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Colostomy and constipation

Past Member
Posted by Past Member, on Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:45 pm
Apologies if I do this incorrectly-- I am not an expert at posting. I am the daughter of a woman who will be 100 (one hundred) years old next week, and has had a colostomy for 9 years.  She has never had formed stools since the colostomy; the best it has ever been for her is the consistency of peanut butter as she puts it.  In the last couple of weeks she has gotten into a situation --it started  I guess when she was not having bowel movements for several days, and then had a series of very liquid stool over the course of several hours (that was about 2 weeks ago while I was out of town.)  Then, she did not have any movements after that for  a week (!!!) unbeknownst to me, so she took some MOM a week ago (a week after the first bout of liquid stool) and had another series of very liquid stool over the course of several hours.  Two days ago she told me she again had not had a bowel movement for at least four days, and the family doc (she has no specialist after all these years, and we  live far out in the country) told her to take a small amount (a tsp) of MOM. She did, nothing happened, and yesterday she took another tsp.  Today she feels like there is movement going on (some discompfort) but nothing is moving out.  She is chronically on DOSS. ( About a month agao she stopped drinking her relatively mild cup of coffeee a day.)  
She is using a glycerin suppository today-- I told her no MOM if she feels there is movement and pain.  What else can she do?  There is no one at the Ostomy dept. at the local hospital today; we are 15 miles out in the country, and we are visiting far from home. Her doctor's office is closed today as well.
Reply by Whoa, on Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:06 pm
Hi Lily
Formed stools are not always the norm with or without the colostomy; wide variation of normal. If shes been on stool softeners, that would explain not being formed, or it may also be whatever pathology present with her colon that required her having an ostomy.  

The concerning constipation:  the ONLY way to really know what is going on is to get an xray.  My first thought:  she may have a fecal impaction (even with stool softeners it is possible); the liquid stool may be secondary effect from the MOM; with impaction there is often liquid stool around the stool mass.

She has had changes in bowel habits for some reason.    A competent physician needs to look at her history, her general health, an xray, then put the picture together to solve the problem.  It may just be simple constipation, but that in itself can be painful and dangerous when allowed to go on.        At 100, who needs to wait?????

I would get her into an urgent care or emergency room rather than waiting a couple days.  If she is nauseated, not eating or drinking, bloated belly, pain ....then take her NOW.  

She must be a pistol!!  Please get her in ASAP  and let us know what they find.  Insist on an xray.

* Certified Wound and Ostomy Care Nurse
* Registered Nurse
* Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Reply by me, on Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:58 pm
Ive had my ostomy for 28 years.  Whe I first got it, no one showed me how to care for it.  So I went to a doctor who instructed me to take two tablespoons of a fiber laxative every night.
This worked for me.  The fiber helps it all stay togeather, sort of turns the (stool) into a jello type substance.
Horray for her, reaching her age!
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