IA, the Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Support Group (formerly known as the Ileostomy Association of Great Britain and Ireland), is a mutual support group which has the primary aim of helping people who have had their colon removed.
It was started in 1956 by a group of people who had ileostomies themselves, together with some members of the medical profession. It was the first ostomy association in the United Kingdom and it is a registered national charity (no. 234472). For a full history of the association click here.
Certain inflammatory bowel diseases, e.g. ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, sometimes cause such considerable damage to a person's large intestine (colon) that it becomes necessary for a surgeon to remove it entirely.
With a Brooke ileostomy, the lower end of the small intestine (ileum) is brought out through the abdominal wall, and the body's waste matter is collected in an externally attached bag.
Alternatively, a patient who has ulcerative colitis may be able to choose to have an internal pouch, which involves the construction of a reservoir from a section of the ileum, after removal of the affected colon. Someone who has a pouch does not need to wear an external ileostomy appliance (bag). People who have Crohn's disease cannot usually have an internal pouch.
It is estimated that there are more than 20,000 people in Great Britain and Ireland who have had to have their colon removed. This means that you might well have already met someone who has an ileostomy or internal pouch, and know that they are able to lead perfectly normal lives.
A copy of IA's Annual Report can be obtained from National Office.