Rectal Irrigation: Long-term necessity or temporary solution?

Jun 12, 2014 6:44 pm

Does anyone do irrigation for the rectum after their colostomy? (If they did not close it). I was told to do it every 2 weeks - will this eventually stop producing mucus or do I have to do this for the rest of my life?

Jun 20, 2014 9:58 pm

Hi Sandy - yes, I have done rectal irrigation. It was not after my colostomy but much later when I was having a bad odor which my surgeon thought was coming from the remaining rectum (turned out it was a fistula between bladder and rectum, urine was leaking into the rectum, and I had to have major big-time surgery for that, but that is a whole other story.) For what reason is your doctor telling you to irrigate? Just for the build-up of mucus? My surgeon originally suggested I irrigate once a month; for that reason and I said "forget it". The mucus was never that bad. The only other reason I've heard of to irrigate was a patient of his who had an offensive odor from the remaining rectum, and he had her crush up antibiotics in water and irrigate with that in the event it was some kind of local infection.

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Jun 20, 2014 11:29 pm

Yes, mucus. I was still in hospital when told this.

Jul 23, 2014 5:35 am

I have an ileostomy. Left with a few inches of colon, rectum, and anus. I am not connected, so I eliminate waste only from my stoma, into my bag. The colon naturally produces mucus and I have a hard time passing it out from my rectum....I choose to irrigate to relieve the 'butt Braxton Hicks'...One suppository a week does the trick.

Jul 23, 2014 6:10 pm

Never tried a suppository. Maybe I will... How fast do they work? I use an enema for rectal mucus but I think a suppository might be better. Which one is best?

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Jul 23, 2014 6:11 pm

When you use the suppository, does it feel like you have to go to the bathroom or does it just come out in your pants?

Aug 08, 2014 7:26 am

Yes, you will feel the same pressure as if you had to have a bowel movement. It never just comes out on its own (for me at least). The suppository never seems to dissolve, however, it does help pass the mucus out. Make sure if you use one - you allow yourself time to see how it works for you. I use one once a week....good luck

Sep 07, 2016 6:00 am

Hello Sandywr. I know it's a bit late for replying to this but your very appropiate post has been pu into the 'collections' box for people to read who want to look up these things.

I used anal irrigation before my stoma - but that's another story. I continued for a few months after surgery because the mucus and gunk that was being produced was foul smelling and accumulating into lumps like  stools. The cone and bag (gravity) method did not work at all and I experimented with all sorts of things Until eventually I adapted two catheta gadgets on the shower hose that gave the water a bit more pressure. The first was one that shot the water in a straight line, which I figured would clen out the top of the anal cavity and the second was one that shot the water out sideways. This one I pushed to its limit and gradually pulled it out whilst twisting it round back and forth to clean the sides.  All this was done while I stood in the bath so that the water could flow freely away and I could see what was coming out. It all worked very well and it was amazing what was up there. After about 6-9months it was coming out clear and without odour so I stopped anal irrigation and have not had to bother with it since.

I put this post on here for interest only. It is a procedure that I knew was not without considerable risk as the doctors had told me this when I irrigated before the astoma op. Also, I had the proper cathetas from before so it was relatively easy for me to adapt them for the new purpose.

I have a strong feeling that no medical person would recommend such a procedure to be done by the patients themselves but hey! I figure it's my body and I have the right to try whatever I think might work. In this case it did!

Best wishes

to you and everyone who is struggling with this type of issue


Apr 29, 2022 10:51 am

I was told originally to do a mini enema when in need to flush mucus from my anus. I have an ileostomy with the large intestine still intact. I've done this for 20 years. It's getting hard to do this procedure, so is it safe to just stop having mini enemas and expect mucus to exit on its own?