Bowel Movements and Ostomy: Irregularity, Discomfort, and Solutions?


I've had my ostomy since October, with surgery for a prolapse in November and a stoma revision 2 weeks ago. I found that rather than the usual morning bowel movement I used to have, I will go three or four days without a bowel movement. While this can cause some discomfort, it can also surprise me with an extremely full pouch, often in the middle of the night. It also seems that after a couple of days without a bowel movement, I develop gas pains that will keep me awake at night.

Is this normal? I do not like relying on milk of magnesia to get things flowing, so I have tried prune juice, which seems to help sometimes. I don't really have any dietary restrictions, but maybe the answer lies there. Also, has anyone had experience with probiotics to keep things regular.

NJ Bain


I'm assuming you have a colostomy. If that is the case, you might try irrigating. I hear it helps and prevents the "full pouch" problem. If you have an ileostomy, irrigating cannot be done.

Just type in "irrigating" in the search field at the top of the screen. Hope this helps.


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Thanks for your suggestion, I'll look into that.



I take probiotics and don't eat anything gassy after 3 pm! I drink lots of lemon water!


If you qualify for irrigation (and you should), that is the easiest way to keep things normal. You will determine when you go to the bathroom, there will be no leaks or surprises at night. I was reluctant to try it at first, but now I can't imagine life without this valuable tool. I suggest you go to YouTube and search colostomy irrigation. Good luck.

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You said you just had a stoma revision 2 weeks ago. Any kind of surgery can mess up your system. Things may resolve themselves when your body completely recuperates from the surgery.

If it doesn't, I agree with everybody on the irrigation thing if you have a colostomy. It can definitely help with constipation. Other than that, I'd eat lots of fruits and veggies...drink more prune juice...lots of water... exercise...anything to get things moving again...just like you would if you had the same problem with no ostomy. Good luck to you.



As others have stated, irrigation with a colostomy may end your discomfort by releasing all that pressure and poo that stores up!

It has brought some normalcy to my life. You may not have to irrigate every day but every other if your system allows!

So worth a try! Talk to your ostomy care nurse. They will teach you or as I did, watch the YouTube videos. Watch them several times first!




Thanks for your advice, I will keep it in mind. My daughter suggested I try eating bananas, easy to do, I like them anyway. I've had one every morning with breakfast and so far, so good.

Thanks again,



Been almost a year since my ostomy and I never poo. I got to hate Milk of Mag so I tried irrigating a few months ago. At first, it was a failure but I kept on trying. About the seventh time, it worked and I've been doing that every 3 days since. It makes life so much easier. Also, I looked at all on YouTube before I ordered my kit... no regrets. I feel in control of something, lol.




Congratulations! That is everyone's dream to only have to irrigate every three days. I do it every other day but should do it daily because I still have output in between! Changing diet helps! It still has given me a freedom I did not have with a pouch alone!



Carl, I love bananas but find they give me gas and blow my pouch up! I may have to try with Gas-X or something!


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