Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Ileostomy - what to ask your doctor

Definition

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.

Alternative Names

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

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?

  • How often do I need to change the pouch?
  • What supplies do I need, and where can I get them? How much do they cost?
  • What is the best way to empty the pouch?
  • How do I clean the bag afterward?

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?

  • How long is too long?
  • Are there foods that may cause blockage of the stoma or opening?
  • How can I change my diet to prevent this problem?

What should my stoma look like when it is healthy?

  • How should I care for the stoma every day? How often should I clean it? What types of tape, creams, or paste can I use on the stoma?
  • Does insurance cover the cost of ostomy supplies?
  • What should I do if there is bleeding from the stoma, if it appears red or swollen, or if there is a sore on the stoma?

When should I call the provider?

References

American Cancer Institute. Ileostomy guide. Cancer.org web site. www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/ostomies/ileostomy.html. Accessed April 5, 2017.

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.

Review Date:1/29/2017
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.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No