low potassium, totally exhausted

Been feeling a lacking of energy & motivation last couple of weeks, maybe months but never realised; today & yesterday feeling totally exhausted and my muscles everywhere feeling tender and aching, like after a weight lifting workout but not the good feeling of a good workout.

Due to my exhaustion, I had a blood test last Friday and results today show low potassium.

I'm required to have an emergency blood test to confirm result but earliest time available is midday Friday; so much for an emergency blood test.

However, in the meantime nothing has been prescribed and by time my Doctor will know of the "emergency test" result it could be late afternoon Friday or the following Monday morning.

Therefore, should I begin consuming potassium enriched foods or would doing so effect my emergency blood test ?

Original Post

The "emergency blood test" is something I had done as well, but it was right after takedown.  The reason why it's called an emergency blood test is because low potassium is a dangerous situation for your heart.  When my emergency test results came back low they came in with liquid potassium.  It's deep red and looks like blood, and it has an awful taste, but the nurse looked at me gravely and told me to drink it up.  They do not IV it because low potassium or a jolt of too much potassium can cause cardiac events.  

Were you given any dietary restrictions for the test?

If not, I would eat a banana for sure, that will help.  Low potassium is not good for you.

I drink power aid all the time and gatoraid and smart water I have noticed when I do alot around the house I get to feeling like you discribed.My three all had there colon removed and I tell them all the drink drink drink then drink some more.Carry a drink with you all the time.I have had a j-pouch since 1994

hope you feel better


I drink lots and two or three times per week I drink an emix solution, which is supposed to replenish lost electrolytes.

I had my takedown during Jan 2015 and haven't experienced any issues or complications since

My dilemma; will consumming potassium enriched foods now affect the results of the emergency blood test and possibly mask the true cause or should I of been prescribed something to replenish my potassium in the meantime ?

Whichever, surely the blood test result will be affected ?

I was advised, only last year to have annual blood test and on this occasion I've only seen the phlebotomist.


I phoned Doctors Surgery, although I didn't actually speak to a Doctor, but told my potassium level is 3.2 and it should be 3.5 and although low it's not excessively low.

I explained my level of exhaustion and aching tender muscles but still advised to wait until after the blood test for a course of action.

Okay that’s good news. When I had the emergency test after takedown my potassium was alarmingly low. I was in Mount Sinai Hospital and a nurse rushed into my room and with a note of urgency in her voice, said I had to drink the liquid potassium right away. She had a Dixie cup filled with it. I tried to sip it at first due to the foul taste, and she admonished me in a stern voice to drink it all immediately which I did. I later learned that they don’t like to IV liquid potassium because it’s too shocking to the system and can cause cardiac arrest.

As to the cause of your potassium deficiency, assuming you are properly hydrating with electrolyte beverages, you should speak to someone after getting your results. In the months after takedown, I had wild fluctuations in my potassium and sodium levels which aren’t unusual. If you are 3 years removed from takedown your Pouch should have assumed most electrolyte absorption functions of the colon, although it’s not a perfect replacement. Going forward you may need to eat more potassium laden foods like bananas etc. Good luck.

Thanks for your response CT, yeah I had to take potassium tablets during one of my UC flair ups, whilst an inpatient during the 1990s, big brown foul tasting balls, which made me vomit within minutes of taking them; due to the vomitting, it was suggested I take the liquid potassium instead but I don't remember it being administered.

If you wanna get a high dose of potassium quickly without a prescription, just drink classic crystal lite for a few days. It's more economical than buying high-dose potassium citrate pills and will give you more medicine than you can get from food. I take mega doses of potassium for kidney stones and it's cheaper to drink cyrstal lite vs buying Urocit-K pills with something like 1080mg of potassium per pill. 


You may also want to consult with a registered dietician to see whether your diet may be a bit lacking in potassium-rich foods.  After my takedown I was strongly encouraged to eat potassium rich foods, and my surgeon gave me a model diet to eat after takedown.  Back in those days I was eating a lot of Gerber baby bananas which are actually pretty good!  While the J Pouch makes all of susceptible to electrolyte imbalances, we can sometimes correct the situation with normal dietary changes, without taking large amount of supplements.

Add Reply

Likes (0)
Copyright © 2018 The J-Pouch Group. All rights reserved.