Irrigation Problems: Seeking Help

May 23, 2017 6:22 pm

A new member of the forum who is not a paid member has some problems with irrigation but cannot post her own topic. Since I might be about to have a reconnection, I have not explored this topic. Maurice has questions. I thought some more experienced members might have answers. Hope this works.

May 23, 2017 6:45 pm

What is the problem she is having with irrigation?

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May 23, 2017 6:56 pm

She tried it unsuccessfully and made a mess. I will notify her that this post has been made and answered and get her on here. Thanks.

May 24, 2017 5:33 am

Hello Don.

I was unaware that we couldn't post on the forum if we are not paid up members but there is always a blog if she wants to correspond on a particular subject. Also, there are some very informative threads if she goes into the  'collections' section (left hand side of the screen) under 'ostomy and irrigation'.

It's very kind of you to try to help out in this way and as Winnie has said, If we get more idea about what specific problems she is having, then we will be better equipped to give more specific advice on what she might do to resolve the problems.

Best wishes


May 24, 2017 6:49 pm

Bill, thank you for your reply. I have explained the process to her and she should be responding to this post today or tomorrow.

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May 24, 2017 7:11 pm

I have attempted irrigating, and all the liquid comes back out, brownish but out. The doctor says if I could irrigate twice a day, I wouldn't have problems with exploding bags.

May 25, 2017 5:49 am

Hello Maryriceot.

Welcome to the site and to this thread. 

I am presuming that you mean the liquid is coming out as you are trying to put it in, which is a problem that I have.

One of the things about stomas is that not many people know what is happening on the inside of their stoma so it is more difficult for them to find a solution to this sort of problem. Right at the beginning, my stoma nurse stuck her finger deep inside mine and told me which angle I should be pointing the cone in order to avoid 'splashback'. I thought right there and then, that if she can put her finger in there, then so could I, which would enable me to know exactly what I'm dealing with.

In my case one of the muscles close to the stoma exit was closing over the hole completely and not allowing the water to get beyond it. I found that by persisting with my finger in there and exerting enough pressure, the muscle eventually relaxed and let my finger pass further in and there was no obstruction beyond that point. At first, I could just about get the cone to go in as soon as I pulled my finger out but I soon realised that the cone was simply not long enough to get passed the obstruction.

What was needed was a longer tube,  more water, under more pressure than the hanging bag system provided so I got to work devising a suitable, simple system just for me!

I used to anally irrigate before my stoma so I knew that there exists a suitable 'sized' anal catheter, which was unsuitable in design because it also had an air balloon to stop the water escaping. I cut the end off the catheter and fixed it to the end of the tube coming from a pressure pump (this was a garden sprayer). The tube also had a control valve - courtesy of COLOPLAST who make the irrigators. To stop the splashback, I made a plastic shield (out of a suitably shaped bottle of bubble bath) through which I drilled a hole and threaded the tube through. This enables me to adjust the length of tube that goes into the stoma. All the splashback hits the shield and goes harmlessly down the sleeve.

I've been using this system successfully for over a year now and what I have found is that once the water input has begun, I get the splashback for about 30 seconds or so and then, I'm presuming the muscle contracts around the tube because the splashback then ceases until I pull the tube out when I've run out of water.  The pressurised garden sprayer I use holds 3 litres, which is enough to allow for the loss or water due to splashback.

I know it may all sound too complicated, but the device is really very simple and easy to make. It also might be a bit difficult to envisage the  gadget just from a written description, so I'll try to post a photo on my profile when I get time.

Braun Medical do a pressurised system for irrigation but I found that it did not have enough water to compensate for splashback, which is why I opted for a garden sprayer as they come in all sizes Up to several gallons!

Don't give up on irrigation just because there are teathing troubles as there is usually a way around the problems if you can identify precisely what is causing these issues.

Best wishes


May 25, 2017 1:37 pm

Hi Maryriceot, Bill gave good information. I too would let my finger guide me when I first started irrigation. I have some questions for you though. How long have you been irrigating? Do you irrigate every day at the same time? How long do you leave the sleeve on before you put on your pouch? How much water do you use? I know it's lots of questions but this would give an idea of how you're doing things and be able to help you through this.


Jun 22, 2017 6:32 pm

When I irrigate, I do so first thing in the morning. I already have enjoyed a nice glass of water also. When I insert the cone, I let the stoma relax before I start the water flow. If I get splash back, I pull the cone out and let the water flow until it stops. Then I start over again. Sometimes there is some poop right there and needs to get out of the way. I try to irrigate at the same time every time I irrigate. I would start out daily using a reduced amount of water, probably around 750cc or ml, and over a couple of weeks increase that to 1200-1500. Once you have spent a few weeks irrigating daily, you will have learned a lot about your stoma and irrigating. The finger inspection is also a good idea. Good luck and if you have any further questions, just ask on this thread.