Ostomies & Fever: Any Link?

Jan 14, 2021 10:14 pm

Good afternoon, O'mates

I woke up around 3 a.m. today with a 102.3-degree fever. I felt sort of funky before I went to bed last night and had a terrible time getting my hands and feet warmed up before I fell asleep. Suffice it to say that - in our current era of COVID-19 - I am not at work today and am anticipating a return call from my doctor for advisement. Currently, my fever is gone and physically, I feel normal, like I could be working at the office. (Yes, my mom and I are taking all COVID precautions.)

Now, there could be a myriad of issues that brought the fever on: COVID, influenza, delayed reaction to my first-of-two shingles vaccine (received last Sunday, 1/10)... or something not even on the radar at this time. (My pharmacist told me today that it is rare but possible to experience a delayed shingles vaccine reaction, especially being immuno-compromised.)

I had on-again, off-again fever experiences like this last November, quarantined at home for 16 days while waiting for COVID testing results (Negative): couldn't warm up hands and feet in bed, waking up in the late night/early morning hours with a fever that responded quickly and well to 500 mg. of acetaminophen. However, this morning's fever was higher than any I had in November.

So... thinking about it this morning, I want to ask: have any of you other ileo-/ostomates experienced this phenomenon? Or, am I just "special" like that? LOL

I would appreciate any insights or speculations. Thanks so much!


Past Member
Jan 14, 2021 11:52 pm

Hi Lily,

I hope you are feeling better and get some answers... mountain.

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Jan 15, 2021 12:12 am

I hope your fever is gone and you're feeling all better, Lily.

Jan 15, 2021 12:21 am

Hope you are feeling better and can get some answers from your doctor. Best wishes and stay safe

Jan 15, 2021 12:37 am

Hi Lily.  Just by your contributions here, you ARE special.   Sorry I can't offer qualified assistance for your medical situation but I think you're doing all the right things.  Hope you let us know soon that all this is behind you.



Staying Hydrated with an Ostomy with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Jan 15, 2021 12:44 am

Hi Lily,

Sorry you're feeling under the weather, that always sucks. Are cold extremities and fever the only symptoms? No sore throat, cough, muscle or joint aches? When you had the fever, was it consistent or did it come and go? Any issues with output or your stomach? Any headache? When you say you couldn't get your hands and feet warm... how did you try to warm them up? Just fever and cold hands/feet is a bit odd. Have you been checking your temp routinely, even though you don't feel like you have a fever? Any chance you've been bitten by anything (tick, bedbug, saber-toothed tiger)?


Jan 15, 2021 9:14 am

Hello Lily.

Sorry to hear about your fever.  These things are sometimes quite hard to pinpoint a cause, as the body can react to almost anythiing in this way. I broke out in a massive sweat the other day, simply because I desperately needed a pee and was not in a position to relieve myself. Most of the time I feel cold, but that is because I have very low blood pressure and poor circulation. However, periodically I break out in a sweat for no apparent reason. It somehow seemed more acceptable when I was having a heart attack, because I could point to the probable cause. I also find that I have the sweats when I have a blockage, but that is accompanied by enormous pain, so too, is explainable. Sometimes I react badly to certain medications  (perticularly laxatives) which has much the same effects as blockages in that they cause me great pain and sweating. These are just some of the random identifiable reasons for raised temperatures. However, I still think that the ones that do not have identifiable cause are the ones that create the most concern.

Here's hoping you get better soon. 

Best wishes


Jan 15, 2021 11:18 am

Most likely a reaction to the shingles vaccine, just like your doctor said. Some people report a slight fever after the Pfizer vaccine, including a favorite sister who got it in London. She refused to come back here until she got the shots first. Wise girl. Get better soon. Best wishes.

Jan 15, 2021 1:45 pm

Hi Lily, sorry to hear you are not feeling good. Usually a fever is the culprit of other issues going on. Any sore throat, sickness pains? The cold feet could be a bit of a circulation issue. My guess would be delayed reaction to shingles vaccine. I had one and felt terrible for a couple days after the second dose. Good luck getting some answers. Stay well. Penguins7

Past Member
Jan 15, 2021 8:01 pm

Your just "special" LOL.

Get well soon, beautiful lady.

Jan 16, 2021 2:44 am

Hi Lily,

Hope you feel better and certainly find some answers! My neighbor got a shingles shot and was sick for a week but I do not know if it was delayed reaction or immediate. I have never had one but then, I have never had the chicken pox.

I am one of those people that does not own a thermometer. Never had need of one. Might need to wait till all this Covid stuff is over before I buy one. Hard to find anything like that these days.

Keep us posted,


Newbie Dana
Jan 16, 2021 7:09 pm

Yes, I, too have the "phantom fevers" every 3-6 months ever since I had the perforated colon that led to my ostomy. No doctor has ever been able to definitively pinpoint the exact cause, although most of them suspect the colon perforation (which just won't heal and which has led to rectal bleeding off and on for the last 5 years). I have been scoped 6 ways from Sunday, through both my ostomy and through the rectum along the stump of my colon. Good news is I definitely don't have a recurrence of the cancer which led to the radiation which led to the perforation which led to the ostomy (in the house that Jack built ...).

What does this mean for you? You have, somewhere in your body, an infection or severe inflammation which is leading to the fevers (most probably). A fever is the body's reaction to infection or inflammation, and is a natural response to the insult to your body. When you can pinpoint the source, a doctor can help you fight it, with perhaps antibiotics to attack the SOURCE of the infection. Since you had this fever more than once, and particularly before you had your shingles vaccine, there is probably something else going on that started all this; although it is possible that the vaccine might TRIGGER an additional instance of the fever since you still haven't eliminated what caused it in November.

What 4 different doctors have told me is basically - learn to live with it. Having eliminated recurrence of cancer and significant obvious infection at the perforation site, their options would be massive antibiotics (not optimal), exploratory surgery (strongly discouraged), or monitoring the situation. As long as the fevers respond to acetaminophen or ibuprofen and don't linger more than a day or two, they are not overly concerned. Don't work while you are experiencing an episode (if nothing else, for your co-workers' peace of mind!). And I would log when and for how long you experience the fever, so you have information for your next doctor visit.

As you so rightly noted, just because past episodes couldn't be pinned to a cause, there's no guarantee that future episodes aren't flu, Covid, reaction to vaccination, etc. That's the problem with such a generic symptom as "fever". It could mean so many different things!

Best of luck and stay safe.

Jan 18, 2021 4:36 am

Hey there, O'mates!

Wanted to post an update:

I'm hanging in here, and my Mom's just fine. nbsp; I am no longer quarantining.

I saw a doctor on Saturday, and even after prefacing our conversation with "ileostomy...immuno-compromised", "shingles vaccine last Sunday", "chronic pneumonia" and "forgot mask and breathed in cold air when I took the trash to the curb Wednesday night", all he heard was:

102.3 degree fever

So... Doc insisted on performing a COVID test, with results he thinks available either this Wed. or Thurs. Until then, I'm off work with no pay, in spite of my protest: "I was planning to go back to work Monday!" nbsp

I think those last two symptoms were "red lights", though, and the doc felt it safest to test for my peace of mind - and proper treatment if a Positive result - and that of my employer and co-workers. nbsp; Yes, in this era of COVID, I can understand his position. nbsp; Admittedly, I have become so nbsp;tired of doctors thinking they know my body - and how it's feeling - more than I do. nbsp; (Granted, if the test comes back Positive, I know my arrogance could be deadly. nbsp; And, if it's Negative, the doc's certainly too busy to think back on our exchange.)

Having thought back on what I was doing, and when, before the fever hit: nbsp; I did take the trash streetside for pickup Wednesday night. nbsp; It was cold, and I had forgotten to wear a mask to protect my lungs from the cold. nbsp; My pneumonia from November never did clear up completely, and I think that cold air hit my lungs hard, leading to the fever about 5 hours later, followed by an increase in productive coughing.

I am on another round of azithromycin(?)/Z-Pak antibiotic - which was the least I was hoping for - and am continuing acetaminophen to help prevent my nighttime fevers, and to knock them down when I do get them. And, he gave me a bronchodilator inhaler for emergencies if I can't catch my breath. Admonished me to get to the ER if I get worse.

Bob, you asked very thought-provoking questions, as always. nbsp; :) nbsp; Symptomology: nbsp; Only cold hands amp; feet (placed hands on warmer body areas, wore warm socks to bed), intermittent fevers (treated with 500 mg. acetaminophen, as needed, with a very large glass of water), and an all-over "ick" feeling in my body, like I've experienced previously with the flu (including last November), intermittent, mild, productive cough (stayed well-hydrated, increased dietary Vit. C., apple juice/cider/sauce/fresh apple as a natural expectorant).

No GI issues or headaches. nbsp; No chance of insect or extinct predator bites - sorry. nbsp)

As for checking my temp regularly: nbsp; I haven't. nbsp; Mid-morning Friday I thought I felt fine, but checked it and had a temp of 99.2. nbsp; Saturday morning I thought I felt feverish, but had a temp of 98.2. nbsp; Maybe I've become hypersensitive to my fever status.

While attempting to warm my cold hands on the opposite upper arms Friday night, I noticed that the injection site for my shingles vaccination was considerably warmer than the areas around it, or the same area on my other arm. nbsp; This was before I remembered exposing my lungs to cold air Wednesday night, so I thought, "That's it - I'm reacting to the vaccination!" nbsp

I hope everyone continues to be safe amp; healthy. nbsp; Big, Non-Germy E-Hug to All! : )


Jan 18, 2021 4:53 am

Lily17, I hope your test comes back negative and you get well of all the other symptoms. Best wishes and stay safe.

Jan 18, 2021 5:04 am

Hi, Dana! :)

If I had been in your shoes, I would have been quite frustrated at limited diagnostic options. But, with the possibility of dire complications with certain procedures, I can understand your and your medical teams' hesitation. Thank goodness you remain cancer-free! :)

Yes, I'm pretty certain that chronic pneumonia & the shingles vaccination played a very large part in my fevers. We'll see what my COVID test results are later this week, and how my lungs respond to the antibiotics and my dietary changes.

I've been an ileostomate almost 3 1/2 years, and November was the first time since my surgeries that the origins of fever have been in question. I told the doctor Saturday that I believe - even on the round of azithromycin in November - that the pneumonia never fully abated. And, yes, I logged my fever incidents for his review.

Thanks so much, Dana - and stay well!


Jan 18, 2021 1:17 pm

I have had two tests done, once when I was exposed to some folks who had the virus and once when I had a cold. Anyone trying to figure out whether they have a cold/flu or COVID have a real uphill task as many of the symptoms are similar. An oximeter helps, if the readings are in the high nineties, you are okay. Also, a fever in a cold is rare but common in COVID as is a dry cough without phlegm. Sneezing and a clogged nose are not common in COVID. In any case, trying to guess what it is not a good idea. The test is always advisable, you did the right thing. Best wishes.

Jan 18, 2021 7:57 pm

Good morning, Bowsprit!

Yes, the similar symptomologies of COVID and other respiratory ailments are tough for both patients and medical professionals to wade through.

My oxygen level was 95 on Saturday. And, I believe the antibiotics are kicking in - expelling more phlegm, and breathing more deeply is easier. *Fingers crossed!*

Thanks so much for weighing in on this, Bowsprit - and do your best to stay healthy. :)


Feb 20, 2021 5:29 pm

I have had some very serious delayed reactions to vaccines, biologics, etc. I think having an autoimmune disease makes us more prone :-(