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Stoma retractions


Hi guys,

So bit of a head scratcher but I am on my 3rd stoma and they all have retracted.. anyone else have had this issue? And if so what caused it 

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My husband's ileostomy always seemed to retract when there was some pancaking at the top. The group suggested a covex flange. That's what we use now when this occurs and it seems to work. for us.


What do you mean retracting? 


Just how far is it retracting?  Is it affecting your wear time?

Reply to AlexT

AlexT ,

Well the first two pulled back flush with the skin and this last one pulled back as well but healed to the left with the hole opening on the bottom and laying up against my skin and every day pulls in more to where part of the hole isn't all the way out just looks like a slot.. I am trying to find out why I keep getting retractions...

Reply to delgrl525

Hey delgirl,

This last surgery was a third surgery for retractions and the location got moved.

I don't even get 5 mins of wear time, the way it sits to the left and then the retracted nothing sits underneath it's just a hole straight to my skin. 

I didn't know if anyone has had so many retractions and I'd they ever figured out why.

Reply to Beth22

Ok, I know some think that their stoma moving in/out thruout the day is retracting when it’s just normal movement. 

Reply to AlexT

Oh no I am fully aware of that movement.. lol remember I am that one that finds it fascinating to see what it does lol unfortunately it's not just movement 

Reply to Beth22

So my stoma is flush if not convexed ? in a bit. Always been like that. I use a super soft, flexible pouch…made by Hollister 88725-soft flex, 1 piece drainable, lock n roll, beige, with filter. You get 20 in a box. So they are recommended for day n a half wear. They are also a bit smaller..called mini. It’s about 7 inches as compared to the standard 11-12 inch size pouch (I’m 5’5”, 120 lbs).  I also wanted another surgery to correct my flush stoma but Dr in Boston said I should seriously think about that as another surgery had no guarantee it wouldn’t happen again. She said best to try n find products that worked for me. So I did that, n got sample after sample after sample. Finally found 88725! Best wishes

Reply to Cat6

Unfortunately I am allergic to ever brand but one and I have already tried literally everything you can think of and then some stuff noone would think off .. after 3 stomas retracting and a year later all I have done is leak .. and what's funny is you know your well experienced when a stoma nurse takes notes on tricks you have tried 😂 and say they haven't ever heard of that..

I appreciate the reply,but I am.looking to see if anyone has had multiple stoma retractions  and what there cause was. Being on my 3rd and everyone retracts it's a quite odd .. I have a couple reasons in mind but I am always in the category of the 1% of the most odd off the wall reasons along with allergies lol was hoping I might have found another 1% person.

Reply to Beth22

Interesting. I would think most of the sticky stuff is made of the same stuff, no matter the brand. Then, they all add their own little ingredients to make it special. 

Reply to AlexT

AlexT I had thought the same but apparently not .. I can only use coloplast the rest of them I am highly allergic to. And forget convex doesn't work for me at all stoma slips right underneath,doesnt make my stoma protrude at all whatsoever and on top of both of those it leaves me bruised my stomach is left black and purple 

Reply to Beth22

So sorry you are going through all of that Beth. 🌻 




Hi Beth. If this is your third, what has your surgeon said/suggested? You might want to first write and then video chat with other surgeons. I'm sure a lot of Ostomates in various regions would give you recommendations. My surgeries were performed at Mount Sinai Hospital on the upper east side in New York City: the initial one in November of 2016 and the permanent one in November 2017. Excellent surgeon. If you are interested and wish to go in this direction, I can provide you a name and contact number. All the best - Silveradokid.   


Hi Beth, the only clue I have toward “why retractions happen” is what my surgeon said — that there is always some scarring, which pulls on the tissue, and he can’t control where the scarring happens nor what direction it will tighten.

I use a soft mouldable slightly convex flange which, over time, has encouraged my stomach to stand up better. Nonetheless, I think that consulting with other surgeons is probably your best bet. Even if there’s no guarantee of a better result, you have to wonder how much worse it could be. 
Good luck.

Reply to Silveradokid

Hi there,

I appreciate you reaching out and offering advice , I am not there yet in switching surgeons I will find out after my appt.

Oh I am very much the type to find a different doctor when it is warrented. If they don't listen or try figure out what's wrong etc. I went  to over 15 doctors and took almost 20 years just to have found out what was wrong with me .. My first surgery was actually done by different doctor in a different state, when the first one retracted he literally would not touch it. I had moved  a couple months after. The surgeon I have now he is actually a  great doctor, when I first saw him he was telling me stuff my first didn't ,he did a revision and when the revision retracted he set out to find a whole new solution and him and both agreed the site needed to be moved it was horrible site the first doctor placed it in, along with other issues I had with my rectum the other doctor didn't figure out . I had the relocation surgery in Nov. And it was actually going great didn't retract until about 2 -3 weeks ago and it retracts quick and within a day it will a huge change.. I have an appointment with him and if he can't figure out why my body keeps doing it then I will find a different surgeon. it is very odd why it keeps happening, same way as when after it is first done I shrink rapidly and not slowly the way a stoma is supposed do.  I am not the easiest patient to find out what's going on I am always the rare  case where you have to dig deep and think so way far out the box. Lol 


Beth - I have had several revisions mostly for the same reason.  No one can tell my why.  Maybe the constant pull of the bowel?  normal peristalsis? Higher peristalsis from on going bowel disease? Not enough bowel freed up to begin with? Hernia at the stoma?  For a long time it was surgery every 3 - 5 years. This last one has lasted for quite awhile, but had a scare with an obstruction and had to fight to avoid more surgery, my surgeon said I was like cement in there and he never wanted to operate on me again! Loads of scar tissue, failed J-pouch, dead section of bowel cost me more, so now it is a rather high ileo with bag emptying time about every two hours. I have problems with fluids if I get too watery, and need IV intake. The doc put me on oxi for awhile to slow my gut down.  It worked but then he refused to give me any more.  I only took one of a night but there are so many regulations about it that those of us that need it and do not abuse it, have to suffer.

My rant for the year!


If this is the 3rd time and the same surgeon I'm going to honestly say this is because he/she isn't doing their job properly to attach stoma correctly and high enough so that it doesn't fall back underneath your skin. Again since this is the 3rd time, it is what he/she is NOT doing that is causing this issue, and in your case it he/she needs to rectify it and pay for it as it's because of them that it keeps happening.

All due respect, but I can say this honestly because my surgeon had to fix mine, because the first time it retracted and the skin started growing over the hole.  Told him that he needed to fix it, because that's not how it should be. He ended up pulling my stoma out about a 1/2 inch higher and attached it better so now even though it's out more it stays even with all the movement. 


Hi. Sorry about that happening. Almost 50 years ago, my surgeon did something to pull the stoma out more. It still retracts sometimes that it frightens me that its going to go inside. One ostomy nurse suggested to drink more water and keep hydrated. Another thing is to cough and it will come out more. I usually wear a very tight belt to hold it out. Hope that helps.

Reply to riealla

With all due respect i know for a guaranteed fact it is not the surgeon.. I have had two different surgeons. The first did not do it right so my second surgeon had to fix his mistakes and the site was horrible so it to be moved the third time . .it is my body and there's something going on inside that needs be figured out in order for it to be fixed , or could be the abdominal wall not strong enough etc. 

Reply to judiprescott17


Finally someone that has had the same issues. The whole reason why I wrote the post to find another going through the same weird odd, off the wall situation.  It gets pulled out a really good amount , maybe my doc needs to pull 3x as much  out.. along with other ideas of things it could be. Looks like we are the odds ducks they have yet to figure out 

Reply to Redondo


Thank you for reaching out. And trying to . I have tried those things .. I don't know if you saw the pic above there's no helping that bad boy lol 😆 I have to say this retraction has been the worst one ..

Reply to judiprescott17

I've had a similar experience since getting a permanent ileostomy 15 yrs ago. I've had multiple stoma revisions because of retracted stoma, possibly also related to a profusion of adhesions. I have a super active stoma, which my surgeon has called "hyperkinetic" or something similar. It basically rarely stops moving, which makes ostomy changes challenging.  I think my experience is pretty unusual, too.

Reply to Beth22

Have you ruled out a hernia?  I think that's a pretty common cause of retraction - can't imagine it hasn't been considered, but thought I'd throw it out there. Good luck, I hope you find something that works!

Reply to Maureen777

Yes .. I haven't had a hernia either of the three times after surgery.. but thank you 

Reply to K-Calgary

Your too.. mines like that it is hard to get a quiet time to change and even when I think she is quiet and she acts quiet as soon as I take it off she like air 😂 and starts moving .. it is super frustrating... And the adhesions something I will definitely bring up to him and ask.. may I ask how your stoma is now if it still retracts ? Sounds like your pretty unique too 


Retracting can happen over the years.  Especially if you gain weight, which happened to me as I got older.  It shouldn't be a big problem unless you have diminished output.  Like others have said, convex wafers usually solve the problem.   You might talk to an ostomy nurse who can help you find the right appliance fit.  Good luck!

Reply to TomFTW

Hi Tom,

I appreciate you reaching out ..Unfortunately convex wafers nor anything else under the sun solves my problem.. as I have posted this above .. I am not looking for tips as I've have tried everything under the sun and then some , I was looking to see if other had the same issue with there stoma retracted multiple times after multiple surgerys. And ostomy nurses are no help at all I have been to a couple .. lol you know when your in with an ostomy nurse and they are literally taking notes on tricks I have tried and asking me questions as I'd they are the patient.

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