Irrigation: Explained for Colostomies?

Karate Girl

Can someone explain irrigation to me? My doctors have never mentioned it. I had a colostomy. Is it only for ileostomies?


The only thing I know is that irrigation can be performed with a colostomy, but not with an ileostomy.

My understanding is that one can develop an ongoing regular irrigation schedule which makes ongoing management much easier. Hopefully a colostomate will respond and provide more information to you.

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Karate Girl, if you click on Collections at the top of this page, and then click on Premium Content, there is a section on Ostomy and Irrigation. You will find lots of forum posts there on the topic. If you have specific questions after reading that information, come back here, and we'll try to answer them.



Hello Karate girl.

Thank you for your post, which is a subject that often comes up with new ostomates. I am saddened that this subject is still not part of a routine discussion with the medical people, but patients still seem to need to bring the subject up first. 

I found a reasonably interesting site which explains it all However, If you Google youtube -stoma irrigation, there are some very informative vidoes on the subject.

Irrigation is usually recommended for Colostomies, but not everyone is suitable, so it is best to discuss the procedure and prospects with a stoma nurse prior to attempting it. 

If you are a suitable candidate I would recommend it wholeheartedly, as it empties out the bowel and you should not need to wear a bag.  This has tremendous personal and social advantages in the management of the stoma and in helping us to live a relatively 'normal' life. (whatever that is!)

Best wishes



I irrigate and learned how to do it from the YouTube videos. It is simple but you are clumsy at first but become a pro very fast! Look at the YouTube videos and we can help you with any questions you may have. There are lots of folks on here that do irrigate!
My Dr never said anything about it either but I knew there had to be something better out there. It was a lifesaver for me! Not that it is perfect because for some of us, it is and some just a little less than perfect.


How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Karate Girl

Thank you all for your advice on where to find info on irrigation! You all have been very helpful. What's amazing nowadays is that patients have to do so much "research" on their own compared to back when doctors took their patients' crises more seriously and would even do research themselves to hopefully find an answer. I miss those days.
Karate Girl


It is amazing that we have to figure most out for ourselves, but luckily, we have this site. If you irrigate, you can either use a belt to secure the sleeve during the process or wear a two-piece, like I do. The sleeve snaps onto the flange just like the pouch for a secure fit. I have some horror stories during my learning process. As usual, they are funny now but not so much at the time. Please ask any questions you have once you have viewed YouTube videos. They make it look like a really clean process. Not quite so, but then no poo is ever a clean process! 

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