Eating Your Way to a Better Pouch

When planning their diet, a pouch patient should ask themselves two questions: “How am I going to achieve an adequate nutritional intake?” and “How will what I eat affect my pouch?”.

Nutritional intake

When considering the first question you must bear in mind that it is desirable to take a varied and well-balanced diet, and vital to take plenty of fluids and keep salt levels to.

Typically you should drink 6 to cups of fluid a day (1½ to 2 litres) in the form of water, tea, coffee and unsweetened fruit juices. You should also add a teaspoon of salt to your food every day because without a colon you are at risk of not absorbing the salt your body needs to stay healthy.

There are times when you need to be extra careful about keeping your fluid and salt intake up. These are when you are suffering from vomiting, diarrhoea or excessive perspiration due to hot weather or exercise, and also during the first few weeks after surgery.

At times like these increase your fluid and salt intake, and if necessary take oral rehydration fluid (you can buy sachets of powder for this from your pharmacist).

As always, if the condition is severe, or persists, seek medical help.

Eating and your pouch

As far as the effects eating has on the pouch there are no set rules. Pouch function is often just as affected by your eating pattern as it is by individual foods. If you think your food is adversely affecting your pouch keep a food and symptom diary.

It is worth retrying problem foods - they may not cause you problems after a while. But always bear in mind that variety is essential for good health.

Eating patterns

Obviously bowel frequency increases with the number of meals eaten. If you feel you are suffering from going to the loo too often try consuming no more than three meals a day. If you are troubled by getting up in the middle of the night to empty your pouch try eating your last meal of the day earlier, and perhaps make your largest meal of the day at lunchtime.

Food effects

Different foods have different effects on different people. What may cause one pouch patient a problem may not bother another. However, the following guidelines make sense for many pouch patients.


Soluble fibre thickens the consistency of the stool and therefore reduces frequency. This can be found in oats, peas, beans, lentils and barley. Insoluble fibre holds fluid but encourages faster transit time, thus increasing frequency. This can be found in wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals.
Increased output.

Foods which increase output are:

  • alcohol
  • caffeinated beverages
  • citrus fruit
  • chocolate
  • beans
  • leafy green vegetables
  • raw fruits and vegetables

Another culprit is sugar which attracts fluid into the small bowel through osmosis causing a larger, more watery stool.

Decreased output

The following foods decrease bowel output:

  • bananas
  • rice
  • cheese
  • creamy peanut butter
  • tapioca
  • white bread
  • potato
  • suet pudding

Avoiding wind

Chew your food thoroughly and cut down on fizzy drinks if you are troubled by wind. Wind can also be caused by talking too much during a meal!


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The 2018 Information Day will take place on Saturday 12 May 2018 at St. Mark's Hospital, Harrow.

Download 2018 Information Day Poster

2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the invention of the Pelvic Pouch at St. Mark's Hospital, and we are delighted to have Professor John Nicholls one of the pioneers and foremost experts on the subject as keynote speaker giving his personal reflections on 40 years of the pouch operation.

You can download the  Agenda by clicking on the link below.

Download the programme for 2018 information day.

You can download a Registration form by clicking the link below.

Download a Registration form for 2018 information day.

Last years event was a great success attended by 54 people (excluding Committee members and Presenters).

Recordings of presentations from last years Information Day can be viewed on the web site. 

Please note, the latest edition of ROAR! contains an incorrect date for the information day.

The correct date is Saturday 12 May 2018.

For further information please contact

Susan Burrows
Membership secretary 


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