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Ileostomy - what to ask your doctor

Ostomy - what to ask your doctor; What to ask your doctor about ileostomy or colostomy; Colostomy - what to ask your doctor

You have had an operation to create an ileostomy or colostomy. Your ileostomy or colostomy changes the way your body gets rid of waste (stool, feces, or "poop").

You now have an opening in your belly called a stoma. Waste will pass through the stoma into a pouch that collects it. You will need to take care of your stoma and empty the pouch.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of your ileostomy or colostomy.

Images

Large intestine anatomy

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Questions

Will I be able to wear the same clothes as before?

What will the stool look like that comes from the ileostomy or colostomy? How many times a day will I need to empty it? Should I expect an odor or smell?

Will I be able to travel?

How do I change the pouch?

Can I take showers? Can I take a bath? Do I need to wear the pouch when I bathe?

Can I still play sports? Can I go back to work?

Do I need to change the medicines I am taking? Will birth control pills still work?

What changes do I need to make in my diet?

What can I do if my stools are too loose? Are there foods that will make my stools more firm?

What can I do if my stools are too hard? Are there foods that will make my stools looser or more watery? Do I need to drink more liquids?

What should I do if nothing is coming out of the stoma into the pouch?

What should my stoma look like when it is healthy?

When should I call the provider?

Related Information

Crohn disease
Ulcerative colitis
Colorectal cancer
Intestinal obstruction repair
Large bowel resection
Small bowel resection
Ileostomy
Total abdominal colectomy
Total proctocolectomy and ileal-anal pouch
Total proctocolectomy with ileostomy
Bland diet
Ileostomy and your child
Ileostomy and your diet
Ileostomy - caring for your stoma
Ileostomy - changing your pouch
Types of ileostomy
Ileostomy - discharge
Living with your ileostomy
Small bowel resection - discharge
Total colectomy or proctocolectomy - discharge

References

American Cancer Institute website. Ileostomy guide. www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/ostomies/ileostomy.html. Accessed March 29, 2019.

Araghizadeh F. Ileostomy, colostomy, and pouches. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 117.

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Review Date: 1/4/2019  

Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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