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Irrigation Again - Help needed

Posted by Miss Scarlet, on Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:21 pm
It is now 6 days since I started using irrigation. However my colostomy continues to work all day after the irrigation. (It is great really cause it did not work very often before,) However I thought the irrigation would empty the bowel for 24 to 48 hours. I am irrigation every day with 1 litre of water. Does the bowel keep working because it has yet to get used to having water poured in or maybe I am not using enough water. Help.
Reply by Pinky, on Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:08 pm
Hi Maureen - did you have your first session irrigating with the ET?  The nurse usually tells you how much water your colostomy can accommodate.  Many people use 1-1.5 liters, usually all at once, but I have read that in Europe some ETs recommend 500cc, empty, then 500 cc more.

My ostomy is a little unruly too - sometimes I think it depends what you eat during the day - some foods make my ostomy run all day, especially fresh fruits (except bananas).  Also spicy foods, caffeine, and deep fried foods can start things up.  Bagels, toast, potatoes, pasta and other starches tend to keep me "regular".  And a banana each morning is a must for me.

I irrigate every 24 hours, but some on this site go 48-72 hours between irrigations.  They will probably contact you after reading your post.

Good luck and don't give up!  Irrigating is definitely worth it!     Pam  Smile
Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:51 pm
i`m sure everyone will experience different results, and there is no "set rule". i typically irrigate of the evening and try to fast 2 or so hours beforehand. as an example i get off work at 5 and eat when i get home...on the night i intend to irrigate i would skip supper and irrigate about 7 pm. i use 1.5 liters of sure to use the exact temprature 98-99 deg. F.  take a book or something to pass the time...wait 1 hour{start the time after the water is in}. might want to take the phone too...because it is going to ring at least once while you are in  when you are completed...have a small snack or very light supper....this will normally "convince" any thing remaining to "exit",,,plus if you get no return you will know that you are completly evacuated. i avoid high fiber and eat mainly protien. if you eat 5 pounds of are going to get 4 pounds back... it`s not abnormal to get a "slight" bit of output the nexy 2 is clear for me and depending on what/how much i eat so is day 3. it will take a little time to "train" your system to react predictably. if i have any trouble will low return...i will eat a good size handfull of "wheat thin" crackers  7-8 hours before my next irrigation...again, something else may work for you.
good luck and keep us posted of your progress.
Reply by Miss Scarlet, on Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:25 pm
Thanks for your reply PAM. I did have the first session with my stoma nurse. She told me to pull the cone in and out of the stoma when I was putting in the water which meant most of it came straight back out again. My stoma worked but only very little and it was only one half of a litre she said. I also asked her about the tempature gauge on the bag and she said there wasn't one but there is. To be fair she has been a great support up until now but I do not think she knows much about irrigation. If it was not for the video mild mannered super hero advised me to watch on utube I would not have had a clue what to do. I would not have attempted it I don't think. I learn by doing and someone showing rather than from  pamphlet about it.

Thanks Mild Mannered Super Hero. I irrigate first thing in the morning as it suits me better. Thanks for all the tips. I will persevere.

Another thing which happened this morning. Only one half of a litre went in and then the  stoma would not take any more. I checked the flow hose and it was working so I do not understand. I have been prone to blockages so maybe that was it. I will see what happens tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:42 pm
Miss Scarlet wrote:
She told me to pull the cone in and out of the stoma when I was putting in the water


there should be a flow valve on the hose to slow or stop the water as required. i assume you have the bottom of the water bag hanging at shoulder height??
you may have to twist/tilt the cone one way or the other to help the flow....the cone is held lightly in place...if you push too hard you can possibly restrict the flow . since the bowel is constantly make take some water and stop, lightly tilt/move the cone {but do not remove it}.  gravity will win out if you just keep it in and gently  move it around to find that "sweet" spot where the water enters freely. you will feel just a little pressure as the water go`s worries...its a sign that it`s doing the job. it sometimes takes 5-6 mins to get that 1.5 liters in. good luck and keep us posted of your progress.
Reply by WAB, on Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:24 am
A colostomy is a surgically induced opening in the colon. Colostomy irrigation is a way to regulate stool through emptying the colon on schedule. Irrigation involves instilling water into the colon through the opening (stoma), which stimulates the bowel to empty. Repeated irrigation trains the bowel to empty with minimal stool between irrigations. Colostomy irrigation is a personal decision. The advantages of irrigation are freedom of movement, increased comfort, decreased gas, minimal odor, and less diarrhea and constipation.
Read more: How do I Flush a Stoma? |

I think the key word here is training the bowel.........also I remeber when I started it depends on the type of surgery you had....................I do not think all colostomy surgeries are the same and it depeneds on which part of the colon they removed............some stool is very liguid for some and for some should also check ..with surgeon......what type of stoma.....

I will give you a tip which I do..and well makes it much easier for me..I do my irrigation in the shower .........before I wash...all is needed is a bench .....and a bucket ....I find  clean up is easier and..I seem to feel better and relaxed after having showered.............The irrigation bag I hang over the shower spout............Most people shower is the ideal place to do it........clean up a breeze......and is comfortable to do not worry about well they seem to stick more when wet........I have never had a problem..I use Hollister.....( new Image)

My guess is your  bowels  will become used to this procedure.....It took me 5 years before I started to do this..........and well it sets you problem with going to restaurants...dinner parties..and travelling........I am a 11 year ostomate.......

You will find there are not many people doing irrigation..I asked my stoma supply outtlet and they told me I was the only one...for them ...imagine in a city of 3 is probably new for your doctor and stoma nurse.............

Also I was told we should drink plenty of my Doctor as well...we can get dehydrated more easily...........

Good luck to you......I guess you will be hearing from those who irrigate.......
Reply by WAB, on Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:40 am
My apologies Miss Scarlet but I forgot something........

A bit gross..but here goes..the usual scenario.when I want to irrigate ...bear with me

Ok I have done my irrigation in shower on bench and stool is now in bucket....( I dump in toilet after showering) ....I feel I am I stand up and begin to shower...wash my hair...body etc................remember I have been doing this for 6 years now...............................

well I have always found by standing up.....and showering.....and washing I still have stool....and it will come out ...just by putting pressure washing my stomach will clear the happens all the that is why I say it is ideal to do it in the shower....................standing up and pressure clears all for just need pressure on your stomach.......clean up is easy in shower............

Sorry it is a bit gross but this is what works for me......I can go 3 days and nothing in bag as my system has become used to procedure...............

My apologies..but well is what I do...maybe you have to try it once to see.....if you have the same experience......
Reply by Miss Scarlet, on Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:09 am
Mild Mannered Super hero - Thanks for advice. It happened again this morning - only half a litre went in. I will try moving the cone about and not holding it so tight. However the difference this morning is great. Even though only half a litre went in there was a lot of output and my bowel is now silent for a change ( this is now 4 hours since my irrigation) For once I feel my bowel has emptied. Great so maybe half a litre will do the trick. However I will try to put in a litre tomorrow and se what happens.

Wab - I think you are so right. I am training the bowel to perform a different way. I have had so many blockages it is great to think that irrigation will solve my difficulties. Good advice about staying hydrated. Believe it or not I do not have a shower. I live in an old house ( 120 years old ) and the bathroom is a funny shape. If I wanted a shower I would need to get rid of the bath so really doing it in the shower isn't an option for me. Thanks for taking the trouble to tell me what you do. Maybe other people reading this post will try it in the shower. It sounds less mesy.

Another question - I am going on holiday in 5 weeks time to a caravan. I am worried there will be no where to hang my bag of water. What do other people do ?

I am so glad I have this site. I do not know any body else who irrigates but I will be telling everyone how I am progressing at my next Stoma Support Group.


Reply by Pinky, on Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:11 pm
Hi Maureen - when I travelled recently in SF I used a little stick up hook my daughter bought me - I was very surprised it held up the full water bag well and at the end of the week I got it off the fiberglass shower with no trouble.  I have since bought some "S" hooks to hook up on the shower rod but haven't tried one yet.

After I wrote to you I thought about how important the word "training" is.  I'm glad others have commented on it.  

I irrigate sitting in a chair facing the toilet.  It takes about 25-40 minutes for me depending on what's inside!  I love fibrous foods because I went so long without them (7 years)  - like berries, apples, veggies, etc so I have to irrigate every day.  I'm sure if I tried sticking to protein like Mild Mannered Superhero I would lose weight (no carbs) and not have to irrigate everyday!

I use the Coloplast kit because I like the little wheel that shows you how fast the water is flowing in and has the temperature gauge. It's also easy to fill. I just have to get Hollister sleeves to go with my New Image products.  What I try to remember when (often) the water is troublesome first going in is that it is having to fight gravity until it gets into the transverse colon, and sometimes there is also a little stool sitting near the stoma opening that must be washed out.

There is an interesting video on the Cymed site showing Ben Moon, their spokesman, lying down when he irrigates.  So I guess any comfortable position is acceptable!    Smile
Reply by WAB, on Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:42 am
Ahh Miss Scarlet

Ahh yes I agree with Pinky  get some S hardware store....They can attach to shower head .....even if only a should have a shower hotels I sat on the side of the bath....bag hooked on shower head......

I am very curious about your bathroom design ( designer here..and there is always a solution to every problem.............I do have a seperate shower but  ...I also have a cast iron claw foot bath.......that is free standing...............and maybe you have dormers..I am they do have shower curtains that can attach on rods from the ceiling..............I am very curious on the design.....and maybe there is a solution for you....let me know if maybe I can help........

A handy man or handy ...............could fix it for well....doing irrigation  in an enclosed space that is easy  to clean is a breeze.....................and you will not worry about will be more relaxed which  I think is important to do the irrigation

Check your hardware store for S rings and possible suction clips..( heavy duty) ........also a portable tri pod stand  ( like they use for cameras)........would give you a place to hang your bag also...check it out........

So good luck........

Reply by Miss Scarlet, on Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:52 am
PAM - Thanks again. I use the coloplast kit and like the wee wheel to control the flow. I will check out the local hardware stoe for stick on hooks Great idea.

WAB - Thanks for your advice. The Hardware store here I come. I guess if I wanted a shower it could be put into my bathroom. However since I took unwell 3 years ago every lttle thing to me is a potential stress situation. I would like a shower put in but I feel panicky about the mess. And what firm to use who won't rip me off.

Yet another question. I have tried out 2 different sleeves so far. I had the coloplast one which came with the kit. Coloplast 1560 - a two piece with a belt. As I have an urostomy as well the belt went right over my urostomy and is not very comfortable for the hour I have to wear it. Now I am trying a Dansac 950-35 one piece with adhesive. This has leaked underneath a few times. Has anyone a recommendation for a one piece with adhesive that works ?? Or maybe I am not putting the sleeve on right.

Reply by Pinky, on Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:22 am
Maureen - you are one BRAVE lady to be handling two ostomies at once!

I don't use an adhesive sleeve - it has a ring to snap onto the Hollister New Image ring.  I don't really trust an adhesive bag for some reason  Smile
Reply by Miss Scarlet, on Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:08 pm
PAM - When you say you use a ring does this mean with a belt ? Do you have the Hollister model number. I really appreciate your help.
Reply by WAB, on Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:35 pm
Hi again Miss Scarlet

I too have the new Image snap on easy to do not need a belt......
I am sure your ostomy supply store can get one for you....and if you are having problem with the flange ....get some hospital tape.......holds like crazy glue and comes off easy.........

.but here is a trick........for supplies ..and to test things.....

I called the comapany ( many companies) and they sent me a kit free with all kinds of samples......just say you want to try it..maybe they will do it free for you to keep you as a well this is for life............

Calling companies..and speaking to their reps sometimes will get you samples to try..give it a shot................tell them what you think you need.

.is worth a I am sure ostomy supplies are as expensive in your country as they are here.........

Most companies will be happy to do so..........

Good Luck
Reply by Miss Scarlet, on Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:02 am
Thanks Wab. I will phone Hollister on Monday and see if they will send me some to try.
I appreciate your help.
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