Irrigation for Ostomy: Seeking Advice and Experiences

May 12, 2022 10:23 am

Hello everyone. I wanted to start by saying thank you for this forum, it's been very helpful to read people's comments, suggestions, concerns. I am four weeks out from a sigmoid removal. I had complicated diverticulitis with an abscess. They put a drain in my backside in January and I lived with that for three months until the surgery. I was so happy to be rid of the drain and the bag and the pain, but I had no idea what was in store for me instead! Since coming home from the hospital, I can't keep a bag on. I have been to the ostomy nurse multiple times in the past three weeks. My visit this week, they suggested irrigation once a day and then wearing a cap over my stoma. They've ordered supplies and we're going to give it a try when the kit comes in. Does anyone have experience/advice regarding irrigation?

May 12, 2022 12:33 pm

Hello and welcome to the forum. I am an experienced irrigator as are several others on this site. I am surprised that irrigation was suggested to you, successful irrigation requires some descending colon remaining and that colon must be healthy. You might want to just double check with a doctor rather than just your ostomy nurse. Getting a proper seal on your ostomy requires a little trial and error, but I don't know of anyone who hasn't mastered it given a little time. The main thing is to remain calm, there is no problem that someone on this forum hasn't already had and overcome, most folks here are glad to help. I'm gonna send you a private message, if you have any questions about irrigation I'll be glad to help.

Gray Logo for MeetAnOstoMate

Why Join MeetAnOstoMate?

First off, this is a pretty cool site with 34,000 members who truly understand you.

It's not all about ostomy. We talk about everything.

Many come here for advice or to give advice, others have found good friends, and some have even found love. Most importantly, people here are honest and genuinely care.

🛑 Privacy is very important - we have many features that are only visible to members, ensuring a safe and secure environment for you to share and connect.

Create an account and you will be amazed by the warmth of this community.

May 16, 2022 9:12 pm

I'm assuming you mean that your skin doesn't allow sticky stuff like the bags to stick successfully for any amount of time. I had the same problem, my skin "pushes" the bag off within 6-8 hours, actually my skin won't let anything except Tegaderm stick at all, lol. Since I also have other complications (an "innie" stoma that is concave and disappears into my body) I also have lots of trouble with my skin integrity. I now use Cavilon advanced skin protectant. It's a sponge with a plastic tube attached with a glass ampule inside with 0.7ml of Cavilon liquid in it. I have to use one per bag change so every 48 hours. But Cavilon will last a week at least on skin so if you don't have stool breaking it down then you may only need one a week or so, you'd have to play with times. I say this because they're EXPENSIVE. They may be much cheaper in the US but here in Canada I pay between 12-20 EACH! I got special coverage through the government for them. The great thing is with the Cavilon on my skin where the bag is, it allows the bag to actually STAY ON, my skin doesn't push the sticky off my skin! With the Cavilon, you break the ampule, suffuse the sponge and glide the liquid onto where you need it then don't touch anything to that area for at least 60 seconds, everything will stick to it, including other skin before it dries, lol. The reference # for the small Cavilon is 5051. There is also a BIG one which is too much liquid so don't get 5050. Hope this helps as the irrigation doesn't sound fun.

Login to see image
This is what the Cavilon looks like.

May 17, 2022 5:15 pm
Reply to mild_mannered_super_hero

Hello and thank you for responding. The reason bags aren't staying is because my stoma is very convex, nearly impossible to get stool to go into bag instead all around the opening then loosening the contact. At my last appointment they discussed irrigation for better control and put a cap on, which stayed for the longest so far. May I ask what made you decide to irrigate, and if it works well for you? Thanks for your help.

May 17, 2022 5:45 pm
Reply to Noni

I decided to irrigate after I saw others talking about the freedom it afforded. I tried it and have never looked back. I have helped/encouraged several others to irrigate and so far everyone has had pretty good success at it. If you qualify, I suggest you try it... study long.... Study wrong. Once you get the hang of things, I would recommend you modify your diet for maximum efficiency.... We will cover that later. Good luck and keep me posted of your progress.

Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Shitt Happens
May 17, 2022 11:05 pm
Reply to Noni

Good evening, I decided to irrigate my stoma thanks to mild_mannered_super_hero, who gives excellent advice. I adapted the irrigation to my lifestyle, I do it at 5:30 in the morning before going to work, I don't use any collar and no bag. I use the irrigation set (cone and the 1.5-liter bag of water and when the water is all introduced I kneel in front of the toilet and everything comes out in about 30 minutes. Afterwards, I put a small plastic bowl which is held by my panties until I leave for work. This way I am safe because there are always residues. Then I put on a cotton makeup remover and a Tegaderm film.


May 18, 2022 10:10 am
Reply to Jaemac

Thank you for responding. I too have an innie stoma. My stoma also lies right in a fold in my abdominal skin, making it impossible to keep any appliance on. Just like before my surgery, I can tell when I need to go, so I've just been keeping absorbent cloths in my underwear and heading towards the bathroom when it's time to do business! This works out OK when I am home, and because I've kept it open, my skin is healed up beautifully. That's the positive in this situation! I needed to leave the house this weekend, so to feel secure, I decided to try cutting a much larger hole in my bag to see if it would stay on. It did stay on and it functioned as it's supposed to. I successfully got from point A to point B without any mishaps, but I don't know if this is a sustainable lifestyle. My nurse has given me Cavilon wipes that are used on the peristomal skin. It definitely makes my skin sticky, but it's obviously not enough. Have you ever tried the sponge wipes, and if so, is the wand that much better than the wipes? I see what you mean about the price, hoping if I'm gonna pay that much it will work well. Thanks for sharing and your support.