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Pouchitis – causes, side effects and treatments at

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 by

Pouchitis is the inflammation of the intestinal wall of an ileal reservoir or pouch and often occurs the pouch becomes irritated. This pouch is a result of a surgery called proctocolectomy which is done to treat bowel diseases. The condition can cause frequent urges to go to the toilet, bloating, stomach cramps, and lower abdominal pain.

This condition is classified into two types:

  • Based on the duration of symptoms – acute versus chronic
  • Based on the response to antibiotics – antibiotic-responsive versus antibiotic-dependent versus antibiotic-refractory

Known risk factors and symptoms of pouchitis

Risk factors for pouchitis include:

  • Genetics
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Growth in platelet counts after a proctocolectomy
  • Inflamed liver bile ducts
  • Presence of certain antibodies in the blood system
  • Excessive smoking
  • Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Underlying health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease

A person can determine if he/she is suffering from pouchitis by watching out for these symptoms:

  • Frequent bowel movement
  • Painful spasms and straining of the anal sphincter
  • Pain and/or difficulty during defecation
  • Blood in stool
  • Incontinence
  • Abdominal cramps and pain in the lower abdomen
  • Tailbone pain

Severe cases of pouchitis may include the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Poor nutrition
  • Anemia
  • Low levels of vitamin D
  • Severe joint pain
  • Fatigue

Body systems affected by pouchitis

Other than the digestive tract, pouchitis causes no other complications in the human body.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent or relieve pouchitis

When a person is diagnosed with pouchitis, it is vital to take care of the digestive system. The following list includes foods and nutrients known as home remedies to treat digestive problems:

  • Aloe vera – Contains laxative that supports regular bowel movement. It also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties beneficial to an inflamed digestive tract.
  • Apple cider vinegar – It has an alkalizing effect and improves digestion. ACV is also good in treating indigestion, bloating, stomachaches, and heartburn.
  • Asafetida – It has antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-flatulent properties good for the digestive system.
  • Ginger – It helps to improve digestion and efficiently prevents and/or reduces nausea, vomiting, flatulence, indigestion, bloating, and diarrhea.
  • Fennel seeds – It provides relief from intestinal spasms and bloating.
  • Peppermint – It also helps treat digestive problems, similar to ginger.
  • Probiotics – Strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria found in probiotic foods help normalize and balance the gut.
  • Psyllium husk – It promotes regular bowel movement and overall digestive health.
  • Turmeric – Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory properties.

Treatment and management options for pouchitis

Treatment for pouchitis depends on whether the condition is classified as acute or chronic. For acute pouchitis, a few evidence hint at ciprofloxacin as an effective medication. For chronic pouchitis, VSL#3, a refrigerated probiotic, can treat it.

Where to learn more


Pouchitis is the inflammation of the intestinal wall of an ileal reservoir or pouch. People suffering from the condition may experience symptoms such as frequent bowel movement, painful spasms and straining of the anal sphincter, pain and/or difficulty during defecation, and blood in the stool.

Some of the risk factors include genetics, excessive ulcerative colitis, smoking, and inflammation of the liver bile ducts. By far, pouchitis has no known effect on other parts of the body, except the digestive system.

To treat the condition, it must first be determined whether it is an acute pouchitis or chronic pouchitis.

Sources include:


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