Chronic disease like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease can cause patients a good deal of anxiety and emotional distress. For some, the condition can lead to severe depression which requires treatment and possibly drugs from a mental health professional.
To lessen the emotional impact of these chronic intestinal diseases, consider two options. First, seek out emotional support from a therapist or an in-person or online support group. But since there’s no cure for colitis or Crohn’s, you’ll probably have to consider surgical ileostomy alternatives to improve your quality of life.
Ileostomy surgery is required when your colon and rectum must be removed due to a medical condition like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, cancer or familial adenomatous polyposis. Without your large intestine and rectum, you’ll need a way to eliminate solid waste from your body. Fortunately, there are several options. Dr. Schiller can recommend the best ileostomy alternatives based on your unique history and condition.
The traditional ileostomy option is called a Brook ileostomy. This option requires wearing an ileostomy bag on the outside of your body. You will not have control over when you eliminate waste and there’s a chance your skin surrounding the stoma, or opening on your abdomen, will be damaged. While many people adjust to living with an ileostomy bag, there are other surgical options that provide greater independence and freedom.
An ileoanal J-pouch creates a reservoir from your intestine and connecting it to the anal canal. You’ll have anywhere from four to seven bowel movements a day, and you’ll be able to control when you go. Most patients can wait an hour after the first urge to emiminate. However, many patients who opt for a j-pouch experience leakage, multiple frequent stools, chronic skin irritation, gas and can even develop a fistula between the pouch and skin.
A Barnett Continent Intestinal Reservoir, or Barnett pouch, is the best option for colitis and polyposis patients. During this surgery, a pouch is made using your small intestine. A small, self-sealing valve (also made from your own intestine) keeps waste inside until you’re ready to empty it using a small catheter. Most people have to empty the pouch three to five times per day. The stoma does not protrude from the skin. Rather, it’s flat and you’ll only need a discreet covering to absorb mucus. Because of its structure, the Barnett pouch will not leak stool onto your clothes.
If you’ve had a traditional ileostomy or j-pouch surgery, Dr. Schiller can perform reversal surgery and create a Barnett pouch. To learn more, contact the The Center for Ileostomy Surgery at Olympia Medical Center today.