I’m scheduled to undergo the first step of a two-step J-pouch procedure in June. I’m male and currently living in a 3 bedroom/1bath apartment with two male roommates of roughly the same age (late 20s). The living situation has been good so far, my roommates tend to keep to themselves  and the rent I’m paying is pretty good (<20% of take home monthly salary)  for a location that’s pretty close to work in an expensive city (Boston). I really have nothing to complain about.

However, given the changes that will happen following the surgery (temporary ostomy bag for a few months, very frequent bowel movements in first few months after takedown, need for someone to take care of me during recovery periods, etc),  I’m debating whether I need to move to a larger apartment (also shared with roommates) where I can have access to my own bathroom. The rent for such apartments that I’ve been able to find (reasonably close to work)usually cost an additional 10-15% of my take home salary, which is something I don’t really want to pay because I’m saving for a house. 

My question to you all is: has any of you gone through the j-pouch surgery while living with roommates and sharing bathrooms? What was your experience like? How did you resolve conflicts with roommates caused by the anatomy change? I’d appreciate any and all advice. Thanks!

Original Post

I went through it 5 yrs before the move to Paris and the roommates but I lived with them (all sorts, ages, sizes, nationalities...) for close to 20yrs...with my k pouch.

I had over a dozen revisions, all sorts of hook-ups, gadgets, buckets, leg bags, leaks...It didn't matter...I lived with it. So did they. No one complained, no one noticed most of the time...I just used more space in the bathroom and put an old champagne bucket in the toilet-room (no sink, just a toilet)...everyone gurgled, stank, farted, peed and used their bodily functions happily.

They get used to it, stop noticing it and so will you once you have acclimated to your new situation.

If you are the really shy type then maybe it is worth it to you to spend + 10-20% of your salary for a bit more privacy...It was not an option for me...and we all survived.



Hello, Fapnewbie.  Are you and your roommates reasonably close and good friends and you know they will understand the discomfort and pain you will have, perhaps help you during recovery and do things such as grocery shop for you, maybe pick up a prescription, pick you up from hospital if you had general anesthetic, heat up soup, food, or make a cup of tea for you?  

If you are perfectly okay with them and others knowing about you and your pouch, then you could be okay sharing the apartment. You could put all your supplies in the bathroom in a plastic storage bin with lid, or a covered basket, for your own privacy and ease of access, or keep it in your own room. When I had my temporary ostomy bag I had a schedule:  I would shower before breakfast (when the stoma and house was at it quietest and my stoma was not shooting out food and waste) and I changed my ostomy bag in my bedroom where my supplies were already laid out on the bed in the order I needed to put them on. I did this every three or four days, a complete change, but more often if it leaked. I learned to change the bag in under 10 minutes, but it took a week or two to get this down pat. So, you might not need to perform your bag changes in the bathroom -- unless your stoma is very active and spitting.  You might just need the bathroom a lot AFTER your takedown when your new j pouch will be very active, 10 or 12+ times a day. Be prepared that when you change your ostomy bag it will need to be taken to the trash, outside, if possible, because it will be messy and smelly. My used ostomy bag always went into a plastic bag, sometimes double-bagged, knotted securely, and taken to the outside trash so no smells lingered in the bathroom and the house did not smell at all. I had a small supply of cleansers, disinfectants, bathroom Lysol wipes, collected plastic grocery bags, paper towels (for the spitting stoma!). This kept the bathroom and toilet rim clean.

Have you told your roommates about your upcoming surgery?  I only told a few people I trusted completely because I am the shy type when it comes to something like this. I printed a diagram of it off the internet so they would see it and have an understanding. It's less mysterious and confusing that way. It all depends how much you need your privacy, how much they (and perhaps guests) can handle, and can you count on their discretion, now, and in future, if that matters to you. It can be an awkward, mysterious, painful, messy, uncomfortable process, taking at least a year from first surgery to recovery after takedown. It's a major surgery and big change. On the other hand, you might welcome the company and comfort of close friends. If you do upgrade to an apartment with private bath, it might only take a year longer to have your finances together for a house. Do what feels best for you, financially and personally. 

My husband quickly moved into another bathroom when I had my j-pouch surgeries but if we hadn't had 2 bathrooms I am sure we would have made it with one. 

Something else to consider is how the j-pouch output, poop, can burn the skin.  There is more bile in it and therefore you need to keep yourself very clean.  More than toilet paper alone can do.  I got a bidet seat that really helped me with my j-pouch.  It required an electrical outlet close to the toilet and that was all.  Before the bidet I had a hand held sprayer that was attached to the toilet to help clean.  There are also portable bottles with nozzles that you can use to wash the area.    You will want to use one of these or a lot of wipes.  You might want to consider this in your decision.

Another hint regarding the ileo bag disposals.  I rinse out the inside of the bag before I remove it and that cuts down on the smell plus I use ziploc like bags to dispose of them.  This will help you in disposing of the used bags until you leave the apartment.

Just a little footnote...

I have a lot of senior-citizens-in-laws...hubby's family is large and all over 80. 

We had a family dinner the other night and once they left hubby took me into the bathroom to see the mess on the toilet seat and accused me of leaving a dirty seat behind for his siblings to find...(horror of horrors!)

I laughed. I cried...I couldn't stop laughing.

I asked him in what parallel world did he think that my butt could leave skid marks on a toilet seat! 

I reminded him that there was no possibility for the evening's farts to belong to me nor the skid marks...my skidder has been sealed shut since 1979!

It took him a minute to realize what I was saying and laugh....

'Normal' people make messes too...don't sweat it too much!



So I underwent the first step of 2 surgery in 2006. The recovery after coming home from the hospital is very hard. There is a lot of gas pain and bloating and you may even need morphine. During this time bag output will be very watery and you will have to empty frequently. So if your two roomates are friends and very supportive and realize that you will tie up the bathroom a lot, then I think it's ok. If you have the extra money to move into a bigger place with your own bathroom then DEFINATELY do it.

14 years after takedown, I will not use a public bathroom if anyone else is in the bathroom because of the atrociously loud gas explosion noises that come out of me when I poop.  I don’t use any bathroom at home or at someone else’s home if people are in close proximity to the bathroom because I’m totally embarrassed of the gas! My husband thinks I’m crazy to care what others hear, but I can’t help myself. If it’s just my husband and kids, I’m okay letting the gas rip, but not with anyone else!!! And in order to empty the internal j pouch entirely, I have to push out all the gas!!  This self consciousness is my own neurocis and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody else. It sucks!

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