actually let you know which foods it does not like.
One such food for me is eggs, or more specifically the yellow of the
egg. If I eat those, within two hours I will have to go to the bathroom
rather urgently. I have noticed the same thing about foods that are
deep-fried, especially potato chips. In fact, any foods that are filled
with certain types of oils seem to be bad for me. This is my body
telling me "I don't like this stuff, get it out of me NOW!" Your body
is trying to talk to you, start listening to it.
7. Avoid stress
My own experience tells me that when I am in high stress situations, my
natural defences suffer, and my immune system is not as effective as
when I am relaxed, calm, on control. Avoiding stress is generally a
good idea, but it also has an effect on Pouchitis, and your intestine's
natural abilities of fighting it off.
8. Eat foods rich in fibre
Much of the battle to keep pouchitis under control is to keep your
intestine in top shape. Walking is good for this, but so is eating
foods that are rich in fibre. I find that eating rolled oats, not the
quick cook variety but the traditional style, is very good. It seems
that my intestine enjoys such a workout once in a while, but it is not
something I do on a daily basis. It is better to alternate these foods.
Selecting the right type of food for this purpose is easy, just eat
them and see what your body tells you.
9. Intestines need iron to keep healthy
The Intestine needs iron to rebuild it's lining. Foods that are rich in
Iron are a fantastic way to get this mineral into your body, better
than pills. Actually, I once tried to use pills to do the same thing,
and was tested for iron in my blood stream before and after a three
month of taking the strongest iron pills on the market, with absolutely
One of the most effective ways I have found to replenish my iron stores
is spinach juice. I have a special recipe that I use that I find very
effective: Talk one to two cups of fresh spinach, one apple, three
large carrots, and one lemon. Use a juicer to extract a drink form
these ingredients that looks horrible but tastes quite good. You can
also add celery, beats, or oranges for taste. The lemon is very
important because Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. You don't want
to add to many sweet fruits to this because of the sugar content.
If you have run really low on iron, then an iron injection might be a
good idea, but of course you need a doctor or nurse to do that for you.
My personal preference is IV iron injections which you don't feel at
all. IM (Intramuscular) Iron injections hurt like hell, especially if
they are given badly. But most doctors don't want to give IV
injections, so you might be stuck with IM. Best to never let your
stores drop low enough for you to need them. Since I have cut wheat out
of my diet, I don't need them anymore.
10. Eat the right foods
Contrary to what other colitis pages might tell you, I have personally
had some great results with spicy foods, like jalapenos peppers. Keep
in mind that this is not something you want to do every day, just once
in a while to 'clean things out' that might have settled in.
I also have very good results with just regular white rice, which seems
to be my carbohydrate of choice. Sushi is a food that I both love, as
well as find that it has a positive effect on me intestine health. Tea,
especially green tea as well as peppermint tea is good for me as well.
I avoid any type of pop whenever I can, and even fruit juices are
frequently too high in sugar.
Everyone's body is different in terms of health and nutrition. Things
that work for one person might not necessarily work for another. The
important thing is that you find out what works for you, and find out
what is not good for you, and live accordingly. I find that, by
following a moderate diet, my occurrences of pouchitis have decreased
substantially, and my dependency as well as the frequency with which I
need to resort to medical cures has dropped significantly. As well, my
overall health has increased substantially and I feel better and have
more energy. I hope I can help you do the same.
... some time passes, it is now the fall of 2007, and I have learned some new things about Pouchitis:
Pouchitis and Candida - Cure and avoid this painful condition
Living with(out) Ulcerative Colitis, a new hope ...
Living with Ulcerative Colitis - Details of the pull-through surgery
Ulcerative Colitis Medicine - Cure or just Masking Symptoms
For more interaction check out ...
My Colitis / IBD / Pouchitis Blog
Disclaimer: These as well as all the other documents on this website are based on my own personal
experiences, and are not a replacement of a professional opinion by a qualified physician, for all that this
was worth in my case. The purpose of sharing my experiences with you is to help you get through this, and to
learn of other ways of dealing with your condition. I am not a medical doctor, I don't have any sort of formal
training in this or any other medical field. The only thing I can offer you is what it was like for the past 20
years and what it is like now, and in the future. Any advice I give is to be taken into consideration, and you are
welcome to act upon it at your own risk. I am not saying it will help you, or that it will not hurt you, all I am
saying is that this is what I learned, and I am wanting to share it with you. After that, you have my best wishes
for success and happiness. And if you find something that works for you, please, share it with the world, because
we need to know more than what modern medicine is telling us, which is not enough. Be well.
Copyright@2000-2011, Juergen Amft, All rights reserved