Question: Are there foods which can cause, or help to avoid pouchitis?
Answer: Pouchitis, or inflammation of the pelvic pouch, is a well recognized complication of pelvic pouch surgery. Approximately 10 to 25 percent of patients experience an episode of pouchitis at some time.
Our experience has not indicated that food intake causes pouchitis. Patients with pouchitis have been found to respond well to antibiotics, which suggests that bacteria are major participants in the inflammatory reaction. Nothing has been published in the research literature to indicate that specific food or food preparation methods contribute to the inflammatory reaction of pouchitis.
After pelvic pouch surgery follow a meal pattern that consists of three main meals, or four to six smaller meals, taken throughout the day, depending on your tolerance. It is important to take meals at regular times, to give your bowel a consistent message. Choose nutritious foods from each of the four food groups: breads and cereals, meats and meat substitutes, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products as tolerated.
Increasing the intake of dietary starch products that are easily digested, such as potatoes, pasta, and soluble-fibre sources (oat bran, oatmeal bread, and barley) is important. These starch products enhance the production of an important intestinal fuel called short chain fatty acids. Short chain fatty acids are readily absorbed by the intestinal mucosa and are important because they provide a source of nutrition to the mucous membrane of the bowel. In the lower end of the bowel, short chain fatty acids also stimulate the absorption of sodium (salt) and water.
The easily digested starches mentioned above should act to assist the pelvic pouch to adapt to its new role.