Location of Illeostomy: Right or Left?


I'm curious about something. My ileostomy/stoma is on the right side of my stomach. Does everyone have their ostomy on the right side too? Anyone have it on the left? Dumb question, but I'm curious.

Rose Bud 🌹

I was told all ileostomies are on the right side. Mine is. And colostomies are on the left. AND NO, it's not a dumb question. I wondered what the difference was in the beginning; no one told me very much in the hospital. Mine was an emergency, so I wasn't prepared or educated like some may have been.

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I had a right side ileostomy for 47 years.  Then it had to be re-done twelve years ago and was done on the left side.  So, as far as my stoma goes, I'm ambidextrous.  

Reply to Rose Bud 🌹

Same with me


My colostomy is on the left side.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister

Typically, an ileostomy is on the right side because the terminal ileum resides normally in the right lower abdomen, and it is the shortest distance to the skin. However, that is not always the case if an ileostomy needs to be relocated because of a hernia. Most colostomies are made from the distal colon, which is on the left side. But loop colostomies could be upper abdomen on either side, rarely.


Most colostomies are on the left. It is how they fit or reach which is how they determine where it is located.


Ileostomies are usually on the right side, but for various reasons, they can be on the left side. I've even known of people that sleep on their right side and worry about it, so they have asked the surgeon to put it on their left side.

Reply to HenryM

Same with me, Henry. My temp ileo was on my right side. Five years later, my permanent one was placed on my left side.


I had my colostomy on the left side, before it was taken down, and now my ileostomy is on the right side. I believe that is the norm, unless there is a specific reason for one or the other to be located differently.


Past Member

Not a dumb question at all, as everyone has said, typically ileostomy is on the right and colostomy on the left but for various reasons those sides can be switched around, I've even seen a picture of an ostomy that was right in the middle where the patient's belly button used to be!

Reply to Anonymous

Yep ileo right, colo left .. default settings.

I was asked if I wanted to go for the no navel job after the second or third time, but didn't seem right for me for various reasons.


Hi jalrein,

Check out the link below and scroll down to Fig 21.15 for the locations of various ostomies. It's sort of self-explanatory!




Am I doomed with my leftie ileo??


Hi there, so like everyone has said, normally the standard is on the right lower side of the abdomen. Now, if the lower part of your abdomen isn't a good location, it can be placed at two other spots above or, in some people's case, the left side. Mine was first created in the lower right, due to my abdomen having to be moved to the highest spot on the abdomen, and I am going in to have it relocated to the left in the highest part of the abdomen.

Reply to eefyjig

Nah.... You're a southpaw.


My ileostomy was on the left.

Reply to Ben38

Mine was on my left

ron in mich

Hi all, my first ileostomy was on the lower right side until I had resection surgery, and now it's on my left side. Now I'm a total southpaw.

Reply to HenryM

I would give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

Reply to Rose Bud 🌹

Mine was also an emergency procedure and ended up on the right as well.

Reply to HenryM

Ambidexcolonus, you mean.

Reply to IGGIE

Good one, Iggie... I just hope everyone got that!!


Reply to Beth22

There's a little bit more to this than "is it a good location". The image I referenced that shows where the stoma is made for different types of ostomies shows those locations as the 'best' locations because of what happens when you move bowel around from where it was originally placed. So sure, you can move your bowels around your internal cavity any way you want, but as soon as you do, and disturb them from their original location the body senses something is wrong, and where the bowels are now touching in new locations adhesions will start to form. The body likes things the way they originally were, and tends to throw a hissy-fit when someone moves stuff around. So the ideal thing to do is to keep the bowel as undisturbed as possible and put the stoma right where the bowel is resected and can exit your abdomen without disturbing the rest of it. That's not always possible, like in multiple resections and such, but if they do disturb the bowel the surgeon will try to peel off a layer of visceral fat on the inside of the abdominal wall and 'wrap' it around the intestine that's in a new location. This tends to prevent the two intestines from touching and adhering to each other. Or so they say. So there are certainly a few locations for a stoma that will work. But some.....make that one.......is better than the rest. That's why there are different locations shown for each type of ostomy, rather than an ideal location on your abdomen for any type of stoma.


Reply to w30bob

Hi Bob,

This one I have quite a lot of experience first hand lol since I have a very wonky and weird abdomen along with since issue that aren't allowing my stoma stay out. As far as placing first they have to examine your abdomen how you sit, stand, lay, bend over, lean to the side and lift up your leg etc. The stoma should be placed in the flattest spot as possible while doing all the things stated above. It shouldn't be placed in a crease, a fat mound, or uneven. A fat mound will lead to retraction as there's not enough muscle to support the stoma. Creases and uneven skin will lead to leakage. And of course not below a belt line (belt line as in hip bone) that's a no no no ever! Now that also goes along with the sites it can be placed. There are 3 spots: lower right quadrant, middle quadrant, and upper quadrant. In each one of those quadrants on the abdomen you have the rectus abdominal muscle and that's where they have to be and can be placed, along it has to be at least 3 fingers width away from your umbilicus line. Along with they can't place it any higher than the 3rd upper quadrant because it's too close to the rib cage. Then they typically stay on the right side if they can. Going to the high up they might not have enough bowel which places too much tension and could cause a retraction vs. the lower quadrant of the abdomen.

I do know colostomy is left and Ileostomy typically right side. With colostomy, you're not going to have a lot of length to, Ileostomy you have more length to work with since the small is a lot longer (depending on the person and their situation). Of course, other factors come into play.

I do hope that you are feeling better and everything's going good and working out for you.

Reply to eefyjig

No, you are special. You are one of the elite leftie ileo.

Reply to gentlejohn

Ok, I'll take that!