Seeking advice on ileostomy reversal and pregnancy after major surgery

Jan 10, 2012 4:54 pm
Hi everyone! I am new to this kind of thing!

So I had my operation last August due to severe ulcerative colitis. I wasn't suffering for very long and the fact that I had a major operation very quickly was a bit of a shock! I had to have a subtotal colectomy and an ileostomy. So far, everything is going okay luckily enough! I have a choice of getting the ileostomy reversed later this year. The surgeon did mention to me that it was a more difficult operation and there are complications that can happen. Plus, the fact that I haven't got much of a colon left doesn't help either! I was wondering if someone could share their experience with me so I can decide for myself whether or not I will have the second operation. Also, I was wondering, I know you can still get pregnant with an ileostomy - is there anything that can go wrong or is it just the same as everyone else? And how long do you have to wait after having a major operation? I will be seeing my surgeon again in March but would like to hear real people's opinions.

Like I said before, I haven't had any problems with my stoma, no blockages - changing the bag doesn't bother me (anymore!) I have been avoiding one of my favorite foods - popcorn. I'm not sure if I should chance it! If anyone knows if it's totally unsafe, could you let me know!

Past Member
Jan 10, 2012 5:14 pm

I eat popcorn... The only problem I've ever really had was with grapes, dried butter beans, lima beans (skins in general, even potatoes). Do be aware that carrots, mushrooms, black olives (and the like), come out the same as they went in and "time released" pills come out whole... UGH!! BEG

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Past Member
Jan 10, 2012 6:19 pm
Welcome along here, LeanneP. It's always good to see another Irish person on here. I'm sorry to hear of all the surgery you've had at such an early age, but you seem to be coping well with it all. I'm afraid I'm not much help to you as regards the ileostomy, as I've had a colostomy. You'll find plenty of very good advice here and I see one of our great mentors, BEG, has already given you some. Yes, I too have no problems with popcorn. I just try and make sure there aren't too many husks left on when I start eating. Here's wishing you better days ahead! Take care, Colm.
Jan 10, 2012 11:12 pm
Thanks for the advice, BEG. Colm, any help at all is appreciated! I will try popcorn without eating the husk part just to be careful.

I am very lucky to be alive. That's how I see it, although I did have slight depression for the first 2 months.

I went to the GP several times, 5/6 at least, to be told I had a stomach flu (this was going on for 2-3 weeks before I went to the hospital). I went to the local hospital twice to be sent home with the same - just a stomach flu. Finally, I went to Dublin. Within 5 hours, I was told it was IBD. I was put on steroids for a week and a half with no luck, so the only option was surgery. If I had left it any longer, I could have died. I am very grateful to be here today.
Past Member
Jan 11, 2012 1:20 pm

Hi Leanne, just some advice as to keeping up your spirits. Keep an eye on the site for a few wonderful folk who'll have you laughing so much you'll need to be careful not to lose your bag!! LOL
BEG, Bob Hewson, and Mooza always have me in stitches and watch out for the newcomer Eggandchips.....her daily blogs are just exactly what we've all been going through. Take care, Colm

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister
Jan 13, 2012 2:31 pm

Hi.. My advice, don't do it.. Deal with the pouch.. I had a subtotal colectomy in 2008 with only 1 ft of colon left.. I went 15-20 times a day.. I was on 12 Imodium, Lomotil, Lotronex and finally I had to add three injections a day to slow it down to about 6 times a day on one meal if that.. The bag is a pain to get used to as I have much trouble with blockages with many different foods but at least it's in the bag and not in a diaper which I had to wear before the ileo as to nighttime accidents.. I can have a reversal also but I will go back to the way I was before.. I am staying with the ileo.. Do without the popcorn, that's the least of it.. Judy

Jan 14, 2012 2:02 pm

Thanks Judy for the reply. I had a feeling if I have the reversal that would happen. I haven't had any blockages so far - avoiding all the foods that may cause it. The bag changing it doesn't bother me. I too have very little colon left which would mean running to the toilet constantly. When I was sick, I was going up to 10 times a day, even during the night, having accidents. I don't think I could go back to that!!

TB Cat
Jan 17, 2012 5:07 pm

I can't speak to the pregnancy part of your question but I can tell you my recommendations on keeping the ileostomy. I went for about 4 years with "not much of a colon" after a reversal and suffered with cramps and a lot of "running to the bathroom time" and even some accidents. I could have gone the "J" pouch route but read too many stories that sounded like it would not have changed my situation much. Several doctors recommended a permanent ileostomy which is what I did. So now, no more cramps; I eat anything, even popcorn; can better control my bathroom trips and have a better life. If you find a pouch system that works and gives you the confidence to participate in life's activities, I certainly recommend a permanent ileostomy as the way to go.

Dec 14, 2012 10:36 pm


Thanks for saying that some foods come out the same way they went in. I thought I was special when I ate mushrooms the first time after my operation, damn.