Medical treatment of pouchitis: a guide for the clinician

Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2021 Jun 27:14:17562848211023376. doi: 10.1177/17562848211023376. eCollection 2021.


Pouchitis is the most common complication in patients who have undergone restorative proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA). Up to 81% of IPAA patients experience pouchitis, with 40% of patients presenting within the first year of surgery. Common risk factors include genetic mutations, extensive colitis, rheumatologic disorders, and primary sclerosing cholangitis. Currently, there are no medications with approved indications for pouchitis. As such, the conventional treatment of pouchitis is entirely off-label. This paper is intended to be a practical and up-to-date review of available therapies used for the management of pouchitis. The mainstay of treatment for acute pouchitis remains antibiotics, but newer therapeutics have also shown promise in the treatment of chronic pouchitis. Common lifestyle considerations that may play a role in pouchitis are also reviewed.

Plain language summary: Medical treatment of pouchitis: a guide for the clinician The ileal pouch-anal anastomosis ("pouch") is the most common way patients who require surgery to remove their colon are able to avoid a permanent ileostomy ("ostomy"). This pouch, created from the small intestines, serves as a reservoir to hold stool. The most common complication after pouch surgery is pouchitis. Pouchitis symptoms include more frequent bowel movements, urgency to defecate, blood in the stool, incontinence, and abdominal pain. This paper is intended to be a practical review of available therapies including medications and lifestyle changes that can be considered for the management of acute pouchitis, chronic pouchitis, and cuffitis.

Keywords: antibiotic; biologic; ileal pouch-anal anastomosis; inflammatory bowel disease; pouchitis; ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Review