J-Pouch: FAQs

To know what a J-Pouch is, I invite you to read my previous article: Construction of a J-pouch (Part 3 of 3). Here are some frequently asked questions about my J-Pouch.


Can you eat anything you want?

I avoid spicy food because they’re really irritating to the anus. I also avoid soda and gas-producing food. However, if I eat or drink one of them, I can have some cramps, but nothing alarming.

Do you go to the bathroom often?

No. Especially thanks to a supplement I take (I use USANA). I go to the bathroom 2 or 3 times a day and I don’t get up at night.

What do your stools look like?

Since my colon is missing, I will never again have solid stools. They’ll always have a soft consistency; this is why I avoid eating spicy food because this could create irritation.

Do you do all the activities you want?

You always have to plan ahead, I mean I can’t go on a getaway very long if there is no toilet nearby. On the other hand, if it’s in the woods, during a hike for example, I simply bring toilet paper and baby wipes along in case I need them.

Do you regret your decision of having a J-Pouch?

Personally, this is one of the most beautiful gifts I have given myself. Now, more than anyone else, I realise the importance of the bowel. It’s not something acquired, and we must take care of our body.

Do you allow yourself to drink some alcohol?

Yes of course. However, I don’t abuse it. I drink 1 or 2 glasses of wine on Saturdays. It should be noted that as soon as I drink alcohol, my stools become liquid.

Since you have a J-Pouch, can you fart again?

Yes. It was strange the first time I had gas, because, when I had my ostomy, everything was going out into my bag without me realizing it. It's crazy to say, but it's like I've control of my anus again.

Do you have anal exercises to do?

My surgeon strongly recommended to me to work on my sphincter retention a few times a day. Well, I contract it for about 5 seconds and then release it. I do this exercise 5 times in a row, 5 times a day. Among other things, I do it once when I wake up and once when I go to bed. This allows the sphincter to maintain its tone and prevent, over time, its relaxation, which could cause anal leakage.

What did you notice weird in your stools?

It’s funny to realise what the colon can do to make our stools solid. Now, I can see what is less easily digestible from the rest of the food. Corn for example.

A little story... I remember the first time I ate strawberries after my J-Pouch. In the evening, when I went to the bathroom, there were some traces of red in the toilet bowl. I was completely freaked out. I felt like I was one year before my ostomy surgery. I got weak just thinking that I had blood in my stool. I thought, "That's it! I'm sick again" I took deep breaths and took a while to calm myself down. I wiped myself and, happily, there were no traces of blood on the toilet paper. I began to remember what I had eaten during the day and started laughing, while crying. At the same time, I remembered what someone with a J-Pouch had told me a few weeks earlier about a faecal experience with strawberries. What a relief! Now, as soon as I have doubts about whether or not there are traces of blood in the toilet bowl, I take a moment to remember my menu of the last 24 hours.

Do you still have stomach pain like before your stoma?

Since I was operated on for my ulcerative colitis and found myself with an ostomy, and then a J-Pouch, I have never had these extreme stomachaches again.


Cindy Groulx

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