Seeking Advice: Regaining Control After Colostomy Surgery - Managing Stool Function as a Teacher

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Hi, I am having trouble getting and keeping control of stool function. I have always been one of those who "goes" more often and deals with a little bit more loose stools. My problem now is that I am a high school teacher and more often than not, I have "stuff" happening during class. While I have the option to call for an administrator to come take my class, this is not really practical so I don't do it as often as I should. Between their busy schedules and my lessons that need to be completed, I tend to take chances and wait until I have an opening to take care of things. This is very stressful because I worry about leakage, deal with cramping, gas, etc. Leaving the students even for a few minutes is out of the question, so I am looking for ways to get control of my body. I have talked to many doctors and usually get "well, you just need to work on moving your "movement" to a later time of the day, I eat small amounts of food several times a day, I don't eat things I know exaggerate these problems, or I don't eat at all (a whole new set of problems arises from this), and I have tried taking Imodium but get bound up with just one pill really bad. I am just all over the place with timing and things are happening anywhere from twice a day to even more. My question is, has anyone had success getting this under control even if you have had little regularity prior to surgery and if so, how? Also, any teachers out there that can share your wisdom regarding this difficult career for this medical condition? Thanks in advance!


Hi Carol, if you're a member, send me a message and we can discuss some strategies that I've found work in the classroom. If you're not a member, let me know in this forum and I'll contact you.

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Hello Carol.

I mentioned this problem I had with immodium when I was at a specialist hospital for bowel problems and they prescribed it in liquid form. I then used a 5ml syringe to measure the precise amounts I needed to control things and it worked very well because I could adjust the dose to suit myself and my circumstances each day. Certain things I ate or did (like exercise)  needed differing amounts of immodium and over a period of experimentation I began to know exactly what what needed and when.

I hope this is helpful

best wishes


ron in mich

Hi Carol, you didn't say if you had a colostomy or ileostomy. But if you have a colostomy, what about trying irrigating? It flushes the stool out and then you're done for the day.


Thank you, I am a member so I will message you soon.

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Hi Bill, thank you. I will ask about the liquid form. I can imagine it takes a while to figure out the dose, but it would be worth it.


I'm sorry, I forgot to mention that I have a colostomy. I plan to try irrigation this summer but have been warned that with the frequency of movement, it might be difficult to make it work. Do you have any experience with irrigation? I am a bit fearful to try but I am absolutely going to. I understand it can really be freeing.


Hi Carol,

My name is Marsha, and I have an ileostomy.....which means I can't really control output. I'm also a teacher, so I know how difficult bathroom time can be. I ate breakfast at home before going to school, so by the time I was there....I was ready to empty. I didn't always have lunch at lunchtime.....because I knew that I'd need to empty about an hour later...I tried to time bathroom breaks during my prep time....but that wasn't predictable either. Basically, every day was hit or miss. I have had my ostomy for 50+ years.....and have always found a way to manage.

You have an advantage with a colostomy because you can irrigate and actually plan when you "need to poo". I have a friend (on this site) who is successfully irrigating around 7 pm but also does it earlier on evenings he's going out. If you like, I'll ask him if I can give you his name.....or should I give him your name. I'm not sure he's still a full member. There are others on the site who have colostomies and find irrigation works well for them. There are also some demo video clips on YouTube...but they're handled in a very "medical" way. Once you have the guidelines, you can adapt the procedure to fit your needs. It basically involves using a cone tubing inserted into the stoma.....and pouring in the water. You then attach a sleeve " which is like a very long pouch.... to the wafer on your skin. Eventually, the liquified poo....will start pouring out. You might still need to wear a pouch with a spout (to empty) if you're active in between irrigations... But it is something worth see what works best for you.

Best of luck to you...


ron in mich

Hi Carol, I don't irrigate as I have an ileostomy and it has output off and on all day. But like Marsha said, there are videos on YouTube, and there is also another ostomy site,, that has a segment for people with colo. They could give you tips about it. Good luck.


Thank you, Marsha.

I am getting through the school days, but it's pretty stressful not knowing when things are going to happen. Maybe it's just because I am fairly new at it and I will eventually not care as much. I haven't been able to get any kind of regularity even after eating, so like you said, hit and miss. I do plan to try to irrigate. I am going to try this summer when I have more time to get used to the process. I think I will always wear a pouch to school for security. Thank you for replying.


Thank you Ron in Mich, I do plan to try irrigation this summer.  Hoping for good results and less stress at school because of it.


Hi Carol, welcome to MAO. Thank you for sharing. This is a very good post. I wanted to respond because although I have an ileostomy, I also work full time and schedule my day according to when I may need the bathroom. I am an outside sales rep, on the road all day and frequently take clients to lunch. I try to be prepared regarding potential bathroom needs. I believe that you posted that you are about 5 months post-op. For me, it took time to really understand my body rhythm and output. Today, I know that I can eat a small breakfast such as one boiled egg, 1 or 2 pieces of toast, 2 cups of hot tea, and some juice. At that point, I get ready for work, put on a fresh pouch, shower, dress, etc., empty if needed before I leave the house, and I am pretty good most of my 8-hour workday. I begin to fill around 3 - 4 pm and I will need to get to a bathroom by 5-6 pm. Now, if I eat a lot throughout the day, I will need to take care of things sooner. Evenings are more active for me. Like Marsha mentioned, I also heard that irrigation is very freeing. If I could, I would, but I can't with an ileostomy. Take care Carol5. Things will improve as time goes on. LH


Thank you, Lady Hope. I think I just need to give it time and keep working on the diet. I also am going to try irrigation as soon as I can. I ordered all the supplies.


Good luck Carol! Keep us posted. I just know things will improve as time goes on. Our bodies need to adjust to the new normal. I know I am still working some things out and it has been 3 years. Take care. Have a nice weekend. LH


Good luck Carol! Keep us posted. I just know things will improve as time goes on. Our bodies need to adjust to the new normal. I know I am still working some things out and it has been 3 years. Take care. Have a nice weekend. LH


Hi, I was just reading your post. I also have a colostomy, and whereas before I only used to go to the toilet once a day, my stoma is working many times throughout the day. In the beginning, I was devastated about this and I didn't feel confident to socialize, etc. due to possible odor, etc. However, I have now changed bags to the flushable ones which have an extra layer, and there is no odor issue. I am happy that I can go quite long without changing the bag. I generally do it first thing, once in the afternoon, and before bed. I think if I was teaching, I would feel confident with these bags whereas before I wouldn't. Anyway, just thought I'd mention it and good luck!

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