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Loop ileostomy and problems with hard mucus build up

Posted by Kateinbed, on Sat Jul 15, 2017 2:54 pm

I have a loop ileostomy and had the surgery due to dymotility of the gut and pseudo obstruction( no longer had any peristaltic wave to move things along ) this happened after two lots of major surgery on my spine done through my abdomen. I had the surgery done one year ago this month. The problem I now have is that I have a buildup of mucus in my back passage fairly high up and can't get it out,when I lay down I can feel it and feels like in need a BM and is quite uncomfortable, But when i sit on the lavatory the feeling completely goes and I'm unable to push as have no feeling. I have put surgical gloves on and tried to manually remove it myself only able to get a small ball as its too high up

Desperate for any helpful advise.



Reply by Bill, on Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:17 am

Hello Kateinbed.

Sorry to hear that you are having these sorts of problems.

You do not say when you had your surgery and this might be relevant because mucus buildup in the anal stump is quite common soon after this type of surgery.

I had some painful, disgusting and seemingly irresolvable problems like this for about a year after surgeryand having tried all sorts of things to resolve the issue, such as digital extraction, suppositories, anal irrigation with the cone, nothing seemed to be working. Eventually, I made a gadget( or rather two gadgets becasue one did not do the job properly).

These were made from anal catheters that I had been using prior to the operation; I adapted them so that they fitted onto the shower in the bath, which gave me enough pressure to force the mucus from the end and sides of the anl stump without causing damage to the tissue. The technique which worked best was to first use the catheter with the end cut off ( and shaped) so that the water shot straight out of the end and cleaned the top end of the stump; I then changed the catheter for the original design which shoots the water out of the sides. Pushing the catheter up the stump and gradually pulling it back out with a twisting round and round movement, dislodged the mucus from the side walls of the anus and forced it out.

Disgusting as it may seem, it gave me great satisfaction to see all that gunge floating down the bath, knowing that it was no longer inside me! It also educated me into seeing what was causing my pain. After about 6-9 months, the mucus started to become clear, runny and odourless , rather than the disgusting, smelly, semi-solid, multi-colours it had been before.  Once it had settled down to the clear output I slowed down and then stopped the irrigation and just used incontinence pads to catch the output and I am still doing that today.

I will pass on the very appropriate warning that the nurses conveyed to me when I wanted to try this method for the first time: There are very real dangers in poking catheters up your anus where you can easily puncture the lining of the colon and then you are in real trouble. This danger is greater because there are few nerve cells in that region to let you know when you are causing pain. In my case, the surgeon was not prepared to say how much anal stump there was left, so I was guessing as to where the end of it was. This was why I used the water pressure to do the work, so that it was less likely to puncture the tissue.

I do empathise with you plight in dealing with this matter and I am convinced that the medical profession ought to be giving you appropriate advice and practical help to resolve it.

The method I used has its dangers and I would not recommend it to anyone else as a DIY process. However, If you could find a medic that would do the irrigation for you or at least help you for the first few times,  I would be glad to pass on the design of the apparatus that might be able to assist them in their endeavours.

Best wishes


Reply by vdahl, on Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:21 pm

Hi Kate,

I just tried to respond to your question but I must have hit a key or something wrong because it's missing! Some unsuspecting person out in cyberspace is probably going to receive a message wondering what in the heck I'm talking about :)


I THINK I had a similar question last month so I'm just pasting it below to see if we're on the same page... if so, I'd really like to chat with you about it because I'm still having issues and I have passed the mucus plugs. OH... and what does CFS/ME mean?

HERE WAS MY QUESTION (I got no response):

I had surgery February 2nd at which time a loop ileostomy was done bypassing the large intestine. For several weeks I've felt like I need to have a [normal] bowel movement and lots of pain & cramping. I have talked to my surgeon and had a simple xray. It seems I'm having symptoms of  Diversion Colitis. She has prescribed Dicyclomine (Bentyl) but I think the cramps are worse. She also mentioned Short Chain Fatty Acid enemas. They are not covered by insurance because they have to be formulated at a local pharmacy. I don't know what to expect or how they work and would like to know if anyone has advice or personal experience.
Thanks for your time,

Reply by Kateinbed, on Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:51 pm

Hi Bill,l Thank you for your reply I actually ended up in hospital on Monday as I went to see my GP in the morning and they sent me into hospital. I have motility problems with the whole gut and so I get pseudo obstruction and slow output sometimes as well, but wasn't expecting ,since having the ileostomy 12months ago and I wasn't passing any mucus at all,  that it just was building up inside I did mention once to the surgeon that I had read people pass mucus but I didn't ?and he just said everyone is different!! Now I know I was producing it all along but my large bowel, Which is still in place, does not release it down to the rectum. I had enemas done over two days with an anaesthetic gel as the pain was horrendous and sooooo  much congealed stuff with blood came out I couldn't believe that was inside of me and even the nurses I had hadn't seen that before -so I now have to wait to see my surgeon,he is on leave and I have to wait six weeks now but am terrified of that happening again.

I don't think I could do what you do as I am not brave enough to risk that and also have the whole large bowel in place would have too much to clear 😮😥

i wish you well and make sure you take care!!!

best wishes Katherine 

Reply by Bill, on Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:13 am

Hello Katherine.

Thanks for the update and I'm pleased for you that they have cleared it for now, although the proceedure doesn't sound very pleasant.  I can just imagine how much hardened mucus would have been there if I had not found a solution to the problem at an early stage. Asi t was there was copious amounts of the stuff coming out on a daily basis.

It will be interesting to find out if the medics come up with a more satisfactory permanent solution for you. From what I was offered, it seemed as if the only thing they had by way of a suggestion was to have the lower bowel removed altogether and seal up the anus. The surgeon explained that the proceedure was much more involved than when I had a stoma and they have to open us up properly. I declined the offer and felt that I would persevere with the problems as they were, until such time as they became unbearable. As it happened, the situation improved the more I irrigated so I've been relatively free of anal mucus for some time and I stopped anal irrigation a few years back.

Anyway,  I hope your situation resolves itself or gets resolved soon.

Best wishes


Reply by Sis1949, on Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:46 pm

Kateinbed:  I had an Ileostomy in Nov 2016 due to slow Mobility but still have my large colon attached.  I do have some mucus discharge after doing about three Enigma during my shower.  I think I may have the same problem as you and not getting it all out as I'm very uncomfortable in the stomach area and it seems its worse than 2 months ago.  I've been to my GI doctor and she thinks its my psoas muscle that is too tight.  Really?  now I have another issue?  She sent me to a therapist to learn how to stretch this muscle and also I found some excersices I'm doing online.  I'm still in pain.  I have an appointment with her in Feb.  My question for you is what did your GI doctor suggest to do about the mucus buildup?  Remove your large colon??  

Hope you found relief.






Reply by vdahl, on Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:44 pm

Hi Kateinbed and Sis1919,

You two are the first I've found that really understands what it happening. I was told a long time ago, on another site, that leaving the large intestine/bowel is nothing but trouble. I see you both have other issues as well which play a part in not being able to pass this mucos. I am never with out the pressure and discomfort but I have tried to accept it as a part of the initial pelvic floor problems. I told my surgeon about it (noted: I was very careful not to seem that I was telling her how to do her job) but she said it's nonsense and we under no uncertain terms I was informed we would NOT be removing the large intestine. She also reiterated the fact that the ileostomy may not help with the pelvic floor!! She DID, however, prescribe cortisone enemas.

I am almost to my 1 year anniversary of the surgery and still can't get the skin around my stoma healed. I know it's largely because the active side of the "loop" ileostomy gets pushed below the surface by the inactive side. It's another issue I've tried to discuss only to be told she will not revise it. She even told me some people never get the skin totally healed... do you think that's the truth?

I can't tell you how relieved I feel to finally run across a couple people who really understand me. I'm all ears if you have any advice or suggestions.

Patience has not been my strong suit, I will admit. I'm getting pretty frustrated though.

Looking forward to your thoughts, Vicki

Reply by Sis1949, on Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:13 pm

I've had a problem having a bowl movement for around 20 years.  I've been to the Mayo Clinic which they said I had pelvic floor disfuction and sent me to two week of retraining my pelvic floor.  Didn't work.  Used Maralix for years.  Then that didn't work very well so started using it with exlax. 

Saw GI doctors after GI doctors. The last one had me take Liness which worked ok but still having stomach issues (uncomfortable) so she then she there wasn't much more she can give me.  So I asked her to refer me to a surgeon which she did. 

I had taken a mobility test which you swallow "markers".  About 27 of them.  then you go in and get an exray every few days to see where they are.  AFter a week I still have 21 of them scattered throughout my colon.   Which proved my colon was not moving correctly.

So I had a Ileostomy which I can live with.  But why the pain??  As I said my GI doctor thinks my Psoas muscule is too tight.  I'm doing excerciese for it every day to see if this helps.  I would like my large colon removed.  I know I won't reverse my Ileostomy so why keep it if it could be causing me pain.

I'll let you know what my doctors says after I see her in Feb.  

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