Irrigating the bowel management for colostomies may not be something you have to do, but if you struggle with bowel movements, this can be a thing.
This is typically something that you will do as well when the bowel is not used to doing a movement, encouraging it of course to start the process.
This is don’t usually when people may not be having a bowel movement for about 72 or so hours. Usually, it’s up to 48 hours, but for those who have colostomies, they feel much more in control of this, and irrigating is something that could be used.
Who does Irrigation
Not every type of stoma can irrigate.
Typically, you need to have the following:
- Have the end colostomy near the lower level of the colon in order to create bowel movements that are kind of solid
- You’re dexterous and have good eyesight since this process can be hard to manage
- Patience and time to do this
- Your stoma nurse allows it.
For those that have hernias and are undergoing treatments such as chemo and radiation, you may not be allowed to do this. If you have Crohn’s or have heart or even renal conditions, you can’t do this. If you’re going through dialysis that causes an overload of fluids, you can’t do this either.
But if you’re going to improve your stoma and do qualify, then you definitely may want to consider this process.
Starting and Learning Irrigation
Irrigation is something that you start by talking to the surgeon or nurse, and figuring out if this is the right kind of bowel management that you can have.
You typically can start this immediately after surgery, but it’s best if you don’t do it until you’ve had the stoma and adjusted a bit, and also aren’t in the middle of any other therapies as well. So expect it about 2-ish months in.
To learn this, you typically go in and you learn directly from the nurse itself. They may possibly come to you.
It’s incredibly important to perform this I the correct manner, since a lot of people do feel nauseous when they feel water in the bowels. They may also experience some kind of cramps. This gets you acclimated, and also makes you comfy before doing this.
Why Do this?
Irrigating your stoma does have some benefits, especially when feeling confident abut this type of process.
Some of the benefits include:
- You control your stoma output
- You can irrigate and have bowel movements when it’s convenient
- You don’t have to wear a big bag, and you may even be allowed to wear caps over the stoma, improving confidence
- Helps you not have to worry about any possibilities of the bag leaking, which is definitely a big thing
But here are a couple of things that you should definitely consider. They’re not necessarily downsides, just important things to understand:
- This can take up to an hour to do
- You may feel your stomach grow upset, or even have diarrhea when you start this
- You need to do this regularly at the same type of intervals. If you break this routine, it will impact the output of the stool.
And there you have it, everything that the average reader needs to learn about irrigation.
It’s not something for everyone, and it can feel bad for a lot of people, but there are people who benefit from this, so definitely consider it if you can, since it can impact the overall benefits of it as well.