Strengthening your sphincter muscles

Sphincter muscles help control bowel function and are an important component to maintaining bowel control after the IPAA procedure. Like for any other muscles, exercise is important to strengthening and toning your sphincter muscles. Linda Alexander, a certified wound and ostomy nurse at the IPAA Center, discusses how to perform pelvic floor exercises that are designed to strengthen and tone the sphincter muscles.

Fiber and your IPAA

It is important to pay attention to the amount of fiber in your diet after each step of your IPAA surgery. Learn more about the two types of fiber and how to add fiber into your diet after your IPAA. If you are concerned about your nutritional needs after an IPAA, ask your primary care physician about a referral to BMC’s Nutrition and Weight Management Center where a registered dietitian can help with meal planning and your IPAA.

Post-Operative IPAA Diary

It is important for your physician to know how your body functions after your IPAA. You can use this diary to keep track of your bowel movements, diet, fiber, and loperamide use.

Medline Plus from the National Library of Medicine


  • Please note that medical concerns should be addressed by your healthcare professional. We do not guarantee any information listed on the sites to be medically accurate nor do we suggest you use forums for medical purposes.

First-Hand Accounts of the IPAA Procedure

  • The The United Colon Vlog contains video and written diaries of two young patients who underwent the IPAA procedure for treatment of their inflammatory bowel diseases. Nadia and Dennis share their personal accounts of living with IBD, the stages of their surgeries (including ostomy tips), and how having an IPAA has affected their lives. The United Colon Vlog provides an insider’s perspective for patients contemplating IPAA surgery.

Pouch Support Sites

  • The J-Pouch Community is a web community founded by William Johnson, a patient who underwent the IPAA procedure. This community is entirely dedicated to providing information and support regarding the ileal pouch-anal anastomosis. Information found on this site includes a step-by-step explanation of the j-pouch procedure, an overview of the digestive system, easy to follow dietary advice, and Q&A on issues that arise both before and after the procedure.

Ostomy Support Sites

  • The American Cancer Society's Ileostomy Guide is aimed at helping patients gain a better understanding of the difference between IPAA and ileostomies, how they affects the normal digestive system, and the changes they bring to daily life. In addition, this site features helpful advice on ileostomy management including stoma care, pouch systems, and solutions to common ostomy problems, as well as tips for returning to normal activities.
  • The Gay & Lesbian Ostomates website addresses the unique needs of gay ostomates. The site also features a helpful resources page for gay and straight ostomates alike, including information about sexual relations after surgery.
  • The Ostomy Association of Boston is a resource for patients who have, or will have, an ostomy. With support meetings throughout the greater Boston area, patients can come together to learn, exchange ideas, and offer emotional support. Patients, family, friends, and caregivers can become members of the OAB for a small fee. The OAB’s Ostomy Resource Guide explains the different ostomy procedures and care options.
  • The United Ostomy Associations of America is an association of affiliated support groups committed to improving of the quality of life of people with ostomies and other intestinal and urinary diversions. The UOAA website contains helpful information on how to care for an ostomy and provides listings of area support groups. The site also features an active, thriving discussion board. The UOAA’s guidebook explains each step of the IPAA procedure in detail and contains helpful post-operative advice.
  • The Young Ostomate & Diversion Alliance of America provides both community and resources to young adults, ages 18 to 35, with ostomies, diversions, or are preparing for a similar surgery. Here you will find information about national events, local events, helpful resources, and ways to stay connected in this community. Affiliated with the UOAA (see above), YODAA is dedicated to providing education, information, support and advocacy as it addresses the concerns of young adults who have or may have intestinal or urinary diversions or alterations.
  • Traveling with an ostomy and afraid of getting a bit-too-thorough pat-down? Patients with medical conditions (such as an ostomy) can present a card to TSA officers, which discreetly notifies the screeners in advance to expect things like ostomy bags continuing urine or stool. The TSA has a template for such a card on their website. Please note: this card does not excuse you from the screening – it just alerts the TSA officer to expect something a bit unusual.