Colostomy irrigation is a way for some colostomy patients to evacuate stool through a water enema performed through the stoma. Colostomy patients who choose irrigation to evacuate stool may encounter some compelling benefits:
-No more emptying a large ostomy bag during the day.
-No more dealing with odor.
-Gaining control over bowel movements.
-Replacing a regular size ostomy bag for either a stoma cap or a mini-pouch.
Some colostomy patients might find it difficult to insert water into the stoma or might already feel comfortable dealing with their ostomy supplies. However, it’s important to know that for some, the option exists. Colostomy irrigation might be worth a try. You onl need to dedicate close to one hour every other day and your bowels can start working again. If you decide that is not for you, you can always go back to using regular ostomy bag.
Who may perform colostomy irrigation?
Colostomy patients with a dry colostomy, also known as Sigmoid Colostomy, are apt for irrigation. Since the stoma is in the downward part of the colon, the stool solidifies making irrigation feasible. Chances are even better if prior to the colostomy there were regular bathroom habits.
Those with ostomy surgery performed on the ascending wall of the colon (transverse colostomy), those who suffer from intestinal irritation, or those with an ileostomy are not candidates. For these patients, the stool is too liquidy and the intestine is continually discharging making control through irrigation not possible. Patients with a urostomy cannot irrigate either.
How does colostomy irrigation work?
Irrigation should be done preferably at the same time every day or every other day and at least sixty minutes after a meal. If you cannot stick to a schedule, you may try getting as close to one as possible. The process can still certainly work.
The operation requires injecting water through the stoma and into the large intestine. Once in the colon, water induces evacuation. However, results are not necessarily immediate so you might have to wait a few minutes until the waste erupts. Adopting this routine will eventually bring regularity and will prevent constipation. In all, one may take anywhere from 40 to 60 days to adjust to this process and finally be able to excrete stool on a regular basis. The colostomy patient may then, for most of the day use a stoma cap instead of an ostomy bag. Still, do not discard the old ostomy bags until you are totally comfortable that your bowels are in full control.
If you feel you are the right prospect, talk to your ostomy professional. Get some guidance and give it a chance.