Reversal Anxiety

Apr 28, 2024 1:46 pm

I will be reversing my ileostomy soon and I am really nervous. I am excited because I won't be attached to a bag anymore and I am looking forward to summer. I believe this will be a summer of growth. But I am nervous. I started with a colostomy and now I have an ileostomy (which will be reversed) and I have been attached to a bag for almost two years, so I'm nervous about how it will go.

I'm scared that I am rushing it because I felt like I rushed the first colostomy reversal without doing a lot of research and I made things worse for myself, so I am really nervous now. The last thing I want is more pain or to have any reason to stay longer in the hospital.

Has anyone recently done a reversal? And how was it? How did your body adjust?

Apr 28, 2024 5:01 pm

Hi Moyo - If you haven't done so, I would suggest contacting the Ostomy Canada Society In addition to this excellent MAO site, OSC can provide you with some useful and soothing information. Best, Bryce

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Apr 28, 2024 6:43 pm

I think you need to have a serious talk with your surgeon(s) about the reversal after a failed colostomy reversal. You should listen very carefully, hearing everything, not just what you want to hear. After one failure, you have reason to be nervous. Your thoughts that you rushed the colostomy reversal may just be your way of justifying the failure—this shouldn't be the case unless you insisted on the reversal despite cautionary advice from your surgeon(s). The other thing you have to consider is that your bowel movements may not be as you are anticipating after the reversal—the prior reversal could be a red flag. So ask your surgeon the tough questions: Why did the colostomy reversal fail? Could the same or similar problems occur with this ileo reversal? Do you think after the reversal, I have a good chance of having normal bowel movements? Have you performed reversals with other patients in similar circumstances as me? What are my options if the reversal fails? If I was your child, what would be your recommendation? Don't be afraid to seek answers to these questions. Don't settle for evasive answers; if your surgeon won't answer these questions, seek out another one. Many people have successful reversals. Praying that everything works out for you.

Apr 28, 2024 8:51 pm

I agree that you need to be cautious about this decision. Why didn't your colostomy reversal work? What assurances do you have that this reversal will be any better? Is your colon intact or has all or part of it been removed? This will make a huge difference in your chances of a successful reversal. A second opinion might be a really good idea. Is your surgeon fully on board with this, or is it you that is pushing for it?


Apr 29, 2024 2:24 am

Here's my opinion, and I have no chance at reversal. If your surgeon says it's possible and can be successful, why not give it a try? You already stated you'd be excited to not be attached to a bag. Of course, there are going to be some issues “getting back to normal,” but isn't a little inconvenience for a short time worth the long-term outcome? And if it doesn't work, you go back to an ostomy, which you already know how to handle. Seems like an easy decision to make. Good luck.

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Apr 29, 2024 9:28 pm
Reply to AlexT

Hello. I recently had a colostomy reversal because my surgeon thought it would be successful, and I fully trusted him. Yes, there was pain, and it took a little bit to get back on track, but it was well worth it to me, and things are going great. Like Alex said, I already knew how to handle an ostomy, so if I had to go back to it, I knew I wouldn't have an issue with doing that. I understand your fears—maybe talk those fears over with your surgeon and make a decision based on those answers. Wishing you the best!

Apr 29, 2024 11:56 pm

Thank you guys for your replies. The reason it failed previously was that my colon got blocked again because of my endometriosis (my period). I have severe endometriosis, and after my last extensive surgery (endometriosis removal and colostomy reversal), my surgeon did a temporary ileostomy so that my colon could heal. I just have trauma from having to reopen an ostomy that was closed, so that's why I'm nervous. I've been told by my gynecologist that the chances of having my colon blocked again the same way are slim to none. Also, I am on medication to prevent such.

Apr 30, 2024 2:25 am

I'm sorry I didn't mean to reply to Alex with my message! Lol. Sounds like you have a slim chance the same problem would reoccur, so that is a good thing! Best of luck!

Apr 30, 2024 10:48 am
Reply to oluwafunkebrowne

Sounds less risky now — more optimism from the gynecologist. To close the loop, I would still have a conversation with the surgeon. I am praying for you to have a successful reversal. I saw a statistic that said most reversal surgeries are successful.

May 01, 2024 1:42 pm

How exciting. I had mine reversed last year, and it was the hardest surgery by far out of everything I have gone through. Mine was a two-step surgery, so two surgeries within 2 months of each other. The pain was excruciating after each, and after the first, I could not get my bag to stay on (they revised and created a new, bigger stoma), and I suffered extreme skin issues every single day, so I had to get home health to come in to help out. I am still having issues after my revision, which I thought I would be cleared of all issues, but I was wrong. Best of luck with your surgery!

May 29, 2024 4:24 am
Reply to aTraveler

Yikes... I have an appointment next week to discuss colostomy reversal surgery. I'm quite anxious that things could get “complicated.” Now that I read your reply/post, I'm even more anxious... ugh

What did you mean by “bowel movements after the reversal may not be what you are anticipating”???

Can you tell me what kinds of problems may arise after a reversal colostomy surgery? Is it common to have issues after the surgery? 🫤


May 29, 2024 2:02 pm
Reply to A.O.2596

Hello, I had a colostomy reversal January 30th and it went well. A few days after surgery, I went back to my normal pre-colostomy bathroom habits. My surgeon told me I could experience erratic bowel habits for up to a few months following surgery. Luckily, I did not, but he said I could—it all depends on a lot of different factors. So please think of all your questions and take them to your appointment—the best person to ask is your surgeon. Bring someone with you if possible, as it's a lot of information. Get a second opinion if you don't get your questions answered. Best of luck to you!

May 30, 2024 10:27 pm
Reply to A.O.2596

Sometimes it can take months before the bowel movements become normal. Prior to becoming normal, you might feel you have to go more frequently or urgently than before; have loose or watery stools; leak stool. The good news is most reversals are successful. Only a small percentage of people have ongoing problems.