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Anxiety and ileostomy

Posted by Geo1958, on Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:14 pm

Hello, I'm new to this site and i have been living with an ileostomy since

1978 due to severe ulcerative colitis.The question i have is after your (ileostomy only)

surgery did your start to develop periodic bouts with depression and or anxiety panic

episodes?  Did your bouts require medication and for how long?

   You see after surgery i started experiencing anxiety and panic episodes on and off

throughout the years and they continue today. After researching a little about serotonin

the feel good chemical ( which 85%-90% is produced in the intestinal tract) and now living

without a large intestinal tract and wondering if there is a connection here. After researching 

i cannot find any information on this relationship. So does anyone know of any information 

on this? Thank you for reading, Geo

Reply by dadnabbit, on Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:14 pm

Geo, I'm pobably NOT a good example but YES, I have suffered from depression and anxiety ever since my colon was stolen by an over zealous surgeon.  Most people that I have read suffered for long periods before finally having their surgery.  For me, I never had any issues, but when I got my annual colonoscopy, an inexperienced GI created a blood clot in my right leg which put me in the hospital with a blue foot within 24 hours.  Two surgeries on the leg solved that issue but created lymphedema-permanently-in my right leg.  Unfortunately, While I was in the hospital, I was put on meds that I was on record as being allergic to, supposedly for CDIFF which tests proved I did NOT have, and they created a roller coaster of issues, including severe blood loss requiring 4 transfusions.  When I refused the meds orally, they were put into IV form and I was advised it was ativan when I asked.  After being poisoned, a surgeon came in and advised me that the colonoscopy showed pre cancerous cells in my large intestine.  He removed my entire colon.  Tests PROVED albeit too late to do me any good, that he had been wrong, and either mis read the test or read someone elses' test, or just plain ignored the pathology given him by the MAYO Clinic.  So, although lawsuits can bring some comfort by way of money, there is NOTHING on God's beautiful earth that can restore my faith in ANYONE in a position of power and authority.  Three years later, I still have a panic attack if someone comes to my locked gate.  I live behind locked doors and windows and don't go out except to required doctors appointments in order to keep my now needed medical supplies coming.  Anxiety and depression are common after this type of surgery, but  I am an extreme case.  However, I do believe you could be onto something because if I have nothing happening to raise my anxiety level I still feel a definite lack of interest in my attitude that very well be caused by less serotonin in my body.  Most people are able to deal with these feelings with a little help of anti depressants.  I'm not sure that's the best solution, but it does work for most.   Good Luck.



Reply by Geo1958, on Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:42 pm

Thank you Nancy for your input. Blessings to you.

Reply by magoo, on Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:18 pm

Hi Nancy ....what a horrible experience you've had Sweetie , my heart  goes out to you . I have never uaed antidepressants but many people use them after removal of the intestine . I haven't seen much written on the subject and I believe there should be much more research into the side effects of the loss of such an important organ.

   I have had periods of depression in the past but always considered it to be part of the recovery process ...I thought that depression was just normal with such a dramatic change in the body .

   I hope you can defeat those fesrs and anxieties Nancy . There is a big beautiful world  out there and you need to see and experience it ..share your Love Nancy have so much wisdom to give. 


Love and Hugs   Eamon .

Reply by dadnabbit, on Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:29 pm

Smile  You made me smile, Eamon.  Thanks.



Reply by magoo, on Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:06 pm

Happy New Year Sweet Lady   XOXO



Reply by magoo, on Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:06 pm

Happy New Year Sweet Lady   XOXO



Reply by Bill, on Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:10 am

Hello Geo.

It would be great if we could establish a connection between depression/ panic attacks and the loss of intestine, especially if there was some way of overcoming it. However, in my past, I have dealt with literally hundreds of people suffering from these conditions and none of them had ileostomies.

My thoughts on the subject are therefore in alignment with those of Magoo/Eamon (above), in that a major trauma such as this operation and its after-effects can induce depression, anxiety, panic attacks and several other symptoms which are often associated with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).   If not treated and managed, this can continue for years after the event that triggered it.

The good news is, that there are things that can be done to help this condition and I would urge you to seek help from someone who specialises in PTSD. Perhaps try reading about the conditon on the internet and see if any of the symptoms ring a bell for you with your own symptoms. There have been some very promising and simple solutions to this problem, which has been rife with military veterans  who have come back from war zones.

I hope you can find  a resolution to your problem soon.

Best wishes


Reply by dadnabbit, on Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:50 pm

Hey Geo, My PTSD has been diagnosed as uncomplicated PTSD which, despite it's seemingly innocuos definition, is a bit more complicated than most other types of PTSD.  It requires more than just meds and therapy. The initial solution is to remove the patient from the persistent re-experiencing of the traumatic event.  It also includes avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma. For me that would be doctors and hospitals. The anxiety related to a severe belief in betrayal has been translated to my fear of anything/anyone that causes the patient to re-live the traumatic experience.  I WILL NEVER TRUST A PERSON IN A POSITION OF AUTHORITY AND POWER AGAIN.  That is a strong statement, but I realized that once I was in the hospital, I had NO SAY over my care, try as I might.  I was disregarded, ignored, lied to, lied about, my records were IGNORED, and changed (although thanx to modern computers that is not as easy to do as the hospital thought) and basically I was treated as if I had no idea about my 60 year old body and what was happening.  These are very good indicators of cover ups.  Before this experience, I was a very informed and aware patient and ALWAYS knew what was going on with my physical health. I was open and trusting and I was active beyond the norms, having lived a life full of sports, Hell I even raced in the Baja 1000 in my early 20's in the early 70's!! and that is no small test of physical stamina.  I played BB in school, roller skated or biked to work, lived on the beach in San Diego and Baja, as well as being in the beautiful bay area of Cali in the seventies/eighties.  In other words, I was not a physical slouch, but after a severe knee injury, I put on weight.  The AUTOMATIC assumption of MANY doctors after my weight gain as to who and what I was was immediate and deplorable.  My PCP is fully aware of me before and after, and my numbers (BP, blood work, heart) have always been and remain GREAT.  But her control of my medical care begins and ends at her office.  Her input is considered interference once admitted to the hospital.

So, AS both Bill and Magoo have suggested, if you are depressed and anxious, get some help to figure out what exactly is causing it to persist.  That is the beginning.  Group therapy helps many and the meds help to keep things under control until you can figure things out.  These things are NOT a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of intelligence and a willingness to continue to participate.  AS Magoo has just and in the past encouraged me to keep trying to re join society.  I imagine and hope that eventually I will find that trigger that allows me to, against my inner anxiety, trust again in another human being.  Until then I reside within my four walls and reach out to the world through sites such as this one to share my experiences.



Reply by Ostomytalk, on Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:32 pm

I also had to deal with bouts of depression mostly to do with the fact that I'd never see my large bowel again. I found marijuana helped with no side effects and I would never recommend antidepressant chemical drugs!

Reply by freedancer, on Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:33 pm

Absoutly, positively yes!!  I still do.  Last week I was on a major pity party.  You know, why me why now.  I just retired in April 2017 and picked up Maxine in July in emergency surgery.  The depression started shortly after and the anxiety when I went home a week and a half later.  There were times I couldn't get to sleep and other times I woke up shaking and in fear.  I don't have the anxiety as much now but the depression will often invade me.  I just keep praying and asking God to intervene and pull me out of it and He always helps me.  Afterall, if it wasn't for God guiding my surgeons hands, I would no longer be here.  Things are much better now as I heal.  I have issues with gassy pain and that makes me very depressed alot of the time.  Anyway, I think I will get a handle on this too but it will take some time.  Just have faith.  I believe that God can and will help you if you ask and are open to His help.

Reply by freedancer, on Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:36 pm

I really hope you sued this yahoo!!  I am referring to the person who had the inept surgeon!

Last edited by freedancer on Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
Reply by freedancer, on Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:37 pm

I really hope you sued this yahoo!!

Reply by GraphX12, on Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:53 am

Hello Geo, this is a very good question and one I have pondered many times also. I had my initial ileostomy 4 ½ years ago (with 2 subsequent surgeries since) and have been on and off medications for depression ever since. I always assumed the depression was a direct result of the trauma and major life change. Have you found reliable documentation that 85 – 90% of serotonin is produced in the intestinal tract? Interesting.

Reply by Br37, on Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:45 am

Hi Geo, lately I also have been having a terrible problem with panic/anxiety attacks. Along with this I have insomnia and sleep apnea. I have a different type of ostomy, a ileal conduit urostomy which has not worked out well at all for me. Numerous surgeries to repair the hernias and constant UTI's which had damaged my kidneys. I have hydronephrosis which causes me to have an insane frequency of needing to empty my pouch. At times every five minutes. Along with this I have IBS which is getting worse and adding to the anxiety I have. My doctor has given me Xanax which does help, but I don't want to become totally adicted and dependant to it. Geo you are not alone, anxiety and depression are very hard to deal with. I get a kick out of when well meaning people tell me to try to relax. Believe me, if I could I would.LOL. Geo my best to you and I hope you can feel better soon. Take care



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