Ostomy Info

An ileostomy is a bowel diversion that brings a loop or end of the ileum out through a cut in the abdomen. After ileostomy surgery, you will no longer be able to move your bowels through the anus. Instead, bodily wastes will pass out of the stoma and get collected in a plastic bag adhered to the peristomal skin. An ileostomy is generally located above the groin on the right-hand side of the abdomen.

Reasons for an ileostomy

Ileostomy surgery may become inevitable when your colon fails to perform its function due to an injury or disease. The surgeon will remove your colon and rectum and bring the end of the small intestine out through the abdominal wall.

Diseases that may lead to the removal of the colon and rectum are Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and total colonic Hirschsprung’s disease. An ileostomy may also be a part of the treatment of colorectal or ovarian cancer. An example here is the cancer tumor that obstructs the colon. The surgeon will create an ileostomy to allow you to pass out bodily wastes. In the meantime, he will start cancer treatment by removing the tumor.

Most ileostomies are end ileostomies. To create this ostomy, the surgeon turns the inside of the ileum out after pulling it through the cut in the belly. Although an end ileostomy is usually permanent, some surgeons create temporary end ileostomies during medical emergencies.

Duration of an ileostomy

An end ileostomy is usually permanent, meaning that you may have to live with an ileostomy bag for the rest of your life. A loop ileostomy, however, is temporary. How long you are going to have this ileostomy will depend on the speed of recovery. Once the underlying condition is addressed, you will undergo another surgical procedure known as reversal surgery. During this surgery, the surgeon reconnects the bowel. The duration of a loop ileostomy is usually eight to ten weeks.

Living with an ileostomy

If you have an ileostomy, you have to wear an ostomy pouch over the stoma to collect intestinal wastes. An ileostomy bag generally has an open end at the bottom, allowing the wearer to drain out waste contents when the bag becomes full.

An ileostomy bag can be one-piece or two-piece. A one-piece ileostomy bag is a single unit, combining the flange and the bag. A two-piece ileostomy bag comes with a bag and the flange and separable elements. The flange has a snap-on mechanism that allows the wearer to connect or disconnect a bag without peeling off the skin barrier.

Modern-day ostomy pouches are so discreet that they remain well-concealed under the clothes. Nobody will be able to notice that you are wearing an ostomy bag or any other ostomy sUpplies unless it becomes too full.

It is necessary to measure your stoma every few days, especially six weeks after surgery. The shape and size of the stoma change a lot in this duration, so measuring it regularly will help you prevent leakages and other resultant problems.

You can also engage in your favorite sports activities. Your doctor will recommend you against playing contact sports due to a higher risk of injury to the stoma. Moreover, you might have to avoid heavy lifting for a while until your bowel recovers.

It will take a while before you can resume your favorite diet with an ileostomy. You have to wait until the initial recovery is over. Since an ileostomy bypasses the entire colon, your digestive tract will not absorb more fluids from food wastes. That is why it is necessary to keep a check on your water intake. Moreover, you will have to avoid eating anything that might cause diarrhea. Similarly, high-fiber and hard-to-digest foods can cause blockages. So, be sure to discuss your diet plan with your healthcare provider.