Seeking Advice on Colostomy Output Changes

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387
Daughter

Hi everyone, my mom's colostomy surgery was a year ago yesterday (August 15, 2022) and we both are looking for advice regarding her current output. Mom had to get a colostomy bag because of a perforation from a polyp removal following her colonoscopy procedure. My mom doesn't really have any big health issues except her colonoscopy revealed she has gastritis and mild diverticulosis of the sigmoid colon. When mom first came home from the hospital, her output was small little pieces of poop. Around Christmas, we were noticing mom's output in the bag was more formed stool at times. We reached out to a stoma nurse and she advised that it is normal for the consistency of poop to change over time or intermittently depending on diet.

Here's my mom's concern. She was typically having output in the mornings. Not exactly the same time every morning but usually in the morning. 8 am, 9 am, 10 am…. And then she would usually be done for the day. Maybe a little more poop but not a lot. Lately she's pooping all the time. Morning, afternoon, evening, and it's driving her crazy the amount of poop and how often. Any advice?

Just in this past few weeks, I personally have been trying to eat healthier and eat more fruits and veggies and more whole grains, but I told mom it might be too much for her to handle the same foods as me. I would like to note she's been pooping at random parts of the day for a little while now but definitely more in the last couple of weeks.

aliveyeah!

I have an ileostomy so I have constant output. I can tell you that food choice definitely plays a part in output. It becomes trial and error. I added one new food a week after my surgery. It was the only way I could figure out what worked. I also kept a food diary. I know if I eat too much dairy, my output is much looser. I can still enjoy dairy, but I supplement with oat milk and non-dairy ice cream. It takes a lot of patience. Everyone is different and digests differently. Also, drinking enough liquid is very important. I'm not a water drinker, so I drink GFit hydration. It's made by Gatorade.

Hang in there!

 

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AlexT

What she eats, how much, when, fluid intake all have impacts on her output. If you recently changed her diet to include more fibery stuff (more healthy foods), that would be an ideal situation to have more erratic output.

gentlejohn

You should be able to regulate a colostomy. Fiber foods and milk products can increase output. Irrigation daily or every other day is an effective method of regulation. Your stoma nurse can instruct you about irrigation.

If your mother's health is otherwise good, I would find a surgeon who would close the colostomy.

gentlejohn

Bill is the poet of this website. He just so happens to have a posting just following yours:

BACK TO BAGS?

Since I had my stoma op.
My irrigation did not stop
For it's been more convenient,
practical and expedient.

Irrigation's been my thing,
because the life that it can bring
is vastly better than with bags
and all those toilet-finding snags.

The stoma's rarely bothered me,
with irrigation, for we see
that life is much more normal for
us, than it had been before.

But recently I have been told,
my hernia is getting old,
which means it is collapsing
and problems are relapsing.

The solution, it's been said
is to revert to bags instead,
and cease the irrigation so
more of my waste may merely flow.

I must admit, this fills my head
with apprehensive thoughts and dread
of going back to bags and things,
knowing what this change might bring.

I had to wear the bags before,
so now I know what lies in store
and I'm not keen to make the swap
or see my irrigation stop.

I know my stoma nurse is right,
but still, I think that I just might
do some more experiments
before I give up or relent.

B. Withers 2021

 
Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Daughter
Reply to aliveyeah!

Thank you so much for your reply. When Mom came home from the hospital, we had a nutritionist come for a home visit and she recommended doing what you suggested. She said to reintroduce foods and try each new food for 3 days to see how her body handles it. At that point, nothing was really bothering her. I have suggested a food diary to her before, I will bring it up again. Thank you!!!

Daughter
Reply to AlexT

Thank you, Alex! I kind of figured that high fiber foods were increasing output, but I just wanted to get clarification.

Daughter
Reply to gentlejohn

Thank you for advising about how fiber foods and milk products can increase output! We will keep that in mind!!!!

My mom hates the bag and will occasionally make a comment about getting the surgery to reverse it but what it comes down to is she is too scared to take that step. The surgeon who saved mom's life told us he wouldn't recommend a reversal because of how much scarring there would be due to all the contamination that was in her body. We then got a second opinion from a colon and rectal specialist in February about a possible reversal. The specialist did tell us she could reverse it but depending on how difficult the dissection is, she might need an ileostomy for two months. Then we had a follow-up visit because we both had lots of questions and concerns but ultimately mom is too scared to possibly go through two surgeries.

A nurse did briefly discuss irrigation with us months ago. Maybe we could revisit that idea.