Severe Post-Op Pain 1 Month After Colostomy - Seeking Advice

Feb 02, 2021 12:25 pm

Good day,

I am one month post-op after a colostomy where the entire rectum was removed. Stitches were removed about a week ago and I still have such intense pain that I can barely sit. My surgeon gave me permission to drive locally, but I can't even get in and out of the car. I feel like I was just cut. My home nurse said there is no infection so I am wondering....Why all this pain at this point? Does it take a long time for that area to heal? They gave me oxycodone but I don't like the feeling I get from it. Thanks for any input. Maybe I should just take the darn pills. I am afraid of addiction

Joe Cal

Feb 02, 2021 1:41 pm

Joe... When I had my surgery, both ileostomy and butt and cavity were sewn up, I was in so much pain. Coupled with the internal infections, I was in the hospital for a month. Once home with IV antibiotics and a daily nurse, I still took my pain meds (oxy) as well. I did not drive with my butt discomfort. It took me 5 months in total to finally feel my butt pain decrease and weekly visits for the surgeon to measure my butt and add silverdeen (or something like that) to speed up the healing.
Be patient and slowly decrease your meds. I sat on a pillow for a long time... then one day, I just sucked it up, knowing the pain will disappear. I feel nothing now, just a bad dream... but be patient... rest when needed and keep walking, that helped. Ritz

Gray Logo for MeetAnOstoMate

Why Join MeetAnOstoMate?

First off, this is a pretty cool site with 34,013 members. Get inside and you will see.

It's not all about ostomy. Everything is being discussed.

Many come here for advice or to give advice 🗣, others have found good friends 🤗, and there are also those who have found love 💓. Most of all, people are honest and truly care.

Privacy is very important - the website has many features that are only visible to members.

Create an account and you will be amazed.

Feb 02, 2021 1:41 pm

Hi Joe,

I've not had the procedure you've had, but speaking from a pain management perspective.........if you still have that much pain a month after.......I'd be a bit concerned. The first question the pain you have now better/worse/the same as it was when you left the hospital? If there's been no change or it's worse your Doc's should investigate. If it's lessening then maybe recovery from the type of operation you had just takes a long time......others who've had it will hopefully chime in. Taking Oxycodone a month after seems a bit excessive to me. A week, maybe two tops sounds right, but not a month later. To be honest it sounds like you and your Doc need to have a better relationship.......meaning better communication.

In terms of addiction I wouldn't be too concerned. You have to be on a pretty high dose for a pretty long time to really get addicted. So unless you're a wimp and take them for a should be good. The majority of folks who take them do NOT get addicted or even close. If you follow your Doc's recommended dosage and time interval you won't have any problems. Just don't get the mindset that if 2 make it feel better 4 will help more. Follow your Doc's instructions.

Your post is a bit odd in the fact that the medical community focuses heavily on pain management these days, since Big Pharma won't develop any cures for they normally beat a path to your door to make sure you're not in any pain. But in your case that doesn't seem to be the case. Hopefully those who've had the same operation will jump in here and share some perspective. Sorry I can't be of more help.



Feb 02, 2021 1:50 pm

Also Joe .... if you're getting a feeling in your head from the oxy ... then yes, your dose is too high. Talk to your pharmacist (I used to be one) ... cut your pill in half or a quarter. Take just enough to dull the pain in your butt.... not your head. nbsp
But do not drive taking them. nbsp

Feb 02, 2021 4:05 pm

Hey Joe,

Sorry to hear of your pain and discomfort. The surgery will take time to heal. I also had very painful abscesses to deal with along with my rectum being removed. Do you have an inflatable donut to sit on? The donut made things a lot more comfortable when sitting. Good luck. Penguins7

Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Past Member
Feb 02, 2021 4:06 pm

Having your rectum/anus removed is one of the worst areas to heal. It can take months or longer for some. What you can see outside is nothing compared to what's going on and healing inside. You just tend to learn to cope better with the pain so you can sit down for longer after a while.

There's always a chance you have an infection inside. Usually, when you do, the skin feels hard and firm, but not always. How's your temperature? Is it high or are you having hot and cold sweats? I'm sure your nurse will have already checked for any signs of infection.

You can get doughnut and butterfly-shaped cushions to sit on. Butterfly is the best one in my opinion.

Past Member
Feb 02, 2021 6:02 pm

Hey Joe,

Sound advice all around. It will take time, ask your wound care nurse (or doctor) to get you an air waffle cushion, that was the best for me.

Did your surgeon tell you to lay on your side? For how long? If your butt hurts, take the pain pills and like Ritz said, as needed.

After my surgery, I tried sitting and tore 2 or 3 stitches out. It was infected from what the radiation did to my tissue, so they cut it open 6-7 inches (about a week of massive antibiotics in the hospital). It had to heal on its own after the infection finally stopped.

Yes, my situation was very different, but it was a void (like a valley) that had to fill in with tissue (grow together). I had a wound vacuum for months, silver nitrate foam, etc.

My point is it's going to be a sensitive area to sit on for some time. Talk with your doctor about it.

Let us know what happens...mtnman.

Feb 02, 2021 7:05 pm

Thanks Ritz. My surgeon hasn't asked me to come in for treatment as I have no infection. She just said to take showers and let water run down that area. They did give me the meds but I have been using sparingly just at night to help sleep. Yup! I have heard up to 6 months for total healing but I had no idea of the pain in that area. I feel I was just cut. I do a lot of walking in the house and hopefully this will pass soon. Thanks for the reply! Between the pain and still learning bag changes this is the hardest thing I ever had to deal with.

Joe Call

Feb 02, 2021 7:11 pm


The dose is 5mg every 4 hours as needed. It does buzz me out but I don't do it every 4 hours. I take one at about 7pm and that gets me the relief I need to sleep. I also have a home nurse come once a week. I guess she should check for any infection or other changes. Last time she checked, she said it looked fine.

Feb 02, 2021 7:15 pm

They sent me home with a donut and it helps a bit, but sometimes the pain is just too much to take. Surprised she gave me permission to drive!

Feb 02, 2021 7:21 pm

My nurse has checked and sees no sign of infection. Temperature is normal and no sweats. I am going to write to the surgeon and let her know but from what I am seeing posted here it's going to be months

Feb 02, 2021 7:27 pm

Thanks mtnman. I am gonna write to the surgeon and also have the nurse take a look tomorrow.

I don't think there is an infection, but better safe than sorry. Joe Cal

Feb 02, 2021 7:35 pm

I have dealt with a lot of physical pain during my life since having Crohn's disease. One thing my doctor told me is that the stress of pain slows down your body's healing process. Try taking a little pain medication. You will be a lot more comfortable and life will be more bearable. You deserve a break from the pain.

Feb 03, 2021 4:14 pm

Hi Joe,

I remember those days and it took months before I could comfortably sit. I had no complications but that part of you is not used to being sewn together and even now, after almost three years, if I sit wrong where it stretches too much, it is painful. It takes time and like you, I quit the drugs because I needed to know what my true pain level was.

Just go slow when you do sit. My plastic surgeon told me to massage that area to help it along. Worth a try!


Feb 03, 2021 7:35 pm

Be patient... it's a hard place to heal, dark, moist. I don't even know if it was ever done now...

Feb 03, 2021 10:12 pm

Glad the nurse was able to ease your mind somewhat. That will help you to heal. Go slow! Your body is trying to adjust to the changes and does not give a rip about your pain. Take a pain pill and a good nap! It will pass the time! It will continue to improve now. That first 6 was is hell! nbsp

Feb 06, 2021 7:50 am

Hi, JoeCal1952!
Two things that I saw in the discussion. Doughnut cushions interfere with wound healing, cause pressure injuries, and exacerbate pain (they pull the incision edges apart and promote venous congestion). Studies recommend using a waffle cushion instead. It sounds like you had a proctectomy with the rectum/anus removed, correct? If so, you may be feeling some of the nerve endings in that area going crazy with pins-and-needles or burning sensation (neuropathy) which can last a few weeks to a few months post-op. When I had the surgery, narcotics did little for the neuropathy. If this is what you are feeling, your doctor may be able to recommend something else.

Always best to follow up with your doctor to make sure there are no signs of infection causing the pain.

Mar 26, 2021 3:51 am

Hey Joe,

Right there with you. I am post-surgery 6 weeks. It sounds like we both had the same procedures. It's a lot to take in, right? Learning how to change the bag, monitoring the output, and the healing process. I can sit for about an hour and a half to two hours now, but then the pain reminds me to rest my butt and take the pressure off. nbsp

This is also the hardest, most painful thing I have experienced, and talking with other folks who have had this surgery, it seems that it is a long healing process. I have finally given in to the fact it cannot be rushed. I did not like the way I felt on the Oxy and stopped it 3 days home from the hospital. I take Ibuprofen and Tylenol. I didn't believe that would work, but it helps a lot. Laying on your side on the couch and the bed to give your backside a rest is helpful. nbsp


Mar 31, 2021 9:42 pm

I've just had this same surgery on March 27th... I was in the hospital for 5 days. I am home now and I will get my stitches out on Monday. I barely took any pain meds and I have very little pain in my bottom. In fact, the only pain I have is when I sneeze. I get a sharp pain in the area where the drain was... so it sounds like you might need to have a one-on-one with your doctor about the pain in your bottom area. Remember, you know your body better than any doctor, so be persistent. Severe pain is not fun.

Apr 01, 2021 8:18 pm

Hey there, Mr. Penguin7. I think we may have spoken in the past simply because I am a candidate for a Ken Butt soon, and part of the doctor's logic was that I too had those damn abscesses and every once in a while get them while I have the stump (6 inches left of rectum). My surgery was in 2016 for just the ileo, in hopes to reconnect. Last year, I had a pimple down there so bad it required hospitalization. Then I developed MRSA, PG, and cellulitis. In fact, this month marks one year ago anniversary of that hell. I had four hospital visits thereafter. So, docs pondered and said, "Get rid of the stump, the abscesses will go away too." Horesfeathers! Since it seems you got one, or more?? So tell me, your take on this idea since you had complete removal of all that "hardware," what do they say about recurrent abscesses? Now, before you reply, look at my profile in the photo section. There is a nasty picture of where it was and what they left me to heal as. I am not looking forward to another one of those surgeries, but it doesn't seem, I don't know, removing the colon has any advantages or equates to no recurrent pimples/abscess down there. Thanks. Warrior

Apr 02, 2021 4:50 am

I had an ileostomy in July 2017. It was emergency surgery and I almost died. When I finally got home, the output wasn't right and I was suffering from horrible cramps. I thought that I was just healing, but after going back to the ER at least two to three times a month for 7 months, the head gastric doc sent me for more involved pictures. I lost my whole colon with the first surgery and what intestines I had left were ready to burst. The cause...the first ileostomy that I had in July had strictured shortly after the first surgery. It was pinhole size and I was swarming with adhesions. I was rushed into surgery again and the doctor said he just started cutting. He told me later that it was the worst stricture he had ever seen in his career and had I not come to the ER, I would have died. So, if your body is still hurting, go back to the hospital and make them check you out. It may save you from a bad, hiding infection or surgery flaw. Keep us informed! Good luck!