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Does everbody irrigate? I do not I am 72 and am not sure I want to start that. I go almost 24-7 and have learned just to stay home after 7:00 I can manage it in the AM and if I do not eat untill about 3:00 I will be OK
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I irragate and can live a normal life.  I just do it every morning at 7 am and I dont have to worry about again until the next day.  I love it!

Hi OK - I don't understand your second question.  As to your first - no, few people irrigate (and colostomies only).  My WOCN told me in the long ago past, before throwaway products, EVERYONE with colostomy was taught to irrigate.  Now with disposable products, few people WANT to learn and I think the ostomy product companies actually discourage it (they sell fewer pouches!)

A person must have the ostomy placed in the descending or sigmoid colon.  The idea behind irrigating is to TRAIN the bowel to let down at a certain time of day (just like pre-ostomy).  But you can sort of train your large bowel without irrigating - I did with my first colostomy in 2003.

I took an Immodium every day, which helped thicken the stool, and had the side benefit of regulating my movements to 6 AM, noon, and 6 PM - very regular.  I also didn't eat much fiber at that time either.  My colostomy back then was in the TRANSVERSE colon.

Good luck to you, whatever you decide to do!     
i'm new(ISH) to this. what exactly is irrigation?
My Medicare paid for my irrigation set up. I is very similar to the old fashion enema bag.  You fill it with water, raise it by hooking it on a cupboard handle or hanger from the door.  Place the tube ending into your stoma just barely. It has a valve to adjust water flow.  My nurse suggested starting with 500 cc.  and increasing to 1500 but no more, after you have irrigated some people are able to not have any output for as many as 3 days.  They also supply you with a very long bag to attatch to your flang while you are waiting for the water to come back out.  Which is nice because you can then just go watch tv till you are all flushed out. Only tap water is used not a soap solution like the old enemas.  

How ever, for some like me who deal with chronic constipation irrigating did not work, though most who try it really like the convenience of having no out put.  So they can plan ahead for swimming or wedding and special occations when they want to just cap off the stoma and no worries of bag problems.  

Hope this helps....Faith
Hi Faith - you mentioned chronic constipation - something I dealt with before my colostomy.  I am irrigating but after 7 months I don't find I'm totally regulated. What, if anything, do you think this has to do with the constipation issue. Canyonhome
My intestines have an enertia problem. It doesn't matter how much fiber I eat nothing moves, actually it makes my problem worse because it just gives me more bulk to just back up.  I tried to stop taking so many laxitives and just irrigate.  I could only get about half of the water to come back out and no stool.  I would repeat it a few times until I became to uncomfortable.  So I finally would take several senna and turn everything liquid.  How did it work for you?  I would really like to be able to irrigate and forget it for a few days. Do you have any secrets that might help.  I know having to take this many laxitives really isn't good for me.

bumping this because I am faithfully 'gatoring, but have yet to achieve the sweet spot of no output.

awaiting final returns as i type...

Anybody else out there? positive and negative experiences would be welcome.
Hi everyone (and Faith, it's nice to hear from you!)

I have been irrigating for about 18 months now.  Everyday.  I wish I could go the 2-3 days some (men) report, but I like to eat high fiber foods like apples, etc.

I use 1500 cc of water all at once, after my morning cereal with banana.  I find I must have a banana every day to regulate my output.

I drink a large cup of hot tea while I'm irrigating.  My output time is usually 15-20 minutes or so - I would say the whole process for me now is down to about 35 minutes.  If things are talking too long sometimes I will massage the area around the stoma and that speeds things up.  (I learned to do this when I had a massive blockage from fresh pineapple - was able to get it out by irrigating several times and massage).

I have a descending colostomy.  My surgeon spent about 5 hours repairing adhesions from previous surgeries while he was in there.  Adhesions and medications can slow down the transit time of your bowel.

I can't always count on NOT putting something out during the 24 hours between irrigations, so I wear a mini-pouch.

I'm on the list to try the Convatec Vitala when it comes out - even though irrigating is a Godsend to me, I'd like to be able to dispense with it at times (like travelling).

Good luck everyone!       

The vitala plug should be out by now. i was debating on using it conjunction with training my bowel...
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