8 Weeks Post-Op from Ostomy Surgery: Seeking Tips and Advice

May 16, 2024 6:49 pm

Hey guys,
I'm 8 weeks post-op from ostomy surgery due to a bowel obstruction. I also have spina bifida, so I am in a wheelchair dealing with a colostomy. It's been going well so far, but I am still learning how it all works and trying to get a feel for if it will ever be on a normal schedule. Any tips or tricks? Thanks.

Mysterious Mose
May 16, 2024 7:23 pm

I have an ileostomy, so I am not an expert on colostomies. Nor can I relate to being in a wheelchair, other than intellectually. I do believe that regularity of schedule with a colostomy depends on where it is. The farther along in the colon, the better, I think. That way, it gives stool a chance to form and compact in a manner that we ileostomates can only envy. Many, if not most, people with a colostomy get to the point where they only have to empty their bag once a day, or less. Whereas, those of us with an ileostomy are looking at anywhere from 5 to 12 times a day. But like I said, I am not the best person for advice on a colostomy. I just want to say that things usually will settle down after the first 3-4 months, maybe a little longer. They usually do. If you are not having problems with leaks and soreness, you are in a good place, ostomy-wise, I would say. The first few months are the hardest. Your system needs time to adjust to the new you.

And welcome to MaO! Lots of fine people here with lots and lots of different experiences. I hope you are able to stick around. One of the first things you will learn is that we are all different here. But, there are people here that can relate to being in a wheelchair and dealing with an ostomy. We come in all manner of situations. :-)


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May 16, 2024 8:58 pm

Hello! And welcome to our little corner of the World Wide Web.

I have a colostomy, 16 months post-op. I had a perforated colon due to hernia repair mesh migration.

Still have most of my colon, resulting in output that is usually thick and sometimes formed like little stools. My stoma sticks out from 1 to 2 inches (stomas change shape all the time). I've never had a major leak or bag blowout. Though I have had a few close calls, usually my fault for being too lazy to drain the bag. I empty my bag once or twice a day. Sometimes if I don't eat too much, I empty every 2 or 3 days.

I use a Hollister 2-piece system with a Coloplast moldable ring and 3M Cavilon barrier spray. I like the fact I can change a soiled bag without changing the wafer. Also makes it easy to burp the bag to release excess gas. I change my wafer every 7 days. I experimented and once went 10 days with no problem.

I wear a thin, elastic Hollister bag retention belt all the time. Clips onto the bag flange.

All ostomy supply manufacturers offer free samples of their products. Try out different products to discover what works for you.

It will take several months for surgical recovery and your stoma to assume its final size and shape.

I was ambivalent about the colostomy at first, just happy to survive my medical adventure. As the months rolled by, I got used to it all. I was offered and refused reversal surgery. My ostomy sticks out a lot, making me appear frumpy and lopsided. But it's OK.

Everything I learned about how to care for my ostomy came from the fine folks on this website. Worldwide... "They've been there, done that." Nothing like the voice of experience.

In closing, I must say: I had a long, hard, painful hospitalization. A colostomy gave me my life back.

May 16, 2024 11:27 pm

Welcome. Education is key on this new journey of yours. I suggest you check out UOAA, United Ostomy Association of America. It's our national organization. Also, Ostomy101.com. You will learn about foods, blockages, skin care, clothing, ostomy products, travel, activities, and a whole host of other tricks of the trade. You might also want to check out a local support group near you. Just remember you are not alone on this new journey of yours. Wearing a pouch does not define who you are. There are solutions. We're here for you. Best of luck.

May 17, 2024 2:03 am
Reply to Riva

Thank you for the warm welcome. I've always dealt with bowel issues and different procedures due to my spina bifida, but this is definitely different. So far, it's the best decision for me. I'm still learning how to dress and change the bag since I am in a wheelchair full time. I'll definitely look around the website.

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May 17, 2024 11:53 am

It's a pleasure to meet you. I am also 8 weeks out from getting my colostomy. Really, I spent the first almost 3 weeks of it in the hospital. Learning the personal idiosyncrasies of these red devils is a challenge; no doubt even amplified more with your mobility issues. I can say I have learned a bit from this site and the generous people here. Sadly, I don't think anyone can say with any absolution what your schedule will be like. So far, mine is a night owl. Moaning Myrtle generally wakes up around 10ish. I tend to have to empty then and again around 3 a.m. I'm hoping she settles down and does her thing for a morning ritual.

I've had my issues (middle of the night major blowout), mostly my fault. I am still trying to decide which system works best for me. All the companies have been wonderful sending me samples to try.

Well, I've rambled enough. If I can help in any way, please feel free to reach out.

May 17, 2024 11:19 pm
Reply to Beachboy

Thank you for all your support and advice. So far I'm 8 weeks post-op and no issues with leaking or anything. Fingers crossed 🤞🏻. I've always dealt with bowel issues due to my disability, so this isn't too much for me. Just different. I like the Coloplast 1-piece bag with a moldable ring and barrier spray. I also like the see-through bag since I'm always sitting; it's hard to sometimes feel how full it is. So I can just look and see.

May 18, 2024 7:00 pm

Welcome BSU,

You've been through a lot more than me. There are a lot of others who know more about your situation than I ever will. One thing that we all have in common, though, is anxiety about going out and trying to resume the life we once had. What has worked for me (so far) is to anticipate the worst situation that you could be in regarding equipment failure, such as being at work or out with friends when you develop a leak. Make a plan now. Have backup supplies, practice changing your equipment, i.e., organizing the supplies like ingredients for cooking a meal. Also, have a planned line to tell others when you must leave unexpectedly. I have discovered a leak 5 minutes before boarding a plane. I have recently been stuck in a snowstorm (in my car) for 5 hours. Luckily, I had the equipment with me to deal with this. A major problem turned into a minor inconvenience.

There are a lot of great people here with tons of experience to draw from. Welcome again.

Best of health to you,


Baby hith
May 18, 2024 10:04 pm

Always carry extra supplies with you along with a Ziploc bag to throw away anything that you need to securely. I've only had my bag become detached in public once, but that was enough. The poor Uber driver that had to drive me home as I held paper towels to my belly. Also, a trick I learned on here is to eat a large marshmallow about half an hour before you change bags. This will slow the flow down and make it much easier.

May 19, 2024 7:11 am

Hi, I have an ileostomy and am also a full-time wheelchair user with Spina Bifida. Bowel and bladder issues have been a part of life for years!

I had an ACE stoma 20 years ago, but after 12 years it stopped working, and I had to have the ileo. In December, I had a huge surgery as I had 2 hernias and had multiple blockages and emergency admissions. They repaired everything and resited my ileo to the opposite side (also had colon and ovaries out at the same time). I really stressed to the surgeon that while we are told to avoid lifting anything heavy, transferring your body weight when you are a wheelchair user is just unavoidable.