Ileostomy: Frequency of Emptying and Nighttime Concerns?

Mar 17, 2014 11:35 pm

How often will I have to empty my ileostomy per day? I know it's different for everyone, but hoping to get a general idea. Also, will I have to set my alarm at night to get up and empty it several times a night? I have surgery on March 21, 2014, to get an ileostomy. I am not thrilled. :-/

ron in mich
Mar 18, 2014 3:05 am

Hi Fay, I've had my ileo for 29 years. And at first, I emptied my pouch about 8-10 times a day as my output was mostly liquid and I didn't want too much in the pouch. I was scared it would leak. I would get up once a night to empty. Nowadays, I empty about 4-5 times a day and never at night. It takes time for your system to adjust. Good luck.

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Mar 20, 2014 7:14 pm

I was worried about the same stuff; I woke up every two hours round the clock to empty it at night and did this for months. Turns out I really didn't have to actually, so I deprived myself of sleep for no reason lol. You will have to give your body some time to adjust - but after that you should be able to sleep a good six hours at a stretch without getting up as long as you don't eat for a few hours before you go to bed.

As far as how many times I have to empty it during the day, I really don't pay attention. Whenever it needs to be emptied. Actually after adjusting to the shock I'm glad I have one. If you've had a bad bout of inflammatory bowel disease, not having to poop normally is a frickin' blessing. LOL

Monsieur Le President
Mar 21, 2014 9:06 pm

It's input output.
Once you've settled from the op, you'll find that you'll usually go through most of the night.
Day times 4-5 times to be comfortable, but it all depends on how much and what you eat.
I've had 40 years of practice.
My mother is 94, lives independently, and has had an ileostomy for almost 50 years.

Mar 24, 2014 3:08 am

I do it every time I pee -- once an hour or so, this way I can still wear tighter clothes. I try not to eat past 7-8 pm.

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Mar 25, 2014 4:46 pm
Hi dear Fay,

You're no doubt still in the hospital. I'm hoping that there is an ET nurse there who will give you lots of answers and information. But the forums will be here when you get back. I'm on the same page as Moonshine. When I pee, I empty. And it does enable me to wear tighter pants.

You'll get to the point where emptying the bag is so second nature and easy ... that doing it every time you pee becomes an easy habit. And since I drink a lot of fluids ... I pee a lot.

During the night ... really depends on how much I eat and drink in the evening. Again like Moonshine, nothing substantial to eat after about 7 to 8 pm. I dehydrate quickly ... so I still need to drink fluids. Going to bed about 11:30 pm. Up once around 3 am and then at 6:30 am or so.

Hope this helps. Take care and let us know how you are doing.

All the best for a good recovery. It takes a bit of time, but you'll get there.
Karen & Stella
Apr 09, 2014 11:46 pm

I am one of those few people who still have a lot of output at night. However, I suffer from short gut syndrome after seven bowel surgeries that led to the loss of much of my small intestine as well as my large intestine from the initial bowel cancer surgery. It does get better over time as your system adjusts, but an ileostomy can be a challenging adjustment. It's important to connect with a good Enterostomal Nurse - ET nurses who can help you problem-solve over time. It's been five years since my initial surgery, and I had a great visit with a new ET nurse in December. He really helped me with the problem of high output at night. I had been getting up every 90-120 minutes to empty my high output bag because of filling. If I slept for three hours without emptying, I would have problems. My ET nurse helped my husband and me make a nighttime collection system using a Rubbermaid juice container with a handle and my old CPAP hose. This is connected to one of my two-piece high output bags and allows for continual drainage. It isn't pretty, but it has been a real lifesaver. I guess the real message I want to share is to stick with it, find a nurse who you can work with, and together you will find solutions to whatever challenges you face. This website is also an important support for me and others. There is nothing you will go through that others haven't already faced and figured out. There is so much wisdom here. Read the materials they've put together for newbies. There are a lot of great suggestions to use. I hope things get better quickly for you.
Past Member
Jul 24, 2018 12:31 pm
Hello from the other Portland (Maine)!!!