Managing Rectal Stump Concerns In Ostomy Patients

Posted by MeetAnOstoMate

For individuals with an ostomy, understanding and managing the various aspects related to their condition is vital for maintaining health and well-being. One of the aspects often requiring attention and consideration is the presence of a rectal stump.

Understanding Rectal Stump

In certain ostomy surgeries, such as ileostomies or colostomies, the rectum might be left intact while the rest of the colon is diverted. The remaining part of the rectum that is closed off and left in place is referred to as the rectal stump. Ostomy patients with a rectal stump should be aware of its presence and understand how it can impact their lives.

Potential Issues with Rectal Stump

  1. Discharge: The rectal stump may still produce mucus naturally, leading to a discharge. Although it’s typically normal and non-harmful, it can be inconvenient and uncomfortable.

  2. Inflammation (Proctitis): In some patients, the rectal stump can become inflamed, leading to a condition called proctitis. Symptoms might include pain, discomfort, feeling of fullness, and the passing of blood or mucus.

  3. Cancer Risk: Though rare, there’s a slight risk of developing cancer in the remaining rectal stump, making regular monitoring essential.

Removal or Not: Weighing the Options

The decision to remove or retain the rectal stump is dependent on various factors:

  • Future Restoration Possibilities: For patients with a potential for future intestinal restoration, preserving the rectal stump may be advised.

  • Medical Complications: If the stump is causing severe issues like chronic inflammation, frequent infections, or dysplasia, removal might be recommended.

  • Overall Health and Surgical Risks: The patient’s general health, age, and surgical risk factors also play a crucial role in decision-making.

Removal of Rectal Stump: What to Expect

The surgical procedure to remove the rectal stump is known as a proctectomy. It can be performed through traditional open surgery, laparoscopically, or with robotic assistance, depending on the patient’s condition and surgeon’s expertise. Recovery time and post-surgical care requirements vary, and potential complications like infections, bleeding, and changes in sexual function should be discussed with the healthcare provider.

Managing a Retained Rectal Stump

For those who choose or need to retain the rectal stump, management focuses on minimizing discomfort and monitoring for changes:

  • Regular Monitoring: Routine check-ups are crucial for identifying and addressing any changes or issues with the rectal stump early.

  • Managing Discharge: Patients should be educated on how to manage mucus discharge effectively and hygienically.

  • Recognizing Symptoms of Proctitis: Awareness of proctitis symptoms allows for early intervention and treatment, reducing the risk of complications.

A rectal stump in ostomy patients can present unique challenges and considerations, requiring careful management and often, decision-making regarding its removal. Each patient’s situation is unique, and decisions should be made in close consultation with healthcare providers who can offer personalized medical advice and guidance.

The content provided in this article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

MeetAnOstoMate is the Largest Independent Ostomy Community. Our goal is to make you feel good. 31,910 members have embraced their new lives and moved on.
Join us.
Top 5 Collections
Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister