Pouchitis is the most common complication following proctocolectomy and ileal pouch-anal anastomosis in patients with ulcerative colitis. We aim at discussing relevant information on epidemiology, clinical features, risk factors, diagnostic testing, differential diagnosis and treatment of this idiopathic inflammatory condition.

A computerized search of PubMed was performed with the search term ‘pouchitis’, limited to English papers on humans. This strategy identified 514 references. Relevant articles were selected from this list. In addition, the reference list for each of the selected articles was reviewed to identify any additional references.

Pouchitis occurs in up to 60% of patients after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis for ulcerative colitis, and has characteristic clinical, endoscopic and histological features. The most important test for diagnosis is pouch endoscopy with biopsy. Antibiotics remain the mainstay of treatment, and other options are discussed for those patients who are refractory to antibiotic therapy.