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To clean or not to clean that is the question


Hello All l have a couple question since l have never had a doctor to do follow up with after ilostomy surgery because it was a emergency he was the surgeon on call at the time.  I want to take a  enema to clean out l have such strong daily urges and once in awhile a little nasty foul mucus comes out . Is it safe for me to do a fleet enema . Thanks and Happy Fall to everyone.   Carol. B

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Hello Carol.

Thank you for your very sensible question. For questions like this it is useful to know how long you are out of surgery because, in the very early stages, there would probably be more 'risks' involved. However, on one of your previous posts you imply that it has been a couple of years. So, your rectum should have healed sufficiently to have reduced those risks considerably. I could and would suggest that you speak to a stoma nurse, as these professionals are often very helpful on all sorts of stoma-related subjects. However, as you have asked the question on here, I presume you are requiring straightforward answers from lay-people who have got the practical experience. 

For my part, I have never used proprietry enemas, but was anally irrigating prior to my stoma operation so, after 6 weeks I felt confident that it would be relatively 'safe' to begin the anal irrigation again. I have had no ill-effects from this and therefore would not think that other types of enema would also have any ill-effects. 

I hope this helps.

Best wishes



Hi Carol,  It is natural for your rectum to continue to produce mucus after having your large intestine removed.  I don't know how much was removed in your case, as every surgery is different, but I don't think it is a good idea to give yourself an enema without consulting a doctor or a ostomy nurse as Bill suggested.  There was a similar post to yours a while back from someone who did try an emema and ended up in a whole lot of pain.  Having an urge that feels like you need to have a bowel movement, and having some mucus come out really is perfectly normal, so hopefully just knowing that will help.

Good luck,



Thank you all for the enema issue comments most helpful and when l thought l knew quite a lot about having a stoma l find out l still have unanswered things.       Carol . B


Hi Carol 

Sorry for late reply, but I have to agree with Terry. It's never a good idea to give these without seeking expert advice first. The other thing you need to know is that even if you did give yourself the ennema it will not resolve the issue permanently. You will continue to have these feelings, the mucus is from a few things one of them being dead cells, debris,ect,which we need to eliminate naturally hence the reason you cannot resolve the issue permanently unless you have a barbie but. I wish you luck xx


Hi Carol:  I have an ileostomy and have had it for 65 years.  I've been told by ostomy nurses that you should NEVER take an enema if you have an ileostomy.


Hi, I'm Sandy.  My stoma is 5 months old.  The emergency people and my surgeon leave a lot to learn.  My question is since I had to have back to back surgery - all within 5 days of each other - because the surgeon didn't pay attention to the fact that I was on prednisone - result - inflamation and second surgery.  I almost died.  I was in the hospital for 2 months had complications of small brain seizures, pneumona.  I'm home and s l o w l y recovering.  My question is has or is anyone considering a reversal colostomy?  I'm a bit afraid to but would like to.  It is really hard to get my diet right.  Most of the time my stools are very soft and creamy.  It makes the bag so dirty.  Also I've had the urges to have a regular bowel movement, and in the beginning had a little discharge, but now I just get the urges and no discharge.  Is that normal?


Hi  CArol, and  friends,    I'm Marsha, and I've had my ileostomy surgery for over  50+ years...    You d idn't make it clear " what "  you wanted to irrigate with a fleet enema..   The ostomy ( intestinal track))   or the rectal stump that you have left..     I was told NEVER to give myself an enema, ( fleet or otherwise) since I could damage the active bowel..    As for the rectal stump..   I had  that for 4 years, ( after having my ostomy)  and was treated with all kinds of medication  using enemas.   ( I'd  often make the mixture myself.....insert / squirt  , keep it in f or the required hour ) and then  let it out, get dressed and go out on a date...  Those were the tender years between 15-19.   After 4 years of that,   I was done, and fought with my parents and doctors to r emoved the rectum .   I met with real resistance, and although the surgery didn't go well at t he time (  I lost bladder sensation)   I've never regretted t he decision..    Yes....the pressure ( urge to go) is normal, as is the drainage of mucus and in my case blood...   Even n ow with the rectum  gone,   I s till sometimes have t he urge to  " go"  because t here are still nerves an muscles...   There should not be a problem with giving yourself a fleet enema  but it's unlikely that the rectal  stump will hold all of the liquid..  To be sure, I would  check with a surgeon,  just for an expert   opinion, since you don't know how much of the stump is left.      I w s doing it more than  50 years ago,  ( prior to prepared fleet enemas)  but was following my doctor's orders..    Best of luck to you..   Marsha 

For Sandy....   The consistancy of the colostomy output, has to do with both diet, and the amo unt of  laarge intestine y ou have left..   Meanin g the more y ou have, the more liquid you'll absorb, and the more formed the stool..   If you have  most/ or lot of the large intestine removed ( it use to be called a wet colostomy)   the output is going to be softer, more the consistancey of ileostomy output.   If  you wanted to experiment....try more fiber in your diet..  You might want to consider using ileostomy type pouches, since some of them are white or biege, and you don't have to "see" the brown out put..   Some people ( with an ileostomy) l ike to be able to see the condition of their stoma , and the " color" of the output...and are happy with clear pouches..   I'm not one of t hem.  That's a personal preferan ce..    For me....I would never have considered a revision.....since I didn't want the chance of more Ulcerative colitis outbreaks...   So it really depends on why you had the colostomy,  to know if you're a candidate for a  reversal...    Best of l uck to y ou as well..   Marsha..                               


Hi perfectly normal.  I have little rabbit poops when I clean myself out.  My specialist said that mucus buildup was normal and mine just turned to little poops.  I, personally only use water to cleans myself.  Think on it, you've only got 8 inches or less so you really don't want any caustic element's such as fleet which is designed to irritate the poop out of you.  Dump it and fill the bottle with water. Easy.  Hope this helps.

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