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Colostomy Reversal Experiences

Posted by k.carl, on Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:56 am

Hi. Two weeks ago I had my colostomy reversal surgery and wonder if others out there would be willing to share their experiences with me on pain, any issues after surgery (what I should look out for) and any long-term issues as a result of having the colostomy or reversal surgery. I only had my colostomy for 9 weeks before the reversal (got it early Jan 2017 as a result of emergency surgery to address a burst colon from diverticulitis. Thank you so much.

Reply by honestabe, on Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:59 pm

Hi, my reversal failed due to colon growing back together where tumor was removed. Had complete blockage for 3 weeks. No one would listen. Anyway, have permanent colostomy with prolapsed stoma. Don't think you have to worry! Good luck! Steve

Reply by hologramdesign, on Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:00 pm

Hi k.carl,

I had a colostomy reversal in early December last year (2016) , about 12 weeks after first getting it due to a tear in colon from diverticulitis also. It's been 4 months now and everything has been just fine. During the first 5 or 6 weeks, I would get occasional, sharp-sudden nerve like pains. This was just inner healing still occuring from them poking around and doing all that work in there. I also over did it around week 5 or so when I went out to shovel snow, while telling myself I wouldn't over do it! Apparently you can more easily get a hernia... so please do take the warnings about not lifting anything heavy seriously. Overall, the recovery was 90% within the first 10 weeks. The tissue around where my colostomy was swollen/bulky looking and be quite hard to the touch and would be sore to press on. It still a little tender/sensitive now, 4 months later, but only slightly. Getting my stiches out was a bit sore/gnarly feeling just becuase the skin began to grow over them. Nothing terrible, but I was a little surprised when the Doc took them out and felt a bit nausiated at that.

As for food, I quickly re-doscovered they joy of eating food without contemplating seeing it again later! That set me off, stuffing myself a little too much. I gained back weight I had lost while waiting for the reversal, as I did not eat much / feel like eating much.

Most of all, more than anything, I was relieved it was over. Knowing I had a reversal coming made me very unaccepting of my condition. That is, I never tried to become acustomed to having a colostomy & bag because it felt like a handicap to me. I counted off every single day until that reversal and then when it was done, felt like I was returned to normal. I got my life back. And a new appreciation for it too.

Hope that there is something in all this for you. God bless and God Speed your recovery. Welcome to the reversal club! If this ever happened to me again, I could handle it much, much better. Its a shocking experience for your average Joe (or Jason:)


Reply by CharK63, on Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:06 pm


I had my reversal ten months after emergency colostomy due to bowel perforation caused by blockage.

The reversal was May 2016 and I have just now gotten my wound closed because I contracted a MRSA infection at the site.

It took a long time to get diagnosed and I even had an incisional hernia repaired in the meantime.

Pay attention to weight limits! Try not to lift any more than 5lbs for at least 2 months no matter what they say. Yes, it is very difficult to maintain but try your hardest.

They release you after 6 weeks but I felt nowhere near healed at 6 weeks. I'm retired and I was so glad I didn't have to go back to a job earlier than felt like.

In emergency surgery we had all our intestines and organs shifted around and man handled so reversal is easier in that respect.

I had complete kidney failure and died a couple times during my first surgery. I was scheduled to have robotics perform my takedown but because of scar tissue and excess bleeding I had another full surgery.

I knew I had to produce a bowel movement before I could go home and that scared me a lot. It also scared me that I had to get up and walk to the bathroom when it came. I was not getting up and down well at all.

I was in the hospital for only 5 days and at home I take care of my mom so I knew it wouldn't be easy.

My support system felt I should be up and running when I wasnt.  Instead of begging for help I told mom she's going to have to do for herself because I just didn't have it in me.

With the other issues I had I feel like I'm just now challenging myself into regular activities. I've been symptom free for only 2 weeks.

I was diagnosed as a MRSA carrier in my pre op visit. I didn't know what that meant and I didn't get any answers when I asked about it. I should have had at least one run of antibiotics prior to surgery. I could very well have infected myself not knowing what I was dealing with.

In an effort to protect my mom I learned that we couldn't share the same bathroom and I had to keep our clothes separate and of course not share towels. I had to use antibacterial soap to bathe in and used diluted bleach on the opened wound.

I couldn't find a antibacterial shampoo so I added eucalyptus and tee tree oil to my own. I found out how hard it is to keep sterile in a home environment. Knowing I'd had the infection for months and it was late to be trying.

Back to reversal. You have to learn the new you. I used to have a b.m. every 3-4 days so when I didn't go for 5-6 days I didn't even notice. I now take stool softeners twice a day and Miralax once a day.

I'm often so loose that I don't notice I've had an accident! I really noticed that my "go" sensation down there was at a different spot and I can't explain that any better, sorry.

I think my organs are pretty much back in place now so I know more that what and where I feel in my abdomen is real now. It's been ten months again.

Im dragging this out, I'm sorry. I'm trying to remember any important stuff but maybe that says alot, I'm having trouble remembering!

Good Luck! It was worth it! I'm glad to be alive!


Reply by Investo, on Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:45 pm

Hi Charlotte,


I just went through the colostomy reversal 8 days ago.  It was not a cake walk that I invisioned it to be. I go to the bathroom at night...some nights 25 times within a 20-30 minute window.  Some flat stool comes out but mainly mucous.  Does this go away? I play a lot of golf and wonder if I can anymore because I am usually on the course for 4.5- 5 hours.  I hope that is not the case.  -Marty. ****

Reply by ABD1972, on Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:36 am

Hello all.


I will be two weeks post colostomy reversal this Wednesday, and today is my first Post Op with the Doctors.  I had an emergency colostomy performed on May 27th, due to a perforated colon, the result of diverticulitis.  My reversal was performed 8 weeks later on July 25th.  I was petrified of rolling the dice on it, because I had an "end colostomy" aka a "Hartsmann Procedure" and what I read scared me TO DEATH that this type of reversal brought with it, all sorts of issues.  

I was very lucky in that my reversal was able to be conducted solely with laporascopic surgery.  I have the open wound where the stoma used to be (which makes me feel like I'm in David Cronenberg's Videodrome), and three staples one of which admittedly is the biggest pain, because the muscle burns underneath it but otherwise, I'm doing....better frankly than I anticipated I'd do, having read NOTHING but horror stories about colostomy reversals, and I was quite fearful to do it, but boy am I glad I did.  The worst thing I'm contending with now, is the staples (which likely come out today), some nerve pain, and that bowel movements are strange, as is my poor bladder which had spasms during both surgeries.  The first few days, being REALLY full of gas were.....NOT pleasant, but not unmanageable either.  Once that horrible feeling of being pumped full of air, like Violet Beauregard in Willie Wonka after she eats that three course dinner gum, released, things began to go MUCH better.  Every day I could feel improvement.

Unlike what I've read about "having an accident when you thought you only moved air" hasn't happened to me, if anything I think I may be the opposite.  I have to really work to get the poo out.  It comes  out, and it's starting to look less like loose poo and more like actual poop but it's not the same sensation as what used to happen when I wanted to poop, where you feel the urgency and then go to it.  In my case it's more like...I get a vague feeling that it MIGHT happen, and then I have to push to get any of it out, but I'm hoping the doctors will tell me that over time I'll regain the bowel feelings I used to have.

Otherwise, I'm doing okay!  I can't say this enough, WALKING is the best post op pill they can prescribe for you as it keeps the bowel in motion and wakes everything up.  It's been broiling hot here in NYC so I've been doing the laps in my house.  

Reply by Investo, on Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:57 am

Hi there,

I can share my experiences with you.  I am 4 months post op snd can tell you that the first few weeks were rough. 

Reply by ABD1972, on Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:00 pm

Thanks!  I definitely will.  So far?  I think it's not so bad, but I'm always happy to get perspectives.

Reply by ABD1972, on Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:08 pm

I think I got it before they stripped it out

Reply by WingChunjeff, on Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:36 pm

I had a bad infection because of my appendix bursting which filled my abdomen with infection.  It killed part of my bowel which had to be removed and I got a colostomy.  It also spread to my pancreas and then my lungs and I was near death three times.  I am over 6 feet tall and looked like an AUschwitcz survivor when I got out of the hospital.  Through walking and practicing Kung Fu daily I put on 35 pounds of mostly muscle.  I got out of the hospital September 29 and I am going to have an colonoscopy in April and I am supposed to get reversal surgery in May.  They would have done it sooner but wanted me to make a full recovery and gain strength.  I hope eventually to lift weights at the gym.   Is this possible?  I already have been punching a punching bag 150 times a day and kicking like 100 times.  I like being active.

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