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Problems You May Incurr With Your Ileostomy

Updated on June 22, 2010


Causing obstructions.
Causing obstructions.

Other Things You Probably Don't Like To Think About

This part was actually part of another hub that I decided, with some advice, needed some "shortening". Pardon the pun here. LOL I will say again, that it is my hope to be here for others who have faced, or is facing, an Ileostomy all alone.

If this does help someone, please drop me a line. And I am always open for constructive critisism. It has done wonders for my writing.

My problems consisted of: Severe Skin Problems- Large areas of skin that are reddened, sore and weeping (always wet) will prevent a good seal around the stoma. ~I have some scarring from these types of problems. It took me quite awhile to learn how to heal these problems and still be able to wear my appliance. Just ask. :)

There are occasions when the ileostomy does not function for short periods of time. This is normal. However, if the stoma is not active for 4 to 6 hours and is accompanied by cramps and/or nausea, the intestine could be obstructed. An obstruction (or blockage) may be partial; that is, some liquid may pass through. Call your doctor or ostomy nurse in either case to discuss the situation. ~When I had this type of problem, I was taught to "milk" the tummy area right against my stoma. It worked the obstruction out, and then I would get flooded. So be prepared if that should happen to help you.

Watch for swelling of the stoma and adjust the opening of the pouch accordingly until the problem has passed. Take a warm bath to relax the abdominal muscles. Sometimes a change in body position, such as assuming a knee to chest position, may encourage movement of the bolus of food. Do not take a laxative. Obstruction can be caused by high-residue foods such as Chinese vegetables, pineapple, nuts, coconut and corn. It can also be caused by internal changes such as adhesions. ~Adhesions- I have many of those. Most are from the colectomy, and some are from other surgeries I have had since.

Adhesions are VERY painful. They will scare you and send you to your doctor. I would advise you though to not be concerned with how many times you have to see him or her, always, ALWAYS, make sure everything is okay with your ostomy and your remaining digestive system.



Keep The Electrolytes Balanced

Diarrhea When diarrhea occurs, the intestinal contents pass through the small intestine too quickly for the absorption of fluids and electrolytes to take place and may cause excessive loss of fluids and electrolytes. You must quickly replace these electrolytes to avoid becoming ill from dehydration and mineral deficiency.

However, loose stool can come from eating certain foods and is usually temporary. Raw fruits and vegetables, milk, fruit juice, prune juice or contaminated drinking water are examples. Loose stool may also be caused by emotional stress.~ (I had plenty of that)Some people with ileostomies may always have “watery discharge” and this is normal for them.

Diarrhea has these characteristics:

• The intestine discharges great quantities of watery stool.

• It comes on suddenly and may be accompanied by cramps.

Diarrhea can be caused by:

• Intestinal flu which may be accompanied by fever and vomiting.

• Antibiotics, penicillin and other prescription medications.

• Partial obstruction characterized by odorous discharge, cramps, forceful liquid output and excessive noises from the stoma. It can be caused by food or other factors. You should seek medical attention if this occurs.

If diarrhea persists, consult your physician or ostomy nurse. Take medications as prescribed. Then replace fluids by taking one cup of sweetened, clear tea or one glass of orange juice followed the next hour by one cup of salty broth. Continue alternating the drinks until diarrhea subsides.

Electrolyte Balance

Electrolyte balance (especially potassium and sodium) is important. When the colon (large intestine) is removed, a greater risk for electrolyte imbalance can occur.

Diarrhea, excessive perspiration and vomiting can increase this risk. Your diet should include fluids and foods rich in sodium and potassium. ~If you continue to have problems with nausea or vomiting, make sure to talk to your Dr. and possibly have him or her prescribe medication for this. It can become very dangerous if you become very dehydrated.

Dehydration is a common concern with symptoms of increased thirst, dry mouth, decreased urine output and fatigue. Increase any type of fluids such as Gatorade®, PowerAde® ,or Pedialyte®~ which is high in potassium and sodium.

I have dealt with many bouts of blockage and diarrhea. When dealing with blockage I would have to continuously massage my tummy around the stoma area. I would have to "milk" the stoma site also. Sometimes I would have to remove my appliance in order to let something pass through. During bouts of blockage and diarrhea, it was very hard to maintain my work, wherever I was working. I learned quickly to always have a change of jeans and underclothes with me in case of leakage also.



Short Bowel Syndrome

This condition happens in Crohn’s disease or diseases of the small intestine when surgery is required to remove a substantial amount of the small bowel. This condition merits special attention because of the loss of the intestine’s vital absorptive function.

People with this condition must remain under a physician’s supervision. They can live a normal life but must be careful to maintain adequate nourishment, avoid diarrhea and to be within reach of medical care. The shorter the small intestine, the more liquid the discharge will be. This may reduce the time a pouch can be worn because of more rapid undermining of the skin barrier. Special pouching systems areavailable for high, liquid ileostomy output.

~Though I do not have Crohns and such, I have this condition, especially since the BCIR. I have to have a monthly B-12 shot, and have many problems with digestion of many medications. During my first pregnany I began to lose a few of the fillings I had in my teeth. And during my second pregnancy my teeth actually began to fall apart. I had to have several of my teeth removed at the age of 30 and by the age of 32 I was wearing dentures. This was because of the depletion of calcium in my body from absorption problems. At the age of 34 I was diagnosed with Osteopenia. My height had been 5'5 1/2" at that time. This past year my osteopenia developed into Osteoporosis, and my height is now 5'" 4 1/4". I have a slight hump to my back at the age of 43. None of the medications that a normal ostoep. sufferer takes breaks down and absorbs for me so I am now taking daily shots of Forteo. ~

~Medication in the form of coated tablets or time release capsules may come out whole in the pouch and be of no benefit at all. Discuss this with your healthcare provider or pharmacist if this occurs. There may be alternative medications that you can use to avoid this problem. Liquid or liquid gel medications provide faster and more effective absorption.


Check With Your Pharmacist

Your pharmacist may be able to give your some forms of medications in a liquid form, but if not, ask if the pill can be crushed and still be effective. This is what I use.
Your pharmacist may be able to give your some forms of medications in a liquid form, but if not, ask if the pill can be crushed and still be effective. This is what I use.

Small Every Day Health Issues

 I loved my little old Dr./Surgeon. He had taken care of my grandma and her 2 cancer scares/concerns. I felt comfort from him. I would never forget how hard it was to tell me what he had had to do to me. But, after about 6 mo. of running to him for every little thing, he informed me that I would need to see my PCP for all the little stuff. LOL
Couldn't help it, just couldn't seem to leave him, but I did. And that may be the case that you will be faced with. Don't worry, most PCP's are well informed these days. But, if you ever question a PCP's judgement, always give your surgeon a call. Most likely, it will be a question that your surgeons Med. Asst. can answer for you. Do not be afraid to inform your PCP of your concerns either. Believe it or not, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. LOL
The more involved you are with your recovery and new life skills, the more your PCP will take notice, generally.
Do not get scared if you see minute bits of blood. More than likely you will have some of this from your stoma being rubbed against or pinched. But if you are in any kind of pain, see your surgeon immediately.
This is about all I can think of right now. But as always, if you have any questions, just ask.



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    • profile image

      Candy 4 years ago

      Just wanted to say that ive had an iliostomy for about 6 yearz now and used to have a lot of issuez trying to keep my pouch sticking to my skin when i changed it, so id end up changing it 2-3 timez a day till i discovered a little trick that workz every time, after cutting the pouch to the right size and removing the plastic cover i uze a blow dryer to heat the adheasive then apply it to my stomach. Workz every time:)

    • profile image 4 years ago

      My name is Trish I have had an illeostomy for 34 years it saved my life always managed it fine , but I have started having bleeding from my storma . My therapist tells me I might have to see the surgeon I am really worried not knowing what he has to do . Has anybody had this problem . Trish

    • profile image

      Ron 5 years ago

      I am 67, recently had to have stoma moved to left side due to severe obstrucion that almost cost me my life. Now I have an almost flush stoma and stomach distension. I have some suggestions that I have gathered serendipty, necessity being the mother of invention.

      First, I believe that I stumbled on a possible alternative treatment for UC forty years ago when on TPN. Complaining about pain I asked them to try a pain reliever.Absolutely not was the answer; too dangerous (paralytic ileus, toxic megacolon etc). I asked for an alternative to opiates, they sent a pychiatrist who without telling me what it was put me on" Haldol" whenI a asked if there was anything available that would disassociate my mind from the pain. Within three days I was in complete remission. The doctors were puzzled and did not make any connection with the haldol I was given, neither did I. I did not associate the Haldol witth the remission until after I had submit to an emergency ileostomy ten years later. In retrospect if I had the choice of an ileostomy and a strong med like Haldol that IF used for a short term has no side effect I would now take the latter.

      I have told this story to doctors and all I get is condescending remarks about stress. I wish some research would be done regarding my experience. Meanwhile, only pychiatrists prescribe it so take a hint.

      If you have blockages try Welches grape juice (half glass) it sometimes works. Stop eating too fast. Drink water between bites. Avoid water chestnuts, asparagus, turnips and other highly fibrous veggies.

      Afraid of bag leaks? If you use a Hollister curved clip try a one centimeter O ring found at a specialty hardware to supplement the hook closure. It works! from a dollar store I found a small metal paper- binder clip with folding wire handles, it works great to supplement velcro closures as the wire handles fold nicely after the clamp is attatched (also try a stationary store- they are less than one half inch in size).

      You can cut the tape that surrounds the appliance to lessen irritation. Unlike the recommendation from Hollister and other companies I use an alcohol based skin prep right up to the stoma (yes it stings and itches for a minute or two). When I cut the surrounding tape by the way I leave a corner alone folding the end to make a tab to facilitate easy removal.

      I use the original "Securi T" stoma paste in the metal squeeze tube. I only recently discovered I can prevent cap problems with drying of the paste at the end by storing the closed tube of paste upside down in a cup of water. To soften the paste before squeezing the tube you can soak it in hot water. Use a finger dipped in water to smooth the paste around the stoma and use a hair dryer judiciously to make sure everything is dry before applying pouch, or face plate.

      Hope these suggestions have helped someone.

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      Janke1369 5 years ago

      Im really new at this my ileostomy is 5 days old. The long ride home killed me. I got home I had to empty bag, Them had like this attack, I went light headed, stomach hurt, started to sweat, and then it passed, the bag filled up and I was good. today I took my time I ate slow and drank a lot, those same feeling came over me and I was vomiting, I still have discharge into the bag, not as much cause i tossed my cookies. Omg this was such a mistake, thought I was ready.

    • profile image

      Shelly 5 years ago

      My 32 year oild daughter has severe crohns and has been hospitalized most of the last 3 years. A year ago she had a ileostomy which has not helped her situation as her small bowel does not absorb and she is on TPN for nutrients as well as fluid replacment. the Dr is now talking about reversing the ileostomy stating he feels the bowel has benn resting long enough. Has anyone ever heard of the small bowel starting to absorb after a reversal? I'm concernedf the Dr is grasping.

      Any help would be greatly welcomed.

    • profile image

      Normsky44 5 years ago

      See previous post, that sent without me touching anything. Has anyone got any views about reversal or take down of stoma?

    • profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago

      Hi my name is Brandi. I have been ill with this disease for a little over 7 years now. I had my first surgery August 6, 2006. Since then I have had 77 surgeries so far. Hopefully I'll be done soon but due to all of this I know a lot as well about ostomies and ileostomy. I may have ?'s or possibly answers if you have any ?'s. just thought I would share

    • profile image

      Rosemary 5 years ago

      The peristomal heaviness issue I posted on above quickly turned into swollen stoma, dysfucntion of stoma, a small bowel obstruction, and pain around the stoma, and inabiltiy of stoma to pass anything but liquids. Docs did a work up. Still have to get ileoscopy. Stoma may be stenosed as nobody can get anything into it. Rosemary

    • profile image

      Rosemary 5 years ago

      I have a VERY heavy feeling to the upper left of my ileostomy stoma. It is always with me yet SO FAR all is functioning well. It is not a peristomal hernia; my surgeon checked on this. I have gained weight since the ileostomy surgery but I needed to . I am up 30 lbs and stoma still sticks out well enough. I am trying to lose weight to about 120 lbs. Any ideas on this heaviness issue. If that is all I get I will be lucky, but it is scary not knowing. Rosemary

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      amy 5 years ago

      hello my three year old daughter is an ileostomist, shes only had it for about a month. she complains of backache quite a lot is this normal? her output seems to be normal so i dont know is she is suffering with a blockage or not. she was very uncomfortable at night about a week ago and then she threw up in the morning. its very hard to know when i should be concerned because she cant always explain how she feels or where her pain is coming from!!!!

    • anitariley65 profile image

      anitariley65 6 years ago from Little Town Ohio

      Hello all. So sorry I don't have internet and it is rare that I get to catch up.

      Sug Jones- my general practitioner sent for all my surgery notes and notes from my surgeon and took the time to become familiar with my case. I'm sure yours will do the same if you just ask. Small problems they can help with, they can even do scheduling of any tests you need done. They will simply refer you to another surgeon equipped to deal with any problems that should arise.

      Cherrol- it sounds as if you may have a small obstruction. Honestly, when this happened to me I tried a very mild laxative to get things to pass, and if that didn't work, I called my surgeon. Sometimes it's as simple as the food you are eating.

      Prichey- Have your mum try Beano liquid or even Gas X tablets. But drink plenty of water so she does not become constipated. There are pouches you can get which will release the gas on their own. They have a little filter also with a charcoal pad in them to help cut down on smell.

      Thanks you all for visiting and sharing your stories/trials. We help others all the time just by letting them know they are not alone.


    • profile image

      prichey 6 years ago

      hello all!

      my mum (91)recently had ca of bowel with total colon resection with ileostomy. she's managing ok but is troubled with excess wind and has to open ileostomy every 2 hours to release the excessive air...has anyone experienced similar and has anyone any advice?

    • profile image

      cherrol 6 years ago

      I have a ileostomy due to chrons my stoma as of recent started to invert causing my pouches to leak what is causing the inversion and what can i do to stop it happening, im wondering if i have a narrowing of the bowel as ive been getting a lot of pain and a bulge to the side of my stoma ?

    • profile image

      SUG JONES 6 years ago

      I had illiostomy surgery on the other coast (Florida) and I do not have a surgeon where I live! Your article was of great help to me. Do you know if a general practioner can help me, I have some issues. Thanks

    • anitariley65 profile image

      anitariley65 6 years ago from Little Town Ohio

      Misty have you tried to use the Hollister Skin Barrier paste?

    • profile image

      misty 6 years ago

      Hi I have a red,sore and weeping illeostomy..I cannot get my flange to stick. I have tried everything..Any advice would be very much appreciated :D ty.

    • anitariley65 profile image

      anitariley65 7 years ago from Little Town Ohio

      Danielle- has she tried some of the sealing pastes?

      writer83- thanks so much.

    • writer83 profile image

      writer83 7 years ago from Cyber Space

      I am sorry to read abou this :) you sound so brave

    • profile image

      danielle sullivan 7 years ago

      hello my grandmother has her iliostomy for 9 years and her problem is leakage constantly she thinks suopplies are out dated.also did not you can bathe with the bag.if someone has this problem can give advice greatly appreciated.thank you very much.

    • anitariley65 profile image

      anitariley65 7 years ago from Little Town Ohio

      Wow Jess! Congrats on being a survivor! You are on your way to a better life. I'm keeping you in my thoughts during this upcoming surgery. I pray it all goes well and you can be back to your old self soon.

      Have you tried to take any kind of laxative? It does sound like a small blockage. Massaging your stomach in a backwards C motion will help to move things down too. I remember many times just like this, and I know it's aggravating. The passing of soft stool is an indicator of diarrhea too. So make sure you drink plenty of Gatorade or Powerade to rehydrate. Good luck, and I'm here if you have more questions. If these sugguestions don't work, please contact an ostomy nurse.

      Hello Tanya- sounds like your dad has a blockage also. Try the massage I wrote about above to Jess. Then look out. Once things break loose, you will be constantly emptying the pouch. And if it's a large item, it may sting and hurt a little when coming out of the area under the skin into the stoma. There are so many things that we like to eat in the summer especially, that give us a really hard time. Anything fiberous. Corn on the cob, fresh garden veggies, stuff like that.

      Again, try the massaging, and maybe even a little milk of magnesia. Then try to rehydrate as much as possible.

      Good luck hun. I hope this helps.


    • profile image

      Tanya 7 years ago

      Hello, My dad had ileostomy surgery about 2 weeks ago. He was released after 8 days and we have been running to the hospital every other day for dehydration as he starts to go into renial failure. He still has mobility problems and this is causing him to feel full and not be able to take in the liquid that is required to stay hydrated. We have no idea what to do and the doctor's aren't of much help. Feeling very helpless....Any information would be appreciated.

      Thank You in Advance....

    • profile image

      Jess 7 years ago

      This Hub was very helpful :)Hi! My name is Jess, 24 years of age. I am an ulcerative colitis survivor. Battling with it for 8 years. When all med options stopped working,I became deathly ill and surgery saved my life.

      I know have a iliostomy of 3 months, I will be having the take down of the stoma, and my small intestine reattatched to my J-pouch (sub holding tank made up a small leftover end part of my colon), this August 13th. Im pretty excited. Its been a loooong journey, but Ive only been strengthend by it :)

      Ive been having some tummy aches and nausea lately.. for about 3 days.

      I have been doing light cardio, but replenishing my water and liquid intake. Im not sure what's up. Could it be a blockage? Im passing soft stool into my colostomy bag.. Please help, should I be concerned enough to go in and be seen? Ive been "milking" around my stoma, incase there is a food particle blocking.

      Its like everytime I eat a meal I want to throw up, Im bloated with tummy cramps.



    • anitariley65 profile image

      anitariley65 7 years ago from Little Town Ohio

      Tabby- sounds like you need to check on the acidic content of things you are eating and drinking. That is what acid in your body will do to you. I hope you are having better luck, as you sent this 3 mo. ago. I am so sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner.

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      Katie 7 years ago

      Hi, I have been having problems with my flange sticking. My skin around my ileostomy is red and weeps. It clears-up a little, but comes right back. I've tried using powders. I've had my ileostomy for 8 years, but my last surgery they moved it to the left side of my belly. This is when it started. Please e-mail me

    • profile image

      Tabby 7 years ago

      sometimes the ileostomy fluids burn like fire on the skin and while inside the body. What to do about that?

    • anitariley65 profile image

      anitariley65 8 years ago from Little Town Ohio

      Rameez- I just got this, so I'm sorry for not getting back with you sooner. I sent you an email and hope I can help.

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      Rameez 8 years ago

      hi this is Rameez i m suffering from same desease from last 2 months.I m operated from surgeon for ileostomy and completed it quite i m having oncology treatment for my tumour that is chemotherpy.i m feeling weak lyk having less electrolyte.if u can help me giving me a call cause i want some more details or email me.

      my number is



      my email is