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Going Home: Part IV

Some frequently asked questions that patients have following ileal J-pouch anal anastomosis surgery are:

  • How will I feel when I go home?
  • Are there any activities that I should avoid?
  • Are there any rules regarding basic hygiene?
  • How will the surgery affect my sex life?

The following information should answer these concerns.

Activities
While you were in the hospital, you spent a lot of time in bed. Once you get home and are a bit more active, you will feel much more tired. This is normal.

Pace yourself and allow adequate rest periods. However, it is important that you be up more each day, so you can regain your strength. Be patient, but persistent, and you will begin to feel your strength and energy return to normal.

Some basic do's and don'ts are as follows:

What You May Do   What You May Not Do
Climb stairs

Lift a gallon of milk or anything less than 20 lbs.

Walk—Walking is an excellent exercise.

  Lift anything heavier than 20 lbs. Heavy lifting can cause a hernia and pain.

Any exercise that strains the abdominal muscles, including sit-ups, crunches, and weight lifting

At first, you will probably find it difficult to get up from your bed or a nap on the couch. The best way to get up from a flat position is to turn on your side and push yourself with your arms.

Hygiene
When you return home, you may shower. However, you should not take a bath for a week. It is usually hard on the abdomen to get in and out of a bathtub, so we do not recommend taking a bath until you are stronger.

You also may not swim for at least one week after you get home.

Sex
Following major surgery, you may not feel like having sex. This is a normal response. Your body takes time to heal and adjust. Vaginal intercourse is not recommended until six weeks after your surgery to allow time for healing. Check with your doctor.

Many women are concerned about whether or not they can have children after surgery. It may be reassuring to know that women can and have had children after undergoing ileal J-pouch anal anastomosis surgery. However, it is vital to protect the anal area from injury during child delivery.

During the time you have the temporary ileostomy, you might feel that the pouch makes you unattractive. Studies have shown that when there is a good relationship between two people, this is not a problem. Just be sure that the pouch is clean and empty. If you wish, you may tape the pouch up, cover it with a scarf, a cummerbund, or with a pouch cover.

Generally, most patients feel that sexual relationships improve after their operation because of an improved state of general health.

Remember: Try to relax, take your time, and listen to your body. Your body will let you know when sex is okay. When we do not feel well, we just are not interested.

One Day at a Time
While recovering from surgery, it is best to take it one day at a time. Try not to look at everything all at once. Instead, learn to pace yourself and adjust your activity accordingly.

Remember: When it comes to your medical needs, you are your own best advocate. Listen to your body and trust your intuition. If you believe something is wrong, do not hesitate to contact your physician or other qualified members of your healthcare team.

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