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Butt Burn

Butt Burn… can you say those words without a little snigger?  I’m not talking about having a bit of a dodgy tum after a curry, I’m talking about the pain and discomfort that people with a j pouch suffer from.  Let me explain a bit more.

When you have had your large intestine removed, a pouch is formed from your small intestine and this is attached to your rectum. This means your digestive path is an awful lot shorter than usual and the acid from your stomach may not be fully neutralised by the time it reaches your bum. Your large intestine is also responsible for removing the water from the food we eat, without it, your poo becomes liquid rather than a solid poo. That combined with the smaller ‘storage’ space inside means that most people with a pouch go to the toilet multiple times a day.

The combination of these things can result in butt burn. A severe irritation of the skin around your bum that results in a painful burning sensation.

So what can you do about butt burn?

Well firstly many people recommend flushable, sensitive toddler wipes instead of toilet paper. The skin is very delicate and if you are going at least 5-6 times a day with a liquid poo, the amount of rubbing and wiping can further irritate the skin.

Some people use a bidet to wash themselves after a poo. For me this seems like too much of a faff. But when it’s been severe, I have gone and sat on the bidet for relief! I have also heard that some dry their bums off with a hair dryer. That’s not one I have tried but if it works for you, then go for it!

Barrier Creams are my weapon of choice. I was given the comfeel barrier cream by Coloplast when I left hospital but also use Metanium and Bepanthen which are two nappy rash creams that help. Metanium is very good, but it’s very yellow and I find it stains my skin and clothes a bit. Bepanthen is fab too, but I do find it a little too greasy. Which is why I end up using a combination!

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Controlling butt burn through diet is not as simple as you’d imagine. It is not a case of if you eat spicy food, you will get the burn. I can eat Indian food absolutely fine, but eating oranges is agony (I still eat them now and again though as I love them!) Certain foods can cause problems one time but be fine the next and so it’s important to not remove one food from your diet forever as it can be changeable.

Some people recommend eating a lot of carbs (bread, pasta etc) to bulk up the stool. The thinking behind this is that the thicker the stool, the less wiping and the less irritation.

“A sitz bath or hip bath is a bath in which a person sits in water up to the hips. It is used to relieve discomfort and pain in the lower part of the body. It works by keeping the affected area clean and increasing the flow of blood to it.

A sitz bath may be created simply by filling a bathtub with some water and sitting in it for a few minutes. Alternatively, a large basin can be used. There are also special devices that fit into toilet bowls. Sitz baths may either be warm or cool. Some people find alternating between hot and cold water soothing. Sitz baths may be filled with just water, or substances such as salt, baking soda or vinegar can be added.”

The above comes from Wikipedia I haven’t used a sitz bath or bowl, but a proper bath is always quite soothing and worth a try.

I suppose the biggest thing is to speak to your GP or consultant about your butt burn. It’s not something you should be embarrassed of, and they may be able to give you a solution. I hope my post has been a little helpful in your plight for a less burny bum hole.

I know things like this can sound like a joke, but the reality is that dealing with these things every day can becomes a source of anxiety and really affect both your spirit and day to day life. I write about these things to bring the subjects that us pouchees have to deal with to the table. I hope my post can make it a little easier to deal with.

Love Sam x

As I sit here on a bidet crying…

Well THERE’S a title I never thought I would post!

Seriously though if you are reading this looking for some of my usual positivity, step away now. I am writing this in my bathroom sat on a bidet having spent the last 20 minutes crying. Right now I am feeling bloody sorry for myself.

My kids are away this weekend at scout camp and as they have a whale of a time, Timm and I are having a weekend to ourselves and so far it’s been fab. On Friday I had a new tattoo!!! By the fantastic Glen at Fat Stans in Dinnington, my newest tattoo is line drawings of flowers. My tattooist is great and I’d recommend him very highly, I know he reads this blog from time to time and he makes a point of asking me about my surgery and recovery. It is brilliant to talk about it and normalise the whole process!

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Last night we had friends over and had a brilliant evening with good food, booze and daft games. Today we have been to a double bill cinema day (Tammy and The hundred year old man who climbed out of a window and disappeared)

I was having stomach pains in the cinema and had to go to the bathroom a couple of times. I HATE going to public toilets now. The reason is embarrassing. When I go for a poo since having my pouch surgery it is VERY loud. The passing of stool comes with gas and it sounds pretty much like this.

The plan was to then come home, have a Chinese and just hang out together. Only I was desperate for the loo, we’ve got home and unfortunately my (hilarious) chalk board has been reset to 0…

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As much as my comedy board does make me chuckle sometimes today it’s made me so sad. It was on 7 and so this feels like a huge set back. I’m embarrassed. I’m angry. I’m heart broken.

I don’t want to write about this really as I don’t want everyone to know.

But I promised myself I would talk about all aspects of my disease, surgery and recovery.

I hate that my husband has to deal with this. I hate it. I don’t want him to see me like this. He is wonderful and just gives me a kiss and tells me it’s fine. But I feel like I’ve taken a punch to the gut when I think about how this aspect of my illness makes me feel so low.

I’m sat on a bidet because of the butt burn. I’ve yet to blog about this yet. Basically the large intestine neutralises the stomach acid in poo. Without it, my waste is really acidic and harsh on my skin. I wear creams and potions to help but sometimes it’s still unbearable. It feels like acid is burning into my butt. It’s itchy, painful and does really feel like a burn.

So I’m feeling particularly pathetic tonight. Please forgive my moaning but right now I just feel weepy, sad and disgusting.

All I can do is dry my eyes and remember tomorrow is a new day.

Thanks for reading, at the times when I doubt whether I should write about these things, when I cringe at the thought of people reading this and laughing or judging me I remember the reason I do this. The reason I run this blog and bare my soul is to share my experiences, #stoppoobeingtaboo and to hopefully make life a tiny but easier for others living with ulcerative colitis, crohns or with an ostomy or a pouch.

I know this helps because every day I get emails, messages and comments from people all over the world telling me it’s helping them. I am eternally grateful for every one of these messages, I can’t put into words how important it feels to be making a difference in the lives of others and it spurs me to continue.

If you are reading this as an IBD patient and I’m scaring you I am sorry, the only thing I can say is this.

You are not alone. You CAN get through this. It’s OK to have rubbish days as long as you pick your self up the next day and carry on being awesome and so bad ass.

And now I’m off to take my own advice!!

Sam xxxxx