Need help with irrigation training for colostomy - any suggestions?


Hi all,

Really new to the whole ostomy thing. I had surgery for bowel cancer a year and a bit ago and ended up with the life-saving colostomy. I have been trying to sort irrigation for some time now, and keep getting put off for the training by my stoma nurse who now doesn't even return my calls.

I really want to improve my quality of life, as I am a real outdoors person, enjoying sailing and motorcycling, the gym, etc. After a few pouch failures, I have seemingly turned into a passive-aggressive recluse. This really isn't me, and I want to sort this out as soon as possible.

I do understand the NHS has been dealing with the pandemic, but I would happily pay for private training. I just can't seem to hook this last piece of the jigsaw into place.

Anyone have any ideas?


Hello Solly.

Thanks for your post and I am so sorry to hear that your stoma nurse did not instruct you on irrigation. However, there may be reasons for her reluctance which are based on medical factors rather than ignorance. Some people are simply not suitable candidates for irrigation - even though they may have a colostomy.

Irrigation is a relatively simple procedure whereby water is poured into the stoma, which stimulates peristalsis and evacuation of faeces. It is a lot easier to explain with an accompanying video. You will find a whole host of these if you  google:  'stoma irrigation on Youtube'.

I do hope you can get this sorted as it will undoubtedly change your life for the better.

Best wishes


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Thanks Bill, yes, my surgeon/consultant has cleared me sometime ago for irrigation.
I will look at the videos on YouTube, thanks for the heads up.


I didn't irrigate but was looking at some videos. Here is a link to one that seemed to cover it pretty well. Hope this helps, best wishes and stay safe.



I do irrigate and now that your surgeon has given you the thumbs up, I say go for it. I had the same issue with my stoma nurse. I watched the YouTube videos and did it by myself! I am glad to answer any and all questions. When you first start, you only want to use about 500 cc of warm water, then the following time, 1000 cc. Working up to 1500cc. Your tummy will feel full when it has had enough.
I irrigate every other day but most people do it every morning. The key is to do it the same time of day, every day. You are training your colon to empty at that time.
Have you ordered irrigation supplies? There are many to choose from. I would stick with your current pouch system until you find that irrigation works well for you. I would call the three major makers and request some caps. They are a very small pouch that does not hold but a tiny amount of; some possible dribbles or output. I wear a two-piece system with a medium-sized closed-end pouch. When things are touchy or I am having stomach issues, I turn to a drainable pouch. Most people are able to switch to the caps within a month or two. Mostly you have to feel confident of no accident before you switch. Feel free to ask any questions you have! It is definitely a game changer!

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister

Hi Solly,

I've been irrigating for 2.5 years and it is amazing! You will be able to do everything you want to do with very little concern for what's going on with your stoma because it's usually pretty quiet. I irrigate every 24 hours... I could never get to the 48-hour mark, but I'll take it. There certainly have been times that I've had some breakthrough, but that's only occasionally. I wear a mini-pouch as I'm not comfortable with anything else.

Ask if you have questions!

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