Stoma nurse couldn't insert finger, surgeon unreachable. What should I do?


This is my first time writing a post. I've just been for a check-up with the stoma nurse, and she tried to put a finger in the stoma but couldn't. She then went and got another nurse, and she couldn't either. So she tried to get my surgeon on the phone but couldn't reach him. She said she would get him and phone me either tonight or tomorrow. I was wondering if this has happened to anyone and what they are going to do.


That is no way to test a stoma --


Hi Midge, when I first had my surgery for my ileo, I was told to get those finger condoms and use my pinky, but not to force it. Just slightly insert it in my stoma, and I did that the first year every time I changed my appliance. Take care, Ron in Mich.

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At the risk of seeming clueless, I have no idea why anyone would want to stick a finger in their stoma. If your stoma already works, why mess with success? I must surely be missing something and I would appreciate knowing the rationale for this invasive probe.


I am with you, PB. Why? Very curious too.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister

I agree with Primeboy!!!! What, pray tell, was the rationale for doing that?? If your stoma is working, why? This is a very sore issue with me. The day I was to leave the hospital after my first surgery and complications, blockages, etc. had finally been resolved and my stoma was working, a stoma nurse came to help me change my bag before leaving. She insisted on sticking either her finger or something else up my stoma. Don't really know why. I went home and it was all downhill after that. My stoma stopped working, I began throwing up, and ended up back in the ER 10 days later. Long story short, I had to have a second surgery because of a twist and perforation right near my stoma!! I can't help but think that what she did promoted that happening. Today, I spoke with my surgeon and he admitted that that may have been at least partially responsible. He also added that nothing should be shoved up my stoma if it wasn't by him and even then because he would use a very flexible soft catheter.
Sorry, but had to add my experience in this area.


I have never had anyone do that to me. They have gone in with a scope when I was sedated to do a pouchoscopy, but never anyone's finger...


I know why your ostomy nurse tried to put her finger in your stoma because it's a possible measure as to whether your stoma has not stricture (narrowing of the intestines). I should have tried testing my stoma myself and perhaps I would have figured out that there was something wrong.

I have never had any medical staff try to put their finger. And perhaps if they did, they would have discovered that I had a stricture. It's actually a common practice for surgeons to check with their finger or a balloon they insert in the stoma and slowly fill up with liquid to determine if the stricture is located further down the ileum.

I think they may only do this if you are experiencing blockage or complaining of slow output.



Thanks, guys, for your replies. Still no phone call, so it can't be that bad. x


No, no! Do not think that. Doctors can be very busy or their nurses can forget to give the message. You need to call him/her back ASAP.

Wow! This is really weird....I have never heard of this type of thing. Next time someone insists on doing that, insist on talking to a doctor. Why? People are really weird nowadays, it makes me wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If your stoma works well, you are in perfect condition. Thanks for the warning though, I would have let a nurse do that to me simply because.....she's a nurse. Thanks so much!


Midge... bottom line... Is your stoma working? Decent output? If so, I would not be concerned.


Why would anyone stick a finger in a stoma? Are they really nurses?


It's to try and keep it open because they think it's closing. I've to go in on the 16th to get it stretched under a general. If that doesn't work, I've to get it refashioned.


Midge, I've got to ask...why do they think it's closing?? Seems very odd. Do you have decent output? That's what matters.
One time I went for wound care to my stoma nurse my stoma had retracted to surface level. Shocked me and she seemed surprised too. Within the hour it had popped out again to its 3/4 inch or so outy self. Since then it has done that on occasion-all normal. So I wonder why my nurse was surprised? Our intestines aren't statues, they "breathe" so to speak and it's part of their normal movement. Sometimes my stoma opening looks bigger than others. Part of the same.
Good luck!

Hi Midge, I had the same as you last month, my urologist tried to stick her finger in my stoma, (I have a urostomy). I have been experiencing urinary tract infections for two years. The reason she stuck her finger in was to determine if my stoma was narrowing, which she thinks it is. I then had to go for a nuclear scan to determine just how bad it is. The radiographer managed to get some of the dye into my stoma, but my muscles just spouted it out as quickly as it went in! I am seeing the urologist next month to see what the next step is going to be, hopefully not a full restructure as she mentioned.

Good luck with your stoma, keep us posted!!

Gordon (From Clacks)

Thanks Gordon, I'm actually just out of the hospital. I had to get it refashioned. I was in for 5 days. My surgeon said in all his 35 years of doing these operations, he's never seen a stoma like it, lol. It's so much better, not in any pain, so here's hoping it's worked.

Lisa x


Lisa, glad to hear it worked for you! Hopefully you will keep well from now on. I am not a full member so cannot contact you unless it's here. Where in sunny Fife are you from? Small world or what?

Take care

Gordon x


Hi Midge! I see you are a fresh on this journey at a young age like I was. I was the same age when I got both an ileostomy and a urostomy. It had to happen due to radiation damage from cancer when I was 27. Anyways, I remember being in the hospital and after the surgery I was not getting any output so they put me on this table that had this probe that stuck down into my stoma, surprisingly it didn't hurt, which then injected a bunch of fluids to unblock me. It worked. Also, I had a kidney stone, unbeknownst to me or docs and before they did any X-rays or scans, they wanted to stick a catheter into my stoma. I was really nervous and asked the nurses if they have ever done this before with a stoma. They said no only people without stomas. Well they could not get the catheter in and finally I spoke up and told them to stop, I didn't feel comfortable. I have heard of people having their stoma perforated. In fact, that was how I lost my one good kidney which was from the doc putting a stent in and perforated a hole and basically my kidney died. So what I'm trying to say to you since you are new to all this, if you feel uncomfortable, speak up! Don't be afraid to get a second opinion and go with what your gut is telling you! If you ever have questions or need advice I would love to help! Good luck to you! Shannon


I have ileostomy since March 22.

I have never done nor had it done to me.

I was not even told anything about doing that or any how or why...

I see my surgeon every 3 months now and again at no time has he nor my ostomy nurse ever mentioned to do anything to my stoma but check it between changes, make sure it's working, keep it clean, check color etc but never anything about inserting....Only person who gets near my stoma is my doc, myself and my hubby....

I hope you get a positive call, stay strong

Your Homie with a Stomie


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