People with ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease where chronic inflammation affects the large intestine and rectum, can experience debilitating symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fatigue. The condition can cause so much disruption to everyday life that many consider having surgery, which may cure the disease completely.
SELF speaks with Feza Remzi, MD, director of NYU Langone’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, on what patients need to ask, consider, and understand when deciding whether surgery is the best option to treat ulcerative colitis.
Dr. Remzi discusses the ileal pouch anal anastomosis procedure, more commonly known as a J-pouch procedure, and how many experts use a staged approach. “Your doctor may need to perform two or three procedures before you have a fully functioning J-pouch, and the number of operations you have depends on the severity of your ulcerative colitis symptoms and your overall health.”
Dr. Remzi recommends being honest with your surgeon and asking them any tough questions that will make you feel more confident about the procedures. “Do not be afraid of putting the surgeon and the team on the spot about their publications and their experience,” he says. “After all, this is a significant operation, and you deserve to have an understanding doctor who will work with you as a team.”
Read more from SELF.