How long til a stoma settles into a pattern?

I had my colostomy, descending almost end of colon, on December 4th. It does not seem to have settled into a regular pattern of working. I still get the urge to go to the loo but seem to have no control over the stoma excreting and I wondered whether anyone else has the experience and can say when, or, indeed if, it will settle down to some sort of regular pattern. At present I am having to use movicol every couple of days to get things moving.

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  • Hi Margaret,

    I tried googling the answer, but had no joy. It seemed to infer you have no control, but hopefully somebody will contridict me. If not, I guess it will be down to what and when you eat.

    The real reason I replied though, was I found out a couple of interesting things which you will probably already know, but just in case:-

    + You may need to occasionally irrigate the stoma with water to help prevent constipation. Your stomatherapist will advise you.

    + A lot of people give their Stoma a name...Squirt, Henry and Moby Dick have all been used by people if you are short of inspiration (which I can not imagine you are!).

    Love Lizzie

    X

  • Hi Lizzie,

    Irrigation seems to be an American thing. My specialist nurse made reference to it being something that went with re-usable bags (yeuch). I am already eating high fibre & healthy. I realise that there is no control. I cannot even tell the difference between wind and more solid extrusions.

    I know some people name the stoma but I did not name my anus so I see no need to name the stoma.

    M

  • LOL! Good point.

  • hiya, i had a stoma temporarily for a few months in my experience mine never did settle down i was constantly emptying the bag and could eat only plain rice, chicken no pips seeded things peas beans anything with shell on it as it tends to block up i was always worried things would go wrong not eating the right things and ending up back in hospital it does hinder what you can and cant do i couldnt go out hardly at all as the bag was constantly filling up, i do hope this helps somewhat if anymore advice please ask ? is yours temp/perm hope all goes well for you x

  • Hi Kassaya! Mine is permanent and a low descending colostomy. As a result I am told I can eat anything. The problem I have at present is that motions are very solid and I am tending towards constipation.

    The other person on the ward ended up with an ileostomy which was very pliquid and produced all the time. She did have advice on what to eat. All I have been told is to avoid peanuts as accidentally swallowing one whole can block the stoma. My colostomy is from just above the rectum and so faeces are well formed. As a result it is difficult for it to expel agbainst the pressure of the support pants that I have been advised to wear to support the bag and avoid risk of hernias on the line of my scar (used for both original debulking and this tumour removal) and the site of the stoma.

  • Hi Margaret

    I'm sorry to hear you're having so many problems with your stoma. I have an ileostomy so can't really help too much as, as you said an ileostomy 'runs' almost 24-7 so constipation etc is not really a problem in fact the opposite is true. However, can I just say, it took a good few months before 'Squirty' (my stoma!) settled down to a place where I could cope and deal with him without any real problems.

    It's very early days for you yet and I wonder if you've gone into the Colostomy Association websites to see if you can get some help and advice. I'm a member of the Ileostomy Assoc and have found it an invaluable source of information and help, not least from the forums.

    I use a pouch which I empty several times a day and there are all sorts of products to help with leaks, ballooning, you name it in fact. You can get gels which you put in the bag before you put it on which makes the 'poo' slide down the bag so should make it easier to expel it.

    Unfortunately I found I was very much on my own in finding out about products mainly I suppose because the stoma service seems to be very short staffed but it does get easier through time. Please ask me anything at all if you think it'll help and I'll be more than happy to reply.

    All the best. Cathy xx

  • Hi Cathy,

    Thanks for the suggestions. My daughter in law's sister is a stoma nurse and my specialist nurse will be helpful when I get home, I will certainly ask about the gels and check out the websites!

  • Hi Margaret, no advice I'm afraid, just to say I'm so sorry you are having problems, thinking of you and wishing that you get everything sorted and start to feel better, Let us know how you get on,my fingers are crossed for you and thinking about you as you have been so brave (read blogs etc). Lots of love Sue xx

  • Thanks sue! Not really brave, just pragmatic!

  • From zero to excess! LOL! Last night had to change the bag 5 times, on one occasion did not even get out of the bathroom before it needed changing again. Will definitely need to see the nurse when I get home. I need to get this regulated!

  • I have had stoma since 2004 use drainable bags so they can be emptied any time very useful if lots of wind and irregular bowel movements join colostomy association and support group if one in your area lots of handy tips from other ostomates fybogel useful to regulate motion consistency good luck.

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