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Irrigation bad for iliostomy?

Fri Jul 01, 2022 7:58 pm
"MeetAnOstoMate is the best website for people with an Ostomy. So much understanding. Everyone should join."

I am one month postop for a rectum removal for colon cancer, and having trouble with my ileostomy going days with no output.

painful bloating and belly distention, no fun!

out of desperation my surgeon tried a catheter for my stoma, which released all of that pressure within 10 minutes! Problem is, I believe it’s getting clogged periodically. Has anyone tried irrigating their ileostomy, with or without a catheter? If so, any special water or tips you used?

I was thinking of just squirting a little warm water into the catheter, to see if it breaks free any clog, and allows flow to continue.

Fri Jul 01, 2022 8:30 pm

I don’t know much about ileostomies but it sounds like you need to change your diet and maybe liquid intake unless your doctor has said you have a special case or issue. 

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Fri Jul 01, 2022 9:07 pm

Never heard of irrigating  an ileo. I agree your diet needs adjustment. Drink hot tea/ warm water with lemon  between bites. Have they tested to make sure your bowel is fully woken up after surgery. Sounds like your bowel is still " asleep" sluggish. Have they scanned to make sure no tumor in small intestine causing blockage .Are you consuming too much protein. I would not use faucet water into your bowel . Distilled water seems safer. Be well soon. 

Fri Jul 01, 2022 10:09 pm

Warm water or grape and orange juice. Sounds like more hydration is needed to prevent blockage. I’ve been told by my ileostomy surgeon never to irrigate at home…never. 

Sat Jul 02, 2022 3:58 am

Totally agree with above post, you should not irrigate a ileostomy a definite no no. Lots and lots of fluids and reduce carbs which thicken the output. XX 

Sat Jul 02, 2022 9:58 am

As the old saying says, what goes in, must come out.  With an ileostomy, any solid food you eat, must come out through your stoma. Try not to eat very much in the evening. If you eat quite a lot in the evening, chances are you will experience quite a mess, possibly while you are sleeping. My general rule is to not eat anything past 7:00 pm. Also, try to drink some water or other liquid prior to going to bed. This will help to drain all food stuff before you change your pouch in the morning.  Likewise, any liquid you drink must come out through your kidneys. Please feel free to write back if none of this makes sense. Take care. Mike from Lakewood, Ohio

Sun Jul 03, 2022 2:28 pm

So I've had a permanent ileostomy since 2010. I keep my diet soft and make sure I drink 8-10 servings of liquid (usually herbal tea) each day. I live in AZ so its not hard to drink so much fluid...this heat dries out everything. So I had a nutritionist suggest using a q-tip at the end of my stoma but that would require I remove the bag. I use milk of magnesia as a means to thin out my output. I have also used a heating pad and massage to push along contents of my small intestine. My colon is gone except for a few inches still attached to the rectum but it is non functional as far as any output. Good Luck!

Sun Jul 03, 2022 2:32 pm

Simple trick.  Drink 6 ounces of prune juice in the afternoon.  Works wonders to clean out the small intestine and eliminate the distention.  You can adjust the amount of juice based on your own experience.   Much safer than using catheters.  

Mon Jul 04, 2022 1:22 am

As others have said I would definitely take a look at your diet. Are you eating a lot of fiber?  Fiber is not your friend, especially this soon after surgery. 

Stay well hydrated and eat digestible, nutrient dense, higher protein foods (animal products).

I agree that fruit juice will help speed things along, but if you want to stay lean and avoid metabolic disorders, keep them to a minimum. 

Mon Jul 04, 2022 10:51 am

All the advice here about diet is good. Irrigation is only allowed for stomas in the descending or sigmoid colon. I have been irrigating my colostomy for 13 years (with tap water) and recommend it for anyone who can do it. Your surgeon must ok it and the first irrigation should be done in the presence of a WOCN. That said, even I get occasional blockages when I'm not watching my diet. It is key! Best wishes to you in your ostomy journey!

Mon Jul 04, 2022 10:51 am

All the advice here about diet is good. Irrigation is only allowed for stomas in the descending or sigmoid colon. I have been irrigating my colostomy for 13 years (with tap water) and recommend it for anyone who can do it. Your surgeon must ok it and the first irrigation should be done in the presence of a WOCN. That said, even I get occasional blockages when I'm not watching my diet. It is key! Best wishes to you in your ostomy journey!

Mon Jul 04, 2022 4:42 pm

I am not sure that I understand your situation correctly.  If, however, you have only had your ileostomy for one month (is that what you meant?), you are still in the post-operative stage and have not recovered from the swelling associated with the creation of the ostomy and the surgery in general.  You are highly prone to blockages this early.  If that is the case, based upon the symptoms you are describing, you are giving yourself intestinal blockages.  This is a diet problem.  This is also highly dangerous to you.

IF that is your situation, put yourself on a recovery diet . . . a minimum of six weeks after surgery, and then slowly expand your food options to whatever your individual tolerance is.  It is astonishing that your surgeon would not address your post-op ileostomy diet with you before catheterizing you, so who knows what you situation really is.  But I had a lot of strange things happen to me, so maybe that strange thing has happened to you . . . 

IF you are in the weeks after surgery for the creation of your ileostomy, you are highly prone to intestinal blockages caused by the food you eat, and you need a specific kind of diet, yes?  Intestinal blockages can be life-threatening, and very often require hospitalization and treatment, often lasting days, often quite painful.  Worth looking into.  You can educate yourself.  I did.  : )

You can find the information about what to eat on line by googing appropriate terms like "ileostomy and diet" . . . and, also, if you do not already have that information (possible if you don't know about appropriate post-surgical diet), look up "oral rehydration solution" as well . . . so you don't land in the hospital due to dehydration/electrolyte imbalance.

Good luck. : )

Tue Jul 05, 2022 7:13 pm

I have an ileostomy and experience occasional partial intestinal obstructions. I also have a history of 6 complete intestinal obstructions, all resulting in hospitalization, all following the second stage of a two-stage surgery creating an ileoanal pouch (which eventually was de-functioned and I went to an ileostomy). The last complete obstruction I had resulted in emergency surgery--a laparotomy/midline abdominal incision--and adhesion removal. What I learned from all this is that, although people may question whether you are eating too much fibre, adhesions are another possible cause of obstructive symptoms, especially in the months following a laparotomy. They are likely to result in complete obstructions, at least in my experience.

Recently my GI asked my WOCN to train me to irrigate my ileostomy to manage partial obstructions, most of which involve pain near my stoma. I haven't irrigated it yet, but plan to do so the next time I have a partial obstruction. My GI has known me for 15+ years, which probably factored into his decision re irrigation, as he knows that I know the difference between a complete and partial obstruction (I never throw up with a partial obstruction, I continue to pass at least a little liquid into my pouch, and the pain is not as extreme as in a complete obstruction). I have strict instructions as to how far I am to introduce the catheter. 

I'm sorry you are having so much pain and hope you get to the bottom of it soon. Unfortunately I also know what it's like to confound the experts, as I did when I kept having to return to the hospital in incredible pain from another obstruction. Hang in there!


Sun Jul 10, 2022 3:53 pm

Hi, I currently have a ileostomy due to stage 3 colorectal cancer. I watch what I eat and I make sure to chew my food well. I also have a daily routine, I have a tall glass of Metamucil before my first meal everyday. If needed I will have another later in the day. Mind you, my doctor recommended this to me because my output was to loose, however I heard it can work for the opposite as well. I would speak to your doctor first before trying this but it has helped me a lot. Hope this helps.

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