Bowel Movements Post-Ileostomy: Brown Stool from Rectum?

Nov 02, 2023 4:31 am

Hello ostomates. I'd like to know if anyone is having or has had this situation in which they are still pooping almost three months post-surgery. Now, this is not mucous. It is brown poop coming from the rectum. I was told by my surgeon to expect mucous, and when I mentioned that this is a normal poop-looking substance coming from my rectum, I was told that it happens when the intestines slough off and mix with the mucous. I'm on iron tablets, and the stool in my pouch is dark as expected. The stool-looking “whatever” that I'm passing from my rectum is brown. I heard that the mucous is transparent in color, so could it still be stool left inside from before the operation that's slowly exiting my body? It just seems strange. Any ideas or experiences like that, anyone? I would greatly appreciate the input and information. Thank you.

Nov 02, 2023 7:29 am

Hello Kayceem.
Thanks for your post as it takes me back a few years to those early days when these sorts of questions arose almost on a daily basis. 
The type of ostomy you have and the length of remaining rectal stump may have some bearing on the amount and type of mucus output you are now experiencing.(if it is mucus).
We are all different regarding healing times, but 3 months out from surgery seems to be no time at all to me, as it took well over a year for my mucus output to settle down to that creamy or clear consistency that you mention in your post. In other words, what you describe sounds about 'normal' for the time frame.
I tended to write in rhyme to express my feelings about stoma-related issues, so I’ll dig out one that best relates to your question.
Best wishes




If there’s one thing’ gives me the hump
it’s mucus from my rectal stump.
They did not tell me this would be
a side-effect of ostomy.

With no faeces coming through
no way did I expect this goo.
It is so inconvenient
that I am still incontinent.

I thought that this would be all cured
once my ostomy matured.
However, it’s not gone away
and I fear it’s here to stay.

Sometimes brown and sometimes white
but mixed with blood is never right.
Then there’s yellow and there’s cream
which will flood out like a stream.

Sometimes it’s soft and sometimes hard
sometimes it’s slippery just like lard.
Occasionally I’ll get a chunk
but mostly it will look like gunk.

The mucus used to irritate
and refused to irrigate.
That method didn’t work so well
although it minimised smell.

When I reflect I must admit
sometimes I get fed up with it.
For I was not expecting this
every time I have a piss.

With both a plug and inco’ pad
you’d think it would not feel so bad.
But I still moan and I will grump
about the mucus from my stump.

                                    B. Withers 2012
(In: My Ostomy World Trilogy 2014)


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Nov 03, 2023 8:17 pm

The rectal stump poem above is my favorite!

What you are experiencing is perfectly normal. You will continue to have rectal output as long as your rectum is still in place. If you have IBD, you could even pass blood and/or need Rx for rectal inflammation. Without IBD, you still could pass blood from disuse proctitis after a while.

Nov 06, 2023 12:38 pm

Hello - I have had my colostomy for 6 months and have twice passed what appeared to be a small hard stool but was actually mucus that had formed into a ball. The first time it happened, I thought, “What the hell - has my bowel secretly joined itself together again?” Since then, I have passed some loose mucus (without any warning, so I make sure I now wear some protection when I leave the house just in case!). You know that saying, “Every day's a school day” - well, it certainly is when you have a stoma! Hope this helps - wishing you all the best on your journey x

May 12, 2024 7:51 pm

I'm interested to know whether you're still having rectal discharge.

This gives me chills. I had a first-time "experience" of a similar kind this morning but had no intention of discussing it here. Then I saw your post. WooWoo time! My 6-month ileostomaversary is coming up in a couple of weeks. I'd been told about mucus plugs and had a couple during that first month. But today, in the midst of prepping breakfast, something gripped my short gut from the inside and it felt like I was about to rip a giant bomb. The sensation faded but, later, I found a brown poo stain in my pants! My first thought wasn't whether this was a problem. It was: CRAPOLA! Now I have to worry about my old butt exploding as well as my front butt!?! This ain't fair!

How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
May 18, 2024 12:57 pm
Reply to Bill

Love, love, love your poem. Thank you. It actually answered a question I have. You see, I had rectal mucus that turned clear from brown, and about a month ago it turned back to a slight muddy brown. Sometimes when I wipe, it looks pink-tinged. I've been having leg pain from what seems to be peripheral neuropathy or possible inflammation. I don't know if all that has something to do with the color of the mucus discharge, but I'll get to the “bottom” of this. Pun definitely intended. Lol. Thank you again.

May 18, 2024 1:05 pm
Reply to B@tLady

You are so funny. Thanks for the laugh. I truly needed a laugh today. I am 9 months in from my surgery—ileostomy—and the mucus had turned clear at about 6-7 months in. Oh, what joy! Then early last month, I started to have back pain that seemed to be due to inflammation. The mucus has now changed from a clear jelly-like substance to a slight muddy color and at times has a yellowish-pinkish look. I'm trying to see if that is normal. Will update when I find out.