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Need irrigation help!


Hi, I want to try irrigation! My leaking stoma is ruining my quality of life! Yes, I've tried everything, short of a 3rd revision to my stoma. Do I have to find a Ostomy nurse in my area or can I do this on my own?

I also want to know which brands are the best out there. I'm partial to Coloplast but would love to hear from y'all what works for you.

I would so appreciate any advice!


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You did not say whether you have a colostomy or an ileostomy as that makes a difference as to who is an irrigation candidate. Also, if you check in the forum, there is a "irrigation" category with a lot of helpful posts.   Karen


Hi KathyMac,

Irrigation is not difficult, but it does take some getting used to. First off, do you have a colostomy? Ileostomates would need to check with their doctor; it is unlikely that irrigation would be helpful for them. I did ask my ostomy nurse, but what was actually way more helpful was checking all the videos on YouTube. There is a special place in heaven for people who post those videos! I should tell you that I don't irrigate all the time, because it takes a few hours, from start to finish. But if I want about 36 hours uninterrupted by bathroom trips, then I do. So if I am going out for the evening, for example, I definitely irrigate.

I use the Coloplast irrigation kit, but I prefer the Hollister sleeve; they can be bought separately. I like to irrigate in the evening, a few hours before I go to bed. It is important to point out that you need to be well hydrated before you start, because if you aren't, your colon will just absorb a lot of the water you put in it.  I hang the water bag using an S hook from the shower curtain rod. It has a temperature gauge on it, so I can see if the temperature is OK. Your stoma will retract if the temperature is too hot or cold, so it's important to get it right. I stand in the bathtub while irrigating because I don't want to get the floor wet (in fact, I put an old shower curtain on the floor in case of accidents). I take my appliance off completely and put the sleeve on, using a belt, with the hole over my stoma. Clamp the bottom end, and I stick it in the belt, just so it isn't hanging there. Take the nipple end of the tube attached to the water bag, and gently put it in your stoma, from the top of the sleeve. You don't need lubricant for this. I like to stick a finger in my stoma first to see which direction I need to point the nipple - your colon won't likely be coming in straight from behind your stoma. Be aware that your stoma will retract when you put the nipple in. That's normal. Just give it a minute, and try it again. When you've got the nipple in place, use the regulator dial to gently allow water to flow into your stoma. Be especially gentle the first time; when you get the hang of it, you can be more assertive. I try to get about 1,000 CC's of water in, but honestly, so much leaks out during the process (that's why I'm standing in the tub) that it's really hard to be accurate. If you start to feel crampy, ease off on the water until you feel better. 

When I have the requisite water amount in, I take the nipple out and clean it and the water bag. Then I just wait for my colon to do the rest. For me, this is the part that takes so long. I often have some output very early (which I drain into the toilet) but the rest can take a couple of hours. So I keep a housecoat on, and generally sit and read or whatever, getting up to walk around occasionally to encourage movement. When I feel that the process has finished (sometimes "late returns" can be a surprise), I put a small cap over my stoma, and that will last me usually 36 to 40 hours, depending on what I eat or drink. Other people will get more or less time. 

So that's it, really. I hope others will weigh in on this too, because everyone will have different experiences, and suggestions that I won't have thought of. In fact, if anyone else wants to comment on what I've said, please feel free. I know there are lots of people who have been doing this longer than I have, and I would be happy to hear their thoughts. 

Kathy, I would suggest that you Google and YouTube colostomy irrigation, and if you have specific questions after that, please ask.



A Stoma nurse should teach this procedure and make sure irrigation is safe for your stoma. If you are a candidate for managing your ostomy with irrigation, it is a good idea to do the first irrigation while under medical supervision due to the risk of low heart rate, low blood pressure, and loss of consciousness from stimulation of the vagus nerve.


irrigation is actually quite simple if you qualify. i would ask my surgeon or ostomy nurse before you try it. you must have some descending colon left and it must be healthy. as was mentioned there are several videos on you tube that demonstrate it clearly.  i have been irrigating for about 12 years and cant imagine life without this wonderful tool to manage my ostomy. i use the coloplast 1511 irrigation kit, hang it so the bottom of the bag is about shoulder height, carefully adjust the temp of the water to body temp. i use 1500 cc of water, you may want to start with 1000 for your first try. i have the best results irrigating early in the morning after my morning coffee but BEFORE i eat. after you get the water in, wait 1 hour for your return. take a book or magazine to pass the time and wait the full hour even tho most everything will be over in the first 30 mins. if i can be of any help just message or add to this post. good luck :)


Irrigation is all trial and error.. please if you have a colostomy do it.. it's changed my life gave my confidence back.

I do Mine every other day in the evening. 

I can get it all done just outside an hour... on a good day

I prefer to sit on a low seat/stool in front of the toilet.with the sleeve in the toilet when I'm putting the water in.. and stand up to let it  out..  put you will definitely  find your own easy ways to suit your body's needs..

Good luck..


Hi Laurie,

Wow! I have never heard of this! What a great thing! I've had 2 colostomies but now an ileo so I guess it's not for me. Dangit! 

I can pass on the info, though. Thanks for the explanation. :)


I have been irrigating for two years and even if it is not 100% successful, it still improves your quality of life 10 fold! 
As everone else mentioned, involve your Colorectal Physician and /or your Stoma Care Nurse. It can change your life! It did mine! 


Hi Laurie!
I APOLOGIZE for my super late response! Wow you really gave me the facts! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your time and good heart you obviously have!

 I like your idea about irrigating before  a social outing! 
I'm taking your advice on watching YouTube videos also! 

 Thanks so much!!!!




If you wear a two piece appliance, it is ease to pop your pouch off and pop on an irrigation sleeve. Sure helps to get more life out of your flange and you can't wear any size pouch. I would suggest a drainable to begin with even if you don't plan on using it. If you use a cap, there is no room for mistakes. Theydo make closer end pouches that do hold a lot of output until you become comfortable leaving the house with just a cap. It does take some time to for your Colon to learn it will be emptied every day at the same time. I have some hilarious storms of my learning days. They are hilarious now, not so funny then. You learn as you go and become a pro in no time! I have used Coloplast. The plus with them is there is a temperature gauge on the water bag. 
but the wheel has a really screwy piece I never figured out! Lol So, I used all Convetec irrigation supplies, the hose to the water bag is longer and easier and also use their two piece systems! I hate using a belt to irrigate to hold the irrigation sleeve in place! If you use a two piece, you don't have to worry about a belt. A little bulky compared to the daily one piece but you get used to it. 

So, you posted your original comment in June. Have you tried it? How does it work for you?

Very curious to hear your thought. 

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