Rectal Discharge After Colostomy: Is Brown Mucus Normal?



I've had a colostomy since three weeks, and yesterday passed rectal discharge for the first time.

I had been reading up on it and so was expecting the discharge to be clear or white, and was surprised when it looked just like poop.

Is this normal?



Can't help you with an answer but welcome to the site.

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Hello Clair.

Three weeks is virtually no time at all. In the early stages the mucus might be any number of colours. I suspect that the brown will probably be old blood from the stitching and the healing process. My mucus was never white or clear until a year or two out from surgery. Indeed, it was often hard like pooh, smelt terrible, and would get stuck in the anus just like its predecessors. However, with patience and sometimes a little help from anal irrigation, it gradually cleared in colour, improved in texture, and was much easier to manage.
I'm sure you will get there eventually but, in the meantime, I'll leave you with a rhyme, written to ease my frustration at the time.

Best wishes




If there’s one thing’ gives me the hump
it’s mucus from my rectal stump.
They did not tell me this would be
a side–effect of ostomy.

With no faeces coming through
no way did I expect this goo.
It is so inconvenient
that I am still incontinent.

I thought that this would be all cured
once my ostomy matured.
However, it’s not gone away
and I fear it’s here to stay.

Sometimes brown and sometime white
but mixed with blood is never right.
Then there’s yellow and there’s cream
which will flood out like a stream.

Sometimes it’s soft and sometimes hard
sometimes it’s slippery just like lard.
Occasionally I’ll get a chunk
but mostly it will look like gunk.

The mucus used to irritate
and refused to irrigate.
That method didn’t work so well
although it minimised smell.

When I reflect, I must admit
sometimes I get fed up with it.
For I was not expecting this
every time I have a piss.


With both a plug and inco’ pad
you’d think it would not feel so bad.
But I still moan, and I will grump
about the mucus from my stump.

                                    B. Withers 2012
     (In: My Ostomy World Trilogy 2014)


Reply to Bill

Wow, I love this poem so much!!! :) Thanks for sharing with me.

And thanks for the info, it's put my mind at ease.


Hi Clair, this is exactly what I experienced after my colostomy. The rectal discharge looked very much like poop for quite a while, which surprised me. It was probably around three weeks to a month before it started to lighten up, but it will. Now, it's usually either clear or a sort of pale yellow.


How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister


Reply to clair.crowley83

Hello Clair.

Thank you for the positive feedback on the rhyme. It means a lot to us writers to know that someone appreciates the work we do, even when that work is almost entirely self-centred at the time of writing.

Best wishes




My surgery was in 2009 so it's been a while, but I recall the initial discharge being dark and solid, almost like poop. It's possibly a blood coagulation plug. I wouldn't be too concerned if there's no pain or bleeding, but it's always a good idea to talk to your GI and/or surgeon about it.

It's almost funny, I recall distinctly wondering why nobody informed me this was possible since it caused me to be concerned and, for a short period, had me thinking my colon might still somehow be connected.

Hope this helps.

Reply to Mark1070

This was exactly my concern, that poop may somehow be making its way through. Silly, I know.

Reply to clair.crowley83

I remember having the same thought!


It's certainly one of the various things they forgot to tell us prior to surgery.

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