Any advice appreciated

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Hello all,


My husband had surgery for rectal cancer one week ago today.  He has a temporary loop ileostomy.  He was discharged from the hospital yesterday evening.  He seems to be having lots of problems with gas.  He is having output from the ileostomy but can't seem to get relief.  Any advice or experiences would be helpful!

Thank you!

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Glad you found this site to reach out. Those early days can be really rough, recovering from surgery and getting used to all the complexities of having a new ostomy. My surgery was on May 10 and so the memories are fresh!

As for gas, it's good to know that the ostomy itself is working. I found that what I ate, my diet, was the most significant factor in gas. For me, cooked carrots in the first week, which were on the approved diet list, gave me crippling gas pains. So I would be trying to simplify the diet as much as possible to figure out what works and what doesn't. All of that will improve as your husband's system gets up and running well again and the swelling in his small intestine from the surgery dissipates. My WOC nurse told me that the internal swelling is very real, encouraging me to contemplate how much the surgeon had to move my organs around, and she said "and they aren't gentle- they have a job to do." 

So things will get better as your husband recovers but diet can be very sensitive early on. I'm now able to eat just about everything and have gotten used to what I had initially experienced as the wretched routines of having an ostomy. 

I hope this helps and that you get good advice from others. 


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It takes time to heal.  I had 2 weeks of misery before my digestive system settled down after emergency surgery.  I was just dealing with pain and the shock of having a colostomy.  I drank a lot of Ensure "Enlive" protein shakes  rather than eat much solid food during those first 2 weeks.  Every time I got gas... whoa... I freaked out.  Just the thought of this thing that is normally inside my body is now outside, troubled me.  As time passes we heal.


Hi Tempilieo its early being only a week out of surgery and like others said it takes time for all of it to settle down, a low residue diet early on helps the bowel heal but also some protein is needed  and i found short walks around the neighborhood followed by a nap and then a snack was a routine that helped me, my last surgery was 5yrs. ago for a resection and moved stoma from right to left side.


Walking helps the more he can get up and put his shoulders to the wall so that he is upright completely and then walk around even just around the bed helps a lot now that still means gas will fill up the bag but it's more comfortable than being inside his intestines


You have gotten some good advice here.  I would just add that with an ileostomy, gas can be an ongoing problem, even after all the healing and adjusting of diet.  If your husband eats foods that cause gas, ie, onions, cruciferous vegetables, beans, etc., he can expect to get gas, just as anyone would.  It's just that it can become more uncomfortable when you only have your small intestine, and the gas gets trapped in there, it can be pretty painful.  Just a reality.



I have a temporary loop ileostomy (3 years now-long story) and I don’t recall ever having experienced any painful gas after my surgery.  Prior to my surgery I had painful gas issues especially after consuming milk or ice cream.  Now if I eat either,  my bag will fill with air or bubbles but no internal pain ever as I had once experienced.  Maybe he is eating or drinking something causing this.   Or as others have suggested being a newbie to this recent surgery it could all be part of the healing process.  Also, with a temporary ileostomy, if one’s colon and related parts are still functional awaiting a reversal, passing gas through the original route can happen as well although rare…I refer to them as little fartlettes an occasionally a bit of solid waste (mucus) this was frightening for me and my fears relieved when reading on this site others have experienced the same things.  Brace yourselves for many questions that the surgeons and staff may have forgotten to mention to you…this site was a Godsend for me and my fears so you have come to the right place….Time heals…  jb


Little fartlettes... too funny!  About a week after getting my colostomy, I was stumbling around the house and suddenly got the "gotta fart" feeling.  Forgot I had a colostomy..... yep, had a mini mucus explosion.  That's how experience works.  I'll never do that again.


Thank you all for your replies.  

He is still struggling.  In all honesty, he is not eating much that is solid.  It seems that everything gives him terrible reflux to the point of throwing up.  He doesn't feel nauseous at all, just the acid build up.  It is not a "call the dr." situation as the ostomy is definitely working.  He is also getting the hiccups quite frequently which are very painful following the surgery.

I will try all of your suggestions, especially in regards to diet.  My husband has always been a person that can eat anything without issue, so I know that this is the most difficult part for him.  


I had constant hiccups for 4 days after surgery.  Thankfully they slowly faded away.  Surgeon said it was due to my diaphragm getting irritated during surgery.

Has your husband tried taking probiotic capsules right after eating?    My doctor and nurses had me take them in the hospital.  I still take the same ones now.  I'm unsure if they will help.. But worth a try.

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