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Dealing with Thick Ostomy Output - OSTOMY TIPS (w/ video)  

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VeganOstomy
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September 23, 2014 6:00 am  
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Let's discuss the topic of managing thick ostomy output!

My written article offers several options to try, but I'd like to know what else you guys have come up with to make life easier.

To read my full article on this topic, click on the link below.

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Cheryl McGuire
 Cheryl McGuire
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October 3, 2016 4:13 pm  

I have had an ileostomy for many years. My output is naturally very watery, and I am also allergic to adhesives. Because of my allergy, it has been difficult to find a pouch that didn't make me break out in hives. After years of trial and error, I found a one piece, however it has the least amount of adhesive so I needed to empty often and change my pouch every 2 days, or it would leak. Rings and paste have never worked for me. They just cost a lot of money, and make things messy. I tried gel tabs and capsules from ostomy supply companies, but I had to use several to make any difference in the consistency, and in 4 days I would go through a $20 bottle. Recently, I made a few discoveries that have helped prolong my pouch life, help prevent leaks, and cut my costs back. First of all, I put corn starch in my pouch. (It thickens gravy...doesn't it! ) A 500g box (no name brand) costs $2.00 and last about a week. I use a couple of small heaping teaspoons after every pouch empty. It also seems to help with odor. Secondly, I use "ThickenUp", an instant food thickener by Nestles that cost $7.50 for a 227g can that lasts me a week. I put some in a smoothie that I drink twice a day. I eat unsweetened applesauce in the morning before I drink my coffee. I have one coffee a day and enjoy it very much, and coffee makes output watery. (I remember that I gave my son applesauce when he had diarrhea as a baby.) I have a banana, another healthy thickener, and snack on salted pretzels. If you have watery output, you are probably prone to sodium depletion and the pretzels help with that, as well as thickening the output. As far as deodorant goes, I have tried toothpaste and mouthwash and many other things, but I found they made everything smell worse. So I do invest in a good ostomy deodorant. For me, SG3 by Ostomy Essentials is the best. It will cost about $17.00 for a 240ml bottle, (It seems that the "copper complexes" in the ingredients does the trick!), but I use much less since I started using cornstarch with it. I also use a good ostomy skin barrier wipe, which is essential for my sensitive skin. So there it is; a one piece pouch, deodorant, corn starch, food thickener, and skin barrier. Oh, and because I have big thighs, I cannot empty my pouch while sitting on the toilet, so I invested in a small stool and sit it front of the toilet...makes for no splashing! Hope this helps at least one person. Good luck!


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VeganOstomy
 VeganOstomy
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October 3, 2016 4:43 pm  

Thank you so much for sharing these tips, Cheryl!

I use cornstarch to thicken sauces, but I always thought you needed high heat to get it to thicken anything up! That's wonderful that it works in our bags, too!

I hope you're doing well, and I really appreciate these tips!

Eric


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Lia Elena
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August 7, 2017 7:08 pm  

Hi everyone, I checked with Eric also on an issue that came about recently. Am 77 year old an have an iliestomy since 12/2015. Iliestomy was the result of nothing else but contracting the C difficil virus after a batch of antibiotics for a bladder infection an having a very simple elective procedure. My output has been always in the thick side, but was able to work work with it. Since a month or so, without reual changes on my boring diet, my output cIanged to gummy, sticky. The output sticks to the walls of the pouch( one piece) going down or just staying half way. Am able to rinse it out dome using Eric method of irrigating via the ez vent. Drinking grape would it make it worse? Is not the thickning of the output is the gummy sticky.. any one could suggest any foods to avoid or what to eat to help emptying my bag, which has me very stressed. Thanks for any tips you wonderful ostomates💕Lia


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VeganOstomy
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August 7, 2017 9:24 pm  

Hey Lia,

You might have more replies if you post on the forums, since that's where most people would be hanging out: https://www.veganostomy.ca/community/general-ostomy/

The comment section in this video isn't very interactive or visible to anyone outside of this article.

Good luck!

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Anna Rappaport
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November 23, 2017 6:08 pm  

Help! I've tried EVERYTHING to deal with pancaking/thick output and nothing seems to work:( I have a loop ileostomy and am a little more than 6 weeks post-op. No matter what I eat/how much I drink/stop eating etc I have very little output from around 6am until 4pm, and then it accelerates like crazy by 8 or 9 and lasts until 1AM if I'm lucky. I haven't been able to tolerate fiber so I'm stuck with the horrible low residue diet still (except I seem to be ok with baked souffles with spinach and squash.) I tried juicing (with a masticating juicer!) and 3 hours later had a mini obstruction I was able to pass but with pain and my nurses said no go for juicing for now. Protein smoothies (I seem to be ok with peaches) accelerate my output. I'm a lactose intolerant vegetarian (so the only animal product I eat is eggs) so I'm eating all the thickening output foods:( It seems to work to drink pear juice but I can't stand having all that sugar...I wake up every hour or 2 at night because I have to push the stuff out from the wafer or I'm afraid it'll leak underneath. I have to wear a deep convex due to a surgeon error on my stoma (it empties from the underside loop below skin level even though my stoma is protruding.) Lubricants don't help-I've tried adapt, brava, safe n simple etc... Not willing to try baby oil and jeopardize the bag. Any other ideas?


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VeganOstomy
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November 23, 2017 6:16 pm  

Hi Anna,

Can you elaborate more on this part? "I have very little output from around 6am until 4pm, and then it accelerates like crazy by 8 or 9 and lasts until 1AM if I’m lucky."

How many meals do you eat and how large are these meals? What time do you tend to eat?

Has your stoma always done this or has this just started?

Juicing should not have caused an obstruction, so I'm curious if there are any internal kinks which might explain what you've described above.

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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TravelAddict14
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November 23, 2017 6:46 pm  

Hey Eric,

I maybe empty 1 or twice for the majority of the day no matter whether I eat first at 8am or at 11 am (this has happened a few times when I've had to see the ostomy nurse). Then by 4 it's every hour and by around 9 or 10 it's every half hour until maybe 1am (give or take an hour for all of these). It's like I'm switched-all the food I eat during the day comes out at night rather than immediately following the meal. I've tried to do the small meals throughout the day and just can't pull it off. I wouldn't say my 3 meals are BIG (breakfast is usually eggs on toast for example, lunch a peanut butter sandwich) and try to snack but my appetite just isn't there to keep eating every 2 hours and when I do it makes me feel sick because I'm not hungry. It's always done this:( I've been in hell barely sleeping.
Immodium just made it thicker and more impossible to get out. They gave me lomotil and I tried it at bedtime-interestingly when I woke up after 2 hours I had even MORE than usual and it was more liquidy.

I don't know if it was an obstruction, it for once stayed in me (I struggle with protein shakes and this) but then 3 hours later I had cramping and it all came out in one large solid amount which my nurse said sounds like I passed a smaller obstruction?

I know I only have 19 days but I'm so thin and sleep deprived and I'm worried about my health going into my reversal:(


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VeganOstomy
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November 24, 2017 8:46 pm  

A few thoughts, but keep in mind that I'm not a doctor or stoma nurse.

It's normal to have output that come well after you've eaten. For me, as an example, what I eat for dinner may come out at 2am, then 6am,then 8am then 11am. That's my normal. I often skip breakfast and don't usually have lunch, but I will have output throughout the day still.

If three small meals is difficult, what about five or six small meals? I find that the larger a single meal is, the more output I get in a short period of time.

What you described just now does sound like an obstruction. I'm really curious to know whether this is actually being caused or exacerbated by some kind of kink in the bowel. If your stoma wasn't so temporary, I'd likely suggest that you have that examined further.

Immodium isn't something I'd take to remedy what you've been describing and I'm sure it did make things worse for you.

Hang in there and do your best for the next few weeks. Stuff like this often takes some trial and error to sort out, but you'll likely have the reversal before that even happens.

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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TravelAddict14
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November 27, 2017 12:28 pm  

I see what you're saying and understand that my output at night is likely from breakfast/lunch and 'dinner' (dinner being before 5pm)-I'm trying with the smaller meals but my schedule is such a mess right now it's hard to snack. I'm having such horrible issues with the ostomy (I changed FIVE times on Friday) that I end up not eating trying to change it and then it's gotten until late in the afternoon and I'm starving.) Problem with the output happening at night is I'm up every 1-2 hours to empty it because it's so thick it pancakes and no matter how I sleep gravity doesn't do the job and if I don't get up to empty it it burrows it's way through the wafer. I was hoping if I thinned it out overnight maybe it would drop better in the bag and I could sleep for longer than an hour or a 2 at a time:(


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VeganOstomy
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November 27, 2017 1:51 pm  

That sounds really frustrating.

Like I said previously, if you were given more time, you'd likely be able to solve this problem with timing, specific food options, quantities, etc. but it would take a lot of trial and error, experimenting and keeping a food diary.

It really does sound more like a "mechanical issue" with the bowel, and not really the foods you're eating or when you are eating them. I really hope the reversal can lessen your stress.

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Clair Rich@icloud.com
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March 7, 2018 7:57 pm  

That is interesting, thank you for that. Clair. Do you know if yogurt helps?clairrich@


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Clair Rich@icloud.com
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March 7, 2018 8:00 pm  

I need to know if yogurt helps with thick stool or other things, thanks Clair


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VeganOstomy
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March 7, 2018 10:00 pm  

Hi Clair,

Are you looking to make your stool thicker or do you have thick stool and want to loosen it up?

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Bill grandy
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October 17, 2018 7:51 am  

I had an ileostomy operation approx. 3 years ago. I had several instances of leakage but for the past month I’ve averaged one leakage a day. Anybody else experience this problem.


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john68
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October 17, 2018 9:08 am  

Hi Bill, Their can be many reasons and its narrowing it down, could the stoma changed size, when we gain weight after surgery it can mean a different tummy shape. without going through a list having a look at the article Eric has done on the possible causes. their is always an answer.

ileostomy 31st August 1994 for Crohns


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VeganOstomy
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October 17, 2018 9:44 am  

Hi Bill, 

There could be several factors ranging from defective product to a change in diet. 

If you'd like to start a new thread on the community forums (www.veganostomy.ca/community/) we can maybe try to troubleshoot this :) 

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Bill grandy
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November 3, 2018 3:44 pm  

What do you suggest for itching under the pouch.


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VeganOstomy
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November 3, 2018 10:56 pm  
Posted by: Bill grandy

What do you suggest for itching under the pouch.

Hi Bill,

Itching can happen for a lot of reasons:

  • Irritation caused by leaks. 
  • The adhesive isn't compatible with your skin (or needs more time).
  • An allergy. 
  • Not changing the wafer soon enough. 
  • Changing the appliance too soon. 
  • Improper removal of the appliance (use an adhesive remover). 
  • Ingrown hairs or improper shaving. 
  • The bag might be causing irritation from tugging as it gets full. 

Or it can simply be "normal" and my go away. 

You'll need to investigate all of these points (and likely more) to see if something you can identify is causing your skin to itch. If it's persistent then I would speak with a stoma nurse. 

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Bill grandy
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January 9, 2019 9:07 am  

Beware of large oranges causing blockages. I had a blockage a couple of weeks ago. The doctor I saw said that was the second blockage he had seen from oranges in a month. Luckily I passed it all within a matter of a couple days.


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