Need help with normalizing output - Any ideas?

Sep 28, 2022 10:14 pm

Hello all!

Dealing with trying to normalize my output and curious if anyone has ideas.

These last two weeks, my output has ranged from either pancake/tiny poo slider to straight up liquid sloshing around like I am trying to sneak a bota bag in my pants into a Grateful Dead show. I am ranging from being worried I am constipated to keeping my overnight fingers crossed against watery leaks.

There have been a few changes in my life, like adding some vitamins in the mix - A, D, Quercetin, Zinc - but other than that, my diet has not really changed at all. I tried some "non-constipating" iron to deal with my anemia, but it constipates me because I am cool like that, so I'm not taking that anymore. Just gonna be exhausted and pasty-looking for a few more months.

Anyone have tricks on trying to get the perfect consistency?

I love all the poop talk in my life these days. ;)


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Sep 28, 2022 10:25 pm

If the vitamins are giving you the liquid output, I'd do one of two things. Either cut the dose down or don't take them. Then see how your output comes out. Then, adjust from there.

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Sep 29, 2022 12:04 am

Hi Elle, let's talk poo! Lol. I agree with Alex, go back to square 1 (no vits) and reintroduce them slowly. That would be the only way to know for sure which ones do what.

I don't vary my diet much, so my output has settled down. I did keep a food journal for a while, so I now know what foods do what to my output and take the appropriate actions. For example, potatoes (any kind) make my output more solid, so if I'm going to pig out on potato chips, I will drink some pop (whiskey is optional) with them. Pop makes everything loosey goosey.

And of course, there are still days when my pouch will fill to the brim in seconds and I wonder what the heck did I eat!? It's been 2 1/2 years and I'm still learning. Good luck!

Sep 29, 2022 12:13 am

I prefer the "fill it in a few seconds" over the "a bit here and a bit there" because once it fills it quickly, I'm usually done for 24-36 hours.

Sep 29, 2022 7:06 am

Hello Elle.

Thanks for bringing this subject up as I look forward to reading the replies. 

I have irrigated for years and had virtually no problem with output as it came out all at once, and then nothing until the next irrigation session. However, for no discernible reason, over the past few months my output and therefore my routine has been unpredictable and much as you describe, volatile in terms of consistency and timing. I have even had to go back to wearing 'bags' instead of plugs because the plugs simply will not hold the output (which, in principle, shouldn't even be there)!

Obviously, I am not making any suggestions to you, as I have no sensible answers for myself, but sometimes it is reassuring to know that we are not alone in our plight.

Best wishes


Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister
Sep 29, 2022 11:13 am

Elle: By your profile, you are new to the ostomy world. A couple of weeks? It doesn't say when you wrote that.

However, that alone may be key. Most people here would say it takes a while for your body to adjust to the trauma it's been through. Experimentation may give some answers, as well. Neither Rome nor your poop output were built in a day.

Two final thoughts. Nice blue eyes, and anyone who can drop a Grateful Dead reference into an unrelated topic has my attention. Good job.

Sep 29, 2022 9:54 pm

Hi Elle, I agree that experimentation is key and what works for one person will not necessarily work for the next. If you are new, this may take some time. Patience, you will get there. I find for myself, I can control the consistency of my output through diet and the amount of liquid I take in. For instance, on 'change day', I will limit my liquid intake leading up to my change, so I am not active during the process. Yes, the Dead reference got my attention too. You are pretty young to be a Deadhead!


Oct 03, 2022 2:09 pm

Hi Elle,

Not sure when you got your ostomy or why, but when dealing with diet and how it changes things... the best thing you can do is keep a food diary. Note what and when you ate (and drank), and portion size unless it's obvious. Then at the end of the day, or first thing in the morning, write in your book how the day went yesterday, including both the good and bad, and be as detailed as possible. After you have a few weeks of data, you'll start to see patterns emerge, some desirable and some not. The more detailed info you put in your diary, the more helpful it will be. Once you see what foods do what... you'll be able to tailor things to your lifestyle. Also, pay attention to how much time there is between what you eat, as it's a key factor. Sounds like it's a lot of work, but not really. You simply can't rely on your memory regarding what and when you eat. If you try, you're just fooling yourself.

When you're out and about, just keep a piece of paper in your pocket and write down what and when you eat. Then when you get home later, transfer that info to your diary. It's really the only way to know what works for you and what doesn't. Just keep in mind our bowels continually adapt over time, which is a good thing. Give it a try... I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how useful the information will be to you in the long run.