The Experience of Living With an Ileoanal Pouch: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of individuals living with an ileoanal pouch. A qualitative, phenomenological methodology was used to elicit detailed accounts of the impact of living with an ileoanal pouch. Ten individuals having an ileoanal pouch, formed as a consequence of ulcerative colitis, participated in the study. Semistructured interviews were conducted and analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The following 4 themes emerged from the analysis: “a flood of emotions”; “changed body image”; “changes in lifestyle”; and “intimacy and sexual relationships.” Participants indicated that their quality of life after surgery has improved because they were no longer suffering from the devastating symptoms of ulcerative colitis. However, a considerable number of these participants disclosed that they are still living a restricted lifestyle and reported profound changes not only in their physical self but also in their social and sexual relationships. By acknowledging these experiences, healthcare professionals have the potential to improve the psychological, sexual, and social care that these individuals receive.

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