About IA

Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Association, known as IA, is a registered charity supporting people living with an ileostomy or internal pouch, their families, friends and carers.

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 headed by Professor Bryan Brooke. At the time, little was known about the impact surgery and living with an ileostomy had on a person and so patients would talk to other patients to share their experiences and help to alleviate any feelings of isolation. From this IA’s visiting service developed which is one of the many services still offered by IA today. For a full history of the association click here.

The colon (large intestine) can be damaged or diseased for many reasons leading to surgical removal. These can include inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, cancer, FAP (Familial Adenomatous Polyposis), motility issues (bowel lethargy leading to slow transit of food) and trauma to the abdomen.

With a Brooke ileostomy, named after Professor Bryan Brooke, the lower end of the small intestine (ileum) is brought out through the abdominal wall (known as an ileostomy), and bodily waste (poo) is collected in a bag stuck onto the abdomen. When the bowel is brought out through the abdomen, approximately 1-2 inches of bowel remains outside the abdomen – this is known as a stoma.

Alternatively, a patient who has ulcerative colitis or FAP may be able to choose to have an internal pouch, which involves the construction of an internal 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 appliance (bag) as the pouch remains inside the body after being surgically constructed and allowed to heal. People who have Crohn’s disease cannot usually have an internal pouch.

In 2018 latest figures report over 9000 new ileostomies being created annually (NHS website 2018) and over 400 new ileoanal pouches (ileoanal pouch report 2017)

A copy of IA’s Annual Report can be obtained from National Office.