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Hey y'all, I've read several posts talking about "irrigation." What exactly are they talking about?

I'm a newbie and had my ostomy surgery in March.

This site has been the most helpful to me.
Thank you all who have contributed.

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irrigation is like an enema but through your stoma.


Previous answer by Padfoot

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.

Cheers Axl


Hi MaeRee.

I'm an avid and enthusatic person who irrigates. If you want to forget about incontinence, then irrigation is for you. I'll write a blog soon and tell you all about it.

It's easy, its relaxing and it's fun. (well nearly). An Irrigation pump is better than a gravity bag, and there's several on thre market. I hated wearimg a bag with all the associated issues - changing and disposal, balooning at inapropriate times etc. Now a 'cap' is all i wear, and I forget about poo.  



Irrigation is a wonderful tool to manage your ostomy. Not everyone qualifies, you must have some descending colon and that colon must be healthy. You should ask your doctor or ostomy nurse if you are a candidate, I hope you will give it a try ! 


Do you have a colostomy? you can't irrigate if you have an ileostomy 


Hi. Everybody

This is inspired by ‘MaeRee' who asked for information on Irrigation.

Irrigation is the process of putting a quantity of warm water in your colon and then flushing out what's in there.

‘What's not inside you can't come out'.

If you have a Colostomy, you should be able to Irrigate, but seek medical advice first.

November 2009 I was diagnosed with Rectal Cancer.
The outcome was that after surgery, I had a redesigned body, a new bum to die for, a Stoma and a bag stuck to my belly.

And I hated that bag, I hated it with passion.
I hated having to change the bag twice, and sometimes three times, in a day
I hated disposing the bag.
I hated the bag ballooning inside my trousers when it would suddenly blow up and NEVER deflate.
I hated the bag ballooning at night in bed. On one occasion when it was half full of ‘product - poo' the adhesive seal was completely blown off.
It's no wonder that my wife put the final nail in any intimacy - and for good.

Having a poo bag was getting me dowe. I mentioned it to my Stoma care nurse and she told me about ‘irrigating'. I'd some knowledge of it, but didn't fancy the thought of shoving a cone into my Stoma and filling myself with water.

But I tried it.

First with a ‘gravity bag' which is a plastic bag with water in it suspended above the toilet (from the Shower rail in my case). A pipe from it has a soft cone on the end which you insert into your Stoma. Water from the bag fills your Colon by gravity. You wait a few minutes, and release the cone evacuating all that's inside you through a light plastic sleeve into the toilet. And that's just about it.

I couldn't believe the change.
Although I still wore a bag (I had a supply to use up) I put a clean one on after Irrigating and 24 hours later took it off still clean. It dot like I was no longer incontinent as I had control over my bowels. Yippeeee ! !
I no longer use a poo bag but a small ‘Cap' to protect my Stoma.
In eight years I've not had an accident though you have to be a little careful during first hour after Irrigating.

I was sold on Irrigation.

Then I found out about electric irrigation pumps, and the NHS supplied me with one, a 'B Braun IriPump' (other makes are available I'm sure). The electric pump was much more efficient than the gravity bag system and it takes half the time to fill up - about five minutes.

With me it takes about thirty five (35) minutes to be sure that all the ‘product - poo' is out and that's a time when I can relax on a bed or sit in a chair enjoying the tranquility of guaranteed uninterrupted peace.

I Irrigate every day at 6.00pm, which fits in with my daily routine perfectly. I usually follow irrigation with a soak in a bath, giving the Stoma and the skin round it time to breath. I really like my hour each day irrigating.

Over the years I've learned a lot and developed simple ideas to make the process easy, clean and efficient. I'm not a paid up member of the site, but if anybody would like to know more from me do please send me a message.

If you have a Colostomy and haven't considered Irrigating, I really would suggest that you consider it. For me it made life much more bearable and I don't think of myself as being ‘incontinent'.


Sure, Absolutely, tell me more.




Hi MaeRee

Theres quite a few tips and advice I've gleaned over the years. I'm not a paying member, but if you areif send me a Private Message that i can reply to. This forum isnt really geared for detailed information.



Watch the UTube video on Ostomy irrigation. There are several out there. It is easy and will give you your life back. You need to talk to your Foctor or Ostomy nurse first to see if you are able to irrigate. 
once you are ready, we can all jump in to help!

Good luck, 


Reply to Douglas john

As soon as I found out after surgery that I had a colostomy I started dreaming about irrigation.  So now 3 1/2 months later my doctor said I can irrigate and wouldn't you know it I have problems. I use the gravity bag at first it would not go in no matter where I turned the cone.  The next try I put in about 250 cc of water and nothing came back.  I thought maybe it all leaked into the drainage bag without my noticing.  So, this last time I tried in goes 250 and nothing again.  So, does the colon absorb water if dehydrated a bit?

Reply to Anonymous

I would ask what time of the day are you irrigating ? I prefer the early mornings, you should have digested most everything from the day before and your intestine should be "at rest". Have your morning cup of coffee as usual and then put in the water. Use a temp gauge and be picky to get the temp just right. Hang the water bag as high as practicable, the bottom of the bag should be at least shoulder height. You can experiment with standing or sitting, I prefer to stand, watch the flow meter till it's spinning rapidly. You may also experiment with putting one leg up on the toilet, for me this seems to straighten the path for the water to enter freely . As you mentioned, if the water doesn't enter rapidly, tilt the cone, hold the cone firmly....but not so hard that you restrict the waters flow. You will have to find the exact " sweet spot" where the water enters freely but doesn't leaks back out. Use 1.5 liters of water...if a little leaks back out, compensate accordingly. As soon as the required amount of water is in, set your alarm for 1 hour. You may be able to reduce your time AFTER you have gained a little experience. Good luck 😁

Reply to mild_mannered_super_hero

I was doing my irrigation after my coffee.  Normally after coffee Poop la doop is flowing.  But today my bag has been empty since yesterday afternoon.  I was wondering typically all my movements are after my coffee.  In 3 1/2 months since surgery only have had 2 night time episodes which was tiring.  BUT my question is what if I were to irrigate at night like 6 or 7 pm.  It would be nice to free up my day some.  I feel like I live in the bathroom.  I have even put up some of my art work so I have something nice to look at.

Reply to Anonymous

I have, out of necessity, irrigated at just about all times of the day or night. Irrigation will work at any time, however, for me.....the best time and techniques are as described. Your results may vary, find something that works well and try to develop a routine. Good luck



For me 6.00pm for an hour is the best time to irrigate.

It fits in naturally with my daily routine and i normally follow irrigating with a soak in the bath.

Of course I have no poo issues over the next 24 hours. If you use an electric irrigation pump its much quicker and easier.

No worries about will the water (1.2Litre)go in and no bag to habg on the shower / wall / hook etc

Have fun



I've said it a few times, but one of the “false negatives” about irrigation is that some people say “It takes an hour a day”. Although I certainly can't speak for those people, for me that's not a clear picture. It takes me about 5 min to put the water in my stoma. For the next 10 min I have a major “flush”. After that, I usually put on a drainable 2 piece and do things around the house. Over the next 25-45 min I will have some liquid output, but I make a quick stop to the bathroom (on my time) and continue on with my day. So yes, from the time you start to the time you finish can be 45 min to an hour, for me it's certainly not “out of commission” for an hour. 

And I only irrigate every other day.

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