Frequent Stoma Emptying: Is 10-11 Times a Day Normal?

Feb 05, 2024 6:16 pm

Hello all,

I am a recent stoma newbie and I was wondering if anyone has the need to empty quite often?

I probably empty mine about 10-11 times a day. Thanks in advance.

Feb 05, 2024 7:07 pm

Hello Freddy.

Thanks for posting. In trying to address this question it would be useful to know if you have a colostomy or an ileostomy.
I have a colostomy and at the beginning I was emptying the bag that frequently, which is one of the reasons I switched to irrigation. 
Best wishes


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Feb 05, 2024 8:31 pm
Reply to Bill

I would guess with an ileostomy I was averaging 11 times a day at the beginning, and now with control of my diet, I think I'm around seven times a day. I could be wrong. I know that antibiotics, sugar, and caffeine make everything worse. More liquid output, more frequent emptying. I mean, of course, most people know this on here, but that was my experience. It still is, especially with sweet stuff. Low residue seems to help in the passage of time. Somebody had told me four months, but I am longer than that. I think around six months, and it's just starting to taper a bit... Somebody on here recommended psyllium husk. I take three tablets on very liquid days an hour before eating.

Feb 05, 2024 8:58 pm

If your surgery is very recent, it's normal at the start to need to empty your bag more often. It might slow down after a few months. Over time, your small bowel adjusts and learns to work in a similar way to how your colon did, but not always. They do say the average is around 7 times a day.

The first 10 years or so with an ileostomy, an average day for me, I would empty it about 2-3 times a day. I had a large section of my small bowel removed just over 20 years ago. That's made a difference to my output. Now I empty around 10 times a day on average. I wouldn't say I have high output.

Feb 06, 2024 2:17 am

A stoma is like a Dr. Seuss book, you will empty a lot, you will empty a little, you will empty a ton, and you will empty zero. The type of stoma and your diet will dictate how often you empty.

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Mysterious Mose
Feb 06, 2024 4:11 pm

I assume you have an ileostomy. Depending on diet and/or medications, emptying 10-11 times a day is not unusual. There are many things you can try to slow output, but not everything will work for everybody. Top of the list would be diet. With an ileostomy, you have a lot of liquid to deal with that your colon would otherwise take care of. One way to slow down output and give your small bowel a chance to absorb more liquid is to eat starchy foods. Potatoes sit at the top of that list. Rice is good too. You could also try Imodium. That works pretty well in slowing things down. I went from 10 times a day to 5-6 when I was experimenting with it. However, I found it caused other issues, such as pancaking. Because of that and an upcoming trip to your country, I stopped and went back to what I knew I could deal with. Now that I am back home, I plan to experiment a little more.


Feb 07, 2024 12:33 am

For me, at first, I emptied a lot, and it was liquid much of the time. After a while, though, I emptied less. At the start, I was given high-volume bags. I hated those because they were so big and had a nozzle at the end, but after things settled down, two months later, I got regular drainable bags. Sometimes now I only empty 4 times in a day, whereas at first, it was more like 8 to 10 times. Give yourself time to heal and to adjust.


Feb 10, 2024 1:56 am

Thanks all, at least I am not alone.

Feb 10, 2024 10:26 pm

Hi Freddy,

I empty a lot! But I am also kind of anal about emptying... My boyfriend and I saw a stoma nurse a few weeks ago. She said it is not unusual to have to empty frequently in the beginning. She said the stoma will eventually slow down and find its normal.

Honestly, it does not bother me to have to empty her a lot. I do keep hydrated and make sure I am eating well. If she needs to be emptied, she needs to be emptied. The liquid in the morning is kind of a pita when I am driving to work. By the time I get to the office, the bag is half full! I cup the bag as I am walking into the office and make my mad dash to the restroom on the lobby level. Interestingly, she really does not do the same thing on the weekends.