How Often Does an Ostomy Bag Need to Be Emptied? (w/ video)

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A question I get asked often is, “How many times should I be emptying my ostomy bag?”.

Introduction

Of course, just like with other questions about what’s normal when you have an ostomy, the answer may vary for each person.

In this post, I’ll go over various factors that can influence how often an ostomy bag may need to be emptied, as well as go over when to empty it.

If you are newly out of surgery, keep in mind that things will be a little crazy and your stoma may not be as consistent or predictable as it will eventually become with time.

Video

When Should You Empty Your Ostomy Bag?

Most ostomy nurses, supply manufacturers, and health websites will recommend that you empty your bag when it’s between 1/3 and 1/2 full.

when to empty an ostomy bag_small
This handy graphic should help to visualize when to empty your bag.

I happen to agree, although I often get lazy and empty my bag when it’s more than 1/2 full. I don’t recommend waiting until your bag is too full because there are plenty of reasons why this could cause problems:

  • It gets heavy. The weight of a bull ostomy bag is unwieldy and uncomfortable.
  • It gets bulky. Full ostomy bags are hard to keep concealed.
  • Leaks are more likely to happen. Really full bags can cause leaks because of pressure and tugging.
  • Emptying will be more difficult. I think most will agree that emptying 1/3 of a bag full is much easier than emptying 3/4 of a bag full!
  • Pouch deodorants will fail to work. There’s only so much a few drops of liquid pouch deodorants will be able to do. If you’ve got a really full bag then expect more odor from it.
  • Shit bombs aren’t fun! Ever have a two-pound bag of crap detach from your two-piece appliance and hit the floor? Let’s just say that it won’t be your proudest moment.

For me, the most difficult times to empty my bag are in the middle of the night because I can’t actively check my output while I’m asleep (no kidding, right?).

There are a few strategies to consider if you find yourself with a full bag at night or in the early morning.

  • Don’t eat or drink too late at night. Some people swear by the, “don’t eat after 6 pm” rule, but the results will be different from person to person and it depends a lot on your “transit time” (the time for food to pass through your entire digestive system).
  • Consider setting an alarm. Some ostomates will set an alarm to ring in the middle of the night so they can empty their bag before it gets too full. The disruption of your sleeping pattern may not be desirable.
  • Wear a larger bag at night or use a night drainage bag.
  • Consider medication to slow down your bowel movements. This should be discussed with your doctor, but you might be able to take something that will slow bowel movements for you at night.

Size Matters

Ostomy bags come in many different sizes, from teeny-tiny stoma caps (which really aren’t meant to hold any amount of output) to large, overnight drainage bags which are designed to hold several LITRES of output.

small to large ostomy bags_small
From left to right: Coloplast Stoma cap, B. Braun Flexima 3S (midi size), Hollister New Image (maxi size), Coloplast Magnum.

Obviously, the smaller the bag, the more often it’ll need to be emptied.

Many “large” bags (which are about 12″ in length) can hold about 650ml of liquid, but keep in mind that’s at maximum capacity. Smaller bags measuring 7″ may only hold 400 or 500ml of output at most, so at 1/3 full you’re looking at just over 130ml of output, which isn’t much.

I usually recommend wearing the largest size that’s comfortable to manage. That means if you’re only emptying your bag once or twice a day (i.e. you have a colostomy), there’s no reason to wear a large or XL-size bag.  At the same time, if you find yourself constantly needing to empty your appliance, perhaps a small or medium bag is just not enough.

Type of Ostomy

Generally speaking, the higher up on your digestive tract your stoma is, the more output you should expect.

So someone with a jejunostomy would have more output than someone with an ileostomy. Likewise, someone with an ileostomy would have more output compared to someone who has a colostomy.

If you have a “short bowel” or have had a large part of your bowel resected, then your output frequency may be higher than normal.

Why does that happen? Well, mostly because fluids get absorbed further down (like the colon), so the more you’re missing the higher the volume of fluids will be passing through your stoma. This is why someone with an ileostomy or jejunostomy will usually have liquid output and a colostomate will often have a drier stool.

Some common expectations for various types of stomas follow below.

Colostomy

If you have a colostomy and irrigate your bowels, you might not need to empty your bag for a day or two! That’s pretty convenient! But if you aren’t irrigating your bowel then you may be emptying 1-3 times a day (or however often you would have been going to the bathroom before your surgery).

Ileostomy

Most ileostomates will empty their bag 4-10 times per day, but some may need to empty more often if they have liquid output. I find myself emptying around seven or more times per day, but I also let my bag fill up past the 1/3 mark.

Urostomy

A urostomy bag may need to be drained several times a day depending on the capacity. The volume of urine collected throughout the day should be closely matted with the volume of liquids you consume. A urostomate who drinks several liters of water should expect several liters of output in a 24h span.

Visit my “What is an ostomy?” page for more information about types of ostomies.

What You Eat and How Often You Eat It

“What goes in must come out” is a nice adage that perfectly illustrates this point.

If you’re a coffee drinker, you may already notice that your stoma will be more active than when you aren’t drinking coffee. This may also true for people who drink red wine or fruit juice. Consider cutting back on foods and beverages that cause excess output if it’s something that worries you.

It also goes without saying that the greater the volume of food and beverage you consume the more output you will have. This is especially true if you’re eating fibrous, plant-based foods (like I do). If you find that eating plant-based foods cause your stoma to go wild, cut back on the amounts you’re eating in a single meal to help spread things out.

Some ileostomates and colostomates may change their diet a little to include more starch-based foods (i.e. potatoes, rice, etc.) to help slow down their bowel movements. This can be used as a long-term solution, provided you’re eating healthy foods and not only potato chips.

For a list of foods that may increase your output, check out THIS article.

Other Factors

Several other factors could influence how often you’re emptying your appliance.

For example, if you are on antibiotics, you may notice that your bowel frequency is increased along with a change in the consistency of your output. This is considered a normal side-effect that often resolves itself after you’ve finished taking them.

I also tend to get a huge change in the frequency and consistency of my output when I have the flu or a cold.

Some, or all of these, may cause a change in your bowel habits:

  • Stress.
  • Cancer treatment.
  • Antibiotic use.
  • Food poisoning.
  • Medication or supplement side-effects.
  • Active disease.
  • Motility disorders.

Should You Worry?

There are a few instances where I would be concerned about the frequency of my output.  Of course, always talk to your stoma nurse or doctor if you have any concerns.

Emptying Too Often

If you find yourself emptying your bag far more than have been in the past, check to see if your diet has changed recently. Even small changes in our diet can influence our bowel transit time – at least in the short-term.

If it hasn’t, I would generally wait to see if things settle down after a day or two. Sometimes, frequent stoma output tends to resolve itself without me even knowing the cause.

But if bowel movements have been increased over many days or weeks, I’d schedule a Dr’s appointment to investigate this further.

Not Emptying Enough

When I notice that I’m not emptying my bag as often as I should be in relation to the amount of food I’m consuming, the first thing I’ll do is make sure I’m getting enough fluids. Dehydration can slow things down considerably.

I’ll also try to note whether I have any pain or discomfort around my stoma, which often indicates a partial blockage.

Sudden Changes

Most short changes in bowel frequency aren’t usually a cause for concern, but if you notice any unusual or sudden changes that seem to be persistent then it’s important to monitor things more closely.

Always let your doctor or stoma nurse know of sudden changes to your bowel habits as it may indicate disease activity, which is something you’ll want to be addressed quickly.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many factors that play a role in determining how often you’ll be emptying your ostomy bag.

While there are certain things that can make it more predictable, such as the volume of food you’re eating, expect to find your new normal after several months past surgery.

Question: What type of ostomy do you have and how often do you empty your ostomy bag?
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LLNorth
16 days ago

Mina, for what it is worth, this is one little part of my own experience, small but I felt like I had accomplished something.
When I got my stoma three years ago for some reason I started thinking on “what shall I wear?” In light of everything else that probably seems a little shallow, and believe me I am not a fashionable person, but I started looking around on the internet, which luckily led me to the ladies’ clothing pictures and posts here on VeganOstomy (thank you, Eric). I have found the wonderful information and people on VO to be of such great help and comfort ….
…. and also found within my closet clothing that works pretty well to camouflage my pouch system and stomach (both stick out on that side) – and it gave me a lift to buy a few more flowy shirts and stretchy pants, though of course there was no need to replace an entire wardrobe all at once!
Having an ostomy is not easy, I know, and sometimes it is even hard.  I am thinking of you and wishing you the best.

Didi
Didi
1 month ago

Hi, I have had crohns for 13 years and have an ileostomy. After being in remission for a few years, my crohns is returning. I was going to try slippery elm bark or manuka honey. Does anyone have any experiences trying herbal remedies? I am bit worried it will not agree with my bag….

LK
1 month ago
Reply to  Didi

Didi…I strongly agree with Eric. Please do not try anything ever without running it past your GI or GP FIRST.  
The amount of time & money I wasted on so called healthier options is just not worth the years of training and experience a GI has on your disease. 
Please be careful. I never even add a vitamin now without consulting with my GP as even a simple vitamin can mess with surgical medications, (experience talking here) & land you sicker or alter  medication results.  Also when going for blood work always reveal added vitamins you may be taking to the lab tech. 
If your disease has reared its ugly head, please be sure & see your GI  ASAP  if you have not already. 

Dickie
3 months ago

A document I was given when leaving the hospital from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has some suggestions about oral rehydration for high output ostomies. Here are their recipes:
1. 2 cups Gatorade + 2 cups water +1/2 teaspoon salt
2. 3 cups water + 1 cup orange juice +3/4 teaspoon salt + 1.2 teaspoon baking soda
3. 1/2 cup grape juice or cranberry juice +3 1/2 cups water + 1/2 teaspoon salt
4. 1 cup apple juice + 3 cups water + 1/2 teaspoon salt
5. 4 1/2 cups (1 liter) water + 1/2 teaspoon table salt + 6 level teaspoons sugar  (World Health Organization’s ORS recipe)
The last recipe is pretty simple and cheap, but I find the sugar covers a too-salty taste. It’s pretty good. I read that some folks think Gatorade has too much sugar by itself, so dilution makes it better. It’s also not cheap. I guess the sugar is to give energy to those who are very athletic and working out or running hard.
Those of you using International System of Units (metric) may need conversions or some old kitchen tools. There are 4 US cups to a US quart, which slightly less than a liter – 1 l =0.95 US quart. One teaspoon as ~ 5 ml, 1 tablespoon is ~ 15 ml. Most of these recipes make a US quart, close enough for a liter.
 

john68
3 months ago

I can relate to what Glenn says. I am a light eater during the day and can get a pretty long period with very little movement and little in the bag. As well as getting into a routine I think our system adjusts 😀

Jaz
3 months ago

I have been using a time tracking app and find that I spend between an hour and a half to two hours a day fiddling with the pouch and i would be ‘checking’ about 4 to 6 times a day. Feel like I have developed a new kind of OCD around dealing with pancaking.

noisymina
noisymina
17 days ago
Reply to  Jaz

The damn thing takes over your life.

I can’t even sleep any more. Going on any holiday or even any sort of significant “outing” is out of the question.

Couldn’t even get up to the surgeon’s office and he judged me as “not trying” to get help even tho I do have a long e-mail chain with, and numerous visits to, the local hospital in the quest thereof. So of course, I have not got any “help” and am confined to home min 22 hours a day because of this out-of-control monstrosity..

“Available resources” is a joke. And don’t tell me, AGAIN, that “it will settle”. It’s been a TWO year battle and not even the gas has “settled”.

I battle loose output (which is actually the more manageable option) pancaking (with the GP made a whole lot worse on the assumption more fibre was the answer – followed by many stoma nurses who could not believe too much is possible and then they referred to a dietician – wash and repeat), ballooning big time (seemingly unrelated to diet), pouches not adhering, pouches smelling, pouches sticking into me, pouches interfering with all my clothing or the clothing interfering with them and making dressing a nightmare (yes I’m another shorty), pouches too large and unwieldy (by necessity to hopefully deal the massive volumes randomly produced) …. and more.

So to those posting hre – I’m with you. This is NOT the “picnic” they promise – not for a lot of us. I suspect a rather large and silenced/ignored proportion of ostomates are stuck with this or similar.

john68
16 days ago
Reply to  noisymina

I agree you don’t need to be told it will settle and yes some resources do leave a lot to be desired. But don’t give up, on this site you will find answers and advice. Find out if you have a ostomy group near you and contact. Help is out there. Yes it’s very overwhelming but it’s possible to adjust. 

ChrisandBagpus
16 days ago
Reply to  noisymina

Posted by: @noisymina
The damn thing takes over your life.
So to those posting hre – I’m with you. This is NOT the “picnic” they promise – not for a lot of us. I suspect a rather large and silenced/ignored proportion of ostomates are stuck with this or similar.

nosiymina
I hear your pain. John is right this forum has been the most help to me. It helped me find for myself the bags and system that works best for me, not perfect but manageable. I sound like the Experts are stumped by yours? I guess by you saying (GP) that your in the UK and your supplies need to be approved by a stoma nurse. If that’s the case, for me I ended up tell the nurses what bags etc I wanted to try. a lot don’t work for me a lot of accessories don’t do the job but I ended up a solution thanks to Eric and the members here.
I still have bad days and episodes and a few scary moments but I’m still here.
Do you have a colostomy or ileostomy it helps to know?

Tigerlily
15 days ago
Reply to  noisymina

Mina, I can hear the frustration in your post. Boy, do I ever identify with it! Sometimes, I have to actively restrain my right hand from smacking some medical professionals who seem to think there are easy answers! There aren’t! What I have found is that I need to discover my own answers. The best way to look for answers is to listen to other ostomates, because they have been on the same trial and error path that I am on. You are right – this isn’t the picnic that “they” seem to think it should be, but we have to find a way of making it work. What other choice is there? On a bad day, I give up, wave my white flag, and feel bad. On a good day, I say I am NOT letting that &*#£§* thing control me, and I try something new – anything. I have stumbled upon some things over the past 5 years, that mostly – not always – but mostly help. For example, I have found that I seem to be very sensitive to fibre, so I am careful about my fibre intake. But, (paradoxically) I have found that one teaspoon of Metamucil every day helps my stool to be more slippery, so it doesn’t stick to my pouch as much. I have found that using a stickie to cover up the pouch filter can help with pancaking somewhat (but not with gas). I have found that opening the pouch from the top (I wear a 2 piece) and emptying before my stool pancakes is what is the most helpful in preventing pancaking. When all else fails, I can irrigate, because I have a colostomy. None of these things were recommended by medical professionals – I either found out from other ostomates, or figured them out by trial and error. I still have lots to learn, Mina, which is why I belong to this site. I hope you will stay with us, and I hope you find some answers here. Hang in there!
 
Laurie

SqueakyandLiza
15 days ago
Reply to  noisymina

Mina, 
I’m sorry you are having such a rough time. Especially if this was a choice you made to improve the quality of your life and you don’t feel like that is happening.  I am almost 3 years in and still struggle with the little beast. For me, I have found that my attitude about it all makes a big difference. It took me quite a while to find what appliance works reasonably well for me. I still have problems with leaks, but they are fewer and further between. 
When I can maintain my sense of humor about the whole thing, I tend to do better. I talk to Squeaky (my stoma) and believe it or not, that helps me too. His birthday is on the 18th so I will have a little party for him. I’ve actually been having a pretty hard time lately, so I’m hoping that will help a bit. 
This might sound silly, but try to think of ways your life is better now than it was before. Hopefully there will be some ways. For me, I don’t really have any ways my life is better, but when they did my surgery, I would have died if I hadn’t had it, so I try to remember that and be thankful for it.  It sounds like you are still grieving your loss, but when you can move forward to acceptance, things should get better. This is much easier to do when you find equipment that works well for you. 
Hang in there and we are here for you if you need us!!

LK
14 days ago
Reply to  noisymina

noiseymina…welcome to VO!  You sound as frustrated as I was the 1st  3 years.  Why not let us try and help you tackle your issues.  Please give us a chance to guide you thru the difficulties your having.   There are solutions,  we just need to help you find the right ones. 
First, do you have a good supportive system at home? Having even one person to help encourage you goes the mile on bad days.  If not, this is why we are here and we are here for you!!  
Do you have times where there is no gas or bulging bag?   I found keeping a food journal helped me figure out what was causing my enormous amount of embarrassing  gas & this helped also cut down on noise.  For me it was bubbly Gingerale/ pop/ soda & yeast risen  breads of all things & my favorite veggies broccoli & cauliflower.  Giving up a few things but still having them here or there to satisfy worked well for me.  I still eat them but I take Gas-X an hour before & 4 hours after then for a day or two until I know its passed thru me & there’s no more bloating.  Usually within 8 hrs because my transit time is so fast.  Also,   I was  able to replace yeast breads with crackers to avoid the gas. Have you seen the assortment of crackers out there? I enjoy trying the different kinds & testing different ones until I found the right ones for me as some did make me bloat like a hot air balloon ready for take off. 
I also learned from Eric that attaching the Osto EZ Vents made  letting the air out of my bag a dream compared to laying down, unrolling the end, release air,  roll it up again, wash my hands & repeat which I felt was constantly!   UGH!!! Buying the Vents meant I could have more free time and this meant I could leave the house comfortably releasing air where & when  appropriate.  I used to order them from my pharmacy but they charged 3 times what I pay now by going thru a medical supply company.  A few of us have good ideas for attaching them to  make it a quicker process then the company suggests.  We’d love to share the process with you as it helps free up your time putting them on also .   Depending on where you live, I can give you the website or phone number of the company I order my Vents from.
You mentioned that you feel having a pouch makes you stinky all the time.  This could be a food you eat causing a stronger smelling output.   Have you tried the M9 Liquid Deoderant drops to put in your pouch?? I use up to 22 drops or a few more until you feel your output is not as offensive to you.    Hollister will send free samples of M9, different Pouches to try &  they even have an Air Odour Nuetralizer in a spritz bottle for the smell after emptying a pouch. However I find the M9 Drops work great for giving only a very minimal order if any at all.   Feeling like you stink is a common concern but with the M9 drops, I’m sure you’ll notice a big difference in odour.  One 8 oz.  bottle lasts me one month.  After my surgery I  found I was so much more sensitive to smell but realized too it was likely because  the outout issues were now in front of me & to me,  I felt they were basically in my face which made me more sensitive to smelling my output.  Poop smelled before my ostomy so yes, it will stink now but there are things you can do to get around this matter when it’s in your pouch. 
Clothing is a huge pain for most of us  also!!  I ended up giving away clothing I really enjoyed wearing & slowly adding pieces that worked better with my pouch.  I learned I needed to wear pants that had an 18 inch rise from the center crotch to above my pouch by almost an inchso the waist band never moved my pouch around or rode down onto my stoma. I found  some pretty  tops to wear that never needed to be tucked in.  These tops also helped disguise my pouch when it bulged until I could get to a place to loose the air. Some tops  I found in the maternity  department. It doesn’t matter where you find them just as long as you like them. I measured pants & top length & made sure they were long enough & if not I added some lace to them. I always carry a measuring tape in my purse now.  If pants or a top don’t measure up I don’t even bother trying them on. Read labels & avoid materials known for shrinking like cotton & wools can.  
There are all kinds of hacks & ideas we can help you with if your up to giving us a chance & tackling your issues.  I also found naming my stoma helped me accept not just my situation better.  Mine is named Rose but that was her 4th or 5th name.  I gave her a few not so nice or polite names for a while!  lol!  Did you know you can ask the pouch  companies to send you some samples to try untill you find a pouch that works for you the way you need it to??  There are several of us here willing to answer your questions &  help you get through this hard time in your  life.  
I’m going to be bold here, but have you considered you may be dealing with depression? You have been through a life saving & life altering surgery & if you are depressed you need to address this also. There is no harm or embarrassment in admitting you may need a little help in this area.  My hubby had pancreatic cancer & died a short 5 months after my ileostomy. He was my only true support.  I eventually recognized I needed some help with depression & it was a good move on my part.  Seeing your GP & getting some help in this area is not a shameful thing.   If you feel your family doctor isn’t listening to you it may be time to find one who will.  I appologoze for the length of this but sometimes it’s needed to guide folks ahead instead of being stopped or stalled.  I hope your reading the replies here & will give us a chance to get you eventually mire confident &  out of your home & onto living the new normal healthy life most of us are leading now. 
If you like, feel free to start your own new forum & tell us your story & ask any questions or tell us how we can help you. This is what we are about here.  We want to help you Mina, please let us try. We all have or had an ostomy or had one so we understand your frustration .  
 

vorpal
vorpal
5 months ago

I have an ileostomy and find it extremely difficult to stay hydrated and nourished. I literally have to empty my bag between 20 – 30 times a day. If I’m eating / drinking water, my ileostomy “burps” minutes later and can need two empties while watching a 30 minute TV show. Sometimes, I am heading back from the bathroom, and finding myself turning right back around and heading back. It is so frustrating: I feel like I spent nearly a tenth of my life going to / from toilets. and it makes work very difficult, especially in meetings that last an hour or more.

My output is always extremely liquid, probably because I drink about 16 glasses of water a day in an attempt to stay hydrated. I feel frequent thirst that never fully goes away.

I’m on my second ostomy now, as of a year and four months ago. My first one was 11 years ago but due to severe Crohn’s inflammation, it had to be relocated and now my small intestine is getting quite short.

Advice to slow this puppy down? Raw cheese seems to thicken it, as do potatoes, but those are the only two foods that help instead of make things worse.

ChrisandBagpus
5 months ago
Reply to  vorpal

Not sure if this might help? as I have a colostomy.
Could it be that drinking a lot of water affect the ability of what’s left, of your intestines to absorbing the water and pass to the kidneys – what are the functionality of your bladder and kidneys? 
I have always found that plain water over stimulates my system to urinate quicker than if I drink other drinks. I say that for me my drinks need some nutrients in the water, for example melon or juices do not have the same effect as water!
We have all discussed on here foods like chia seeds, linseeds supplements like mucil, slippery elm and pysillium. on this part I ask the other ileostomates to add their thoughts and experiences as its not my experience.
20 to 30 times a day is a nightmare lets see if addition to what Eric has given as good advice
you must be quite worn out by the many trips to the bathroom that does not help the kidneys function any.
 

LK
5 months ago
Reply to  vorpal

@vorpal…Hi there.  I have short  bowel syndrome & have gone through what you are going thru.  If your not diabetic,   I think the reason your feeling so thirsty is that you are flushing your electrolytes right into the toilet. Cut back on drinking so much water.  Sixteen cups of water a day is a bit excessive. You may be confusing your guts a little. 
My first concern about your thirst is Diabetes. Have you talked to your doctor without telling him you think its your guts?   I had at times drank as much as you & my output puts out just as much as I put in.  When I am  putting out so much fluids, is when I actually back off on drinking. Try cutting it in half. Give your system time to catch up & then also see how your thirst is. 
One way to tell of your drinking to much is if your urine is yellow or on the clear side. It should be yellow.  Your kidneys help wash your body & blood of toxins & into the bladder & into the toilet. Clearer meant to me that I was drinking too many fluids. Try cutting back. Your thirst may settle as well as the fluids are no longer being rushed out by more fluids. 
I hope this makes sense. I tried answering earlier but had an eye issue & had to try again this A.M.  When you feel thirsty like that add some V8 Juice or…& sprinkle salt in it. It helps you absorb the fluids not flush them out.  Also, if  your not Vegan, make a pot of tapioca pudding. It has helped slow things down for me & also helps provide a full feeling when  I am putting out a lot of fluid even when I’m not drinking too much. 
While your cutting back, if still thirsty try sucking a candy, tic tac, …sugar free if your diabetic. 
I hope this helps. Keep in touch. Be Well! 
Linda

Audrey McAlister
Audrey McAlister
5 months ago
Reply to  LK

When I get that thirsty is because my creatinine levels in my kidneys are up and I’m usually low on potassium and magnesium. I found simple truth has a bottled water is distilled with electrolytes added in as flavoring. It helps replace what I’m losing in high outputs. I’m a high output ostomate. I also drink advanced formula pedialyte.
I also was recommended by a dr to eat baked lays potato chips to help slow my ostomy and they really do work well.

Jaz
3 months ago
Reply to  vorpal

Hi Vorpal
I have an Ostomy so not an expert but someone with an Illeostomy suggested isotonic (sports) drinks to me – to try and ‘retain’ more fluid. May be worth experimenting

dogtalkerer
1 year ago

Lil, I think you are gettiing a Loop ileostomy, I’ve read where they can be a little more trouble than a permanent ileostomy.  luckily its temporary.

Lil Stomie
1 year ago
Reply to  dogtalkerer

@dogtalkerer
Oh, you may have a point there! I will definitely ask my doctor about this. She did tell me the ileostomy is temporary until my colon is fully healed. So I remain optimistic! Thank you very much for the tip!Best,Lil Stomie

SqueakyandLiza
1 year ago

Hi Lil Stomie,
I think you will do great with an ileostomy. You have the advantage of having experienced life with an ostomy and that is the biggest part of the battle, right?
With an ileostomy, yes you will have to empty more often. You will also have to drink lots of water because it is easy to get dehydrated with an ileostomy. In my experience, I just empty my bag when I got to the bathroom to pee. I don’t have to empty my bag every time, but you can plan to do it at the same time and it won’t feel like an increased number of trips to the bathroom. 
Eric and John are right. So much of it depends on what you eat and how often. You will start to get a feel for how long it takes food to go through you. Some foods, for me, go much faster than others. And different foods affect the consistency of the output in different ways. 
Good luck Lil Stomie, and have a wonderful time on your girls weekend! 

Lil Stomie
1 year ago
Reply to  SqueakyandLiza

@SqueakyandLiza
Your tips are helpful–I will definitely keep in mind the tip about watching my diet and emptying the bag whenever I use the bathroom!And thank you for the well wishes! I’m keeping fingers crossed for a great weekend this year. My friends have all been pulling for me and keeping up with my progress, which helps a lot.Best,Lil Stomie

Lil Stomie
1 year ago
Reply to  VeganOstomy

@VeganOstomy
That is good to hear, that I don’t want to have to change to totally different products…I will keep that in mind about extended wear wafers, because since I switched to a two piece bag and started using a wafer as well, it has worked out great. No more leaks! I am gonna watch your diet videos on ileostomy and read the posts here! I was a vegetarian for 20 years, but in the past few years I have become a flexitarian. I sometimes go a few weeks without eating meat (I still LOVE veggie burgers and tofu), then have the odd beef burger or chicken curry.I am sure I will figure out the diet thing with the help of this site and my doctors! Fingers crossed…Thanks again!Best regards,Lil Stomie

john68
1 year ago

Hi LiL stomie. Firstly that’s great news and secondly perfectly normal to be nervous. I am an Ileo and it’s nothing to fear. The appliances for both are the same, the output yes will be more liquid and moves some more. I can see why you think it’s going to be a pain always emptying but it won’t! I would empty roughly about 6/7 times a day. Output as I am you know can be controlled by different foods ie some thicken some loosen. Pancaking not as big a problem. I hope this plus other replies will help 👍

Lil Stomie
1 year ago
Reply to  john68

@john68
Thank you, your response reassures me…I will definitely watch my diet, especially  when traveling! Maybe liquid output will be less messy than the colostomy can sometimes be lol. And wow I will NOT miss the pancaking!Best,Lil Stomie

Lil Stomie
1 year ago

Hi everyone,

I got some good news today! My doctor told me today that they want to set a date in early August to remove the cancerous tumor in my colon, and switch my colostomy to an ileostomy until my colon is fully healed. That switch makes me nervous!

Will I have to use different wafers and pouches than I did with my my colostomy? I have had a colostomy for 5 months and finally am used to it, so I am not excited to have to re-learn a whole new system.

I also have heard that an ileostomy has to be emptied much more often than colostomies. Every year in late September I meet up with several of my friends for a long girls’ weekend, and we sometimes go to conventions. The days at the conventions run long and I am afraid of constantly having to run to the bathroom and missing anything! Or that the bag will be constantly full of liquid and bulging under my clothes…am I worrying to much?

ChrisandBagpus
1 year ago
Reply to  Lil Stomie


Hi Lil
Looks like I’m going for a similar operation but sooner that you hopefully in the next couple of weeks. With the Covid problems in local hospital the medics are trying to schedule at another nearby. (Here in the UK they have isolated some hospitals for the infection reasons).
So maybe I can try to let you know how it goes, fully understand your nervousness.
I am concerned of the extra risk at this time but they believe to stand the chance of the best outcome it outweighs the risk.
Hope you schedule is not delay because of the covid risk, well worth asking the question. I know a lot of operations have been put back?
 
Anyway good luck and remember ask all the question you want. I know some people wish not to know because your on this forum, I’m guessing your more in the group knowledge is power, also surgeon are humans a good relationship helps loads- your not a case but an unique individual and a lot of life yet to live

Lil Stomie
1 year ago
Reply to  ChrisandBagpus

@chrisandbagpusTHhank you for your reply! I agree with you that knowledge is power!I am not thinking that there will be much delay in my surgery. I live in Maine and things are not as bad here as more crowded states. My friend just had surgery on her ankle the other day, and I feel like if that was not delayed, then things are not so dire. (We live in adjacent communities). In fact, I live a 3 minute walk from the biggest hospital in Maine!ALso, I see you are in the UK…I have relatives in Inverness and Liverpool!
 
Best,Lil Stomie

ChrisandBagpus
1 year ago
Reply to  Lil Stomie


I’m much more south near the villages famous for the “Cheddar cheese” and the strawberries that won’t be going to Wimbledon (Tennis) this year and Glastonbury. A very beautiful part of the country fantastic walks this time of year.
I’ll try to keep you posted kind of leading the way for you 8-) 

glenn.giroir
3 months ago
Reply to  Lil Stomie


Hi!  I’m a teacher with an ileostomy, and I almost always go the entire school day (8-4) without emptying my bag (or maybe just one empty mid-day).  Granted, I don’t eat much during a teaching day.  But, it seems that the mid-day for me is pretty slow for bowel movement.  My gut is most active in the evenings and night when I’m just sitting around.  I don’t think that you will have to empty as frequently as you think you will. You’ll probably not have any problem unless you are drinking to much fluid as this fills up my bag in a hurry (but still stay hydrated!).  But, we’re all different.  
Best wishes!
Glenn
 

Lil Stomie
3 months ago
Reply to  glenn.giroir

@glenn-giroirThank you for the reply!  I am now free of the colon cancer and no longer have an ileostomy, but I will always be grateful this group for the wonderful advice I received here.
All the best to you,
Lil Stomie

glenn.giroir
3 months ago
Reply to  Lil Stomie


That’s great news!  I didn’t notice that your post was from last year.  I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing so well!
All the best to you also!
Glenn

SqueakyandLiza
3 months ago
Reply to  Lil Stomie


Congrats lil stomie!!  I am so happy for you to be cancer free and stoma free!!

Lil Stomie
3 months ago
Reply to  SqueakyandLiza

@SqueakyandLiza Thanks so much! I’m very happy and feel lucky and blessed! All the best to you xo

john68
1 year ago

Am not a frequent flyer but any time I have can’t say it causes any problems, Even when being searched at security I have always mentioned I have an ostomy and the staff have been very discreet and polite. I wouldn’t let it put you of any travel plans 👍

Jeanne
Jeanne
1 year ago

I have an ileostomy and would like to travel by plane. Unfortunately someone I know whom also had an ileostomy told me not to travel by plane. Why do you think?

vorpal
vorpal
5 months ago
Reply to  Jeanne

I have had trouble over long plane rides (e.g. 30 hours of airports and planes: overnight flights are the worst because of the line to use the bathroom in the morning and how full your bag can be… I set an alarm for every two hours with headphones to wake me up so that I may use the washroom, and I still have had three “accidents” where my bag fails. There is nothing as panic-inducing as the sudden feeling of a flush of warm liquid down your legs, into your shoes, and onto the plane floor. I usually rudely shove my way through the line saying, “Emergency!” and then hit the call button and get the flight attendant to bring me a bag I packed with a change of clothes. The worst part is the sheer embarrassment of trying to explain to the flight attendants what happened and have them have to mop up your mess while being stuck with the other passengers for another hour or two…

sjlovestosing
1 year ago

Hi Gi Gi,Welcome to the forum.Sorry to hear about your problems. I also agree with Dona and Eric. If you haven’t gained after a few months out of surgery, as you are, it may be a good idea to get in touch with your doctor to set up a diet plan. As Eric said, starches are a good way to help slow things down. I like to remember the acronym BRAT – bananas, rice, applesauce, and tea. When my children had the runs, I would give them these foods to help them get back to normal. A pediatric nurse recommended them to me, as well as making sure that they got plenty of fluids. Hope this helps some.Stella

Dona
1 year ago

Hello GiGi and welcome.All the thing Eric has suggested are  ( of course) great ideas.  This must be so frustrating. You need more help.I might suggest you also ask about nutritional support … I think its intravenous ?? Apparently more IBD patients are getting this prior to surgery now to maintain health and weight. Might not be long term solution, but worth asking about. My Primary Care doctor was surprised that I had not had this option when I was first diagnosed and lost 85 pounds in about four months. YIKES!Also, never underestimate the power of a spoonful ( or several) of peanut butter. Loaded with protein and goes down easy.All the best to you. Keep posting!

Gi Gi
Gi Gi
1 year ago

Hi I’m Gi Gi. I have a colostomy and I am very concerned about my weight. I’m petite in size and since my surgery July 2,2019 my weight is between 80 to 85 lbs. And I simply hate it!!!! My normal weight is 110/ 112lbs but I haven’t seen that in yrs. Now that I have a permanent colostomy I have been trying to find ways to gain my weight back but I empty so much. if there is someone out there that can help me please feel free to email me at [email protected] I look fwd to it. What I’m taking now is lomotil and Imodium to slow things down but it’s not working. I also have purchased guar gum and tried it twice but havent figured out the right mixture or way to take it, need help with that. I’m just ready for a different plan, different solution. I also wanna know when will this thing slow down cause i m not getting any nutrients. It’s frustrating!!! And I hate looking like I’m some kinda drug head being skinny and all…… Thanks!
Just wanna get back to my life and living again. I workout but I think I’m hurting myself instead of helping due to lack of nutrient so I don’t do it as much. Thinking of trying casein protein. That’s something I stumbled on while searching the internet. Please help me someone!!!😥😢

LK
1 year ago
Reply to  Gi Gi

@Gi GiHello Gigi and welcome. You are in a tough place right now, and weight loss to that extent makes you aware of just how hard furniture and the bed can really be not to mention the white circle. Please make a point of going back to your gastroenterologist and telling him also, what is going on with your bowel. GPS are good and they run interference for us sometimes but on occasion we need to go back to the GI doctor. If you have not done this already you need to go back and let him know that you are having these serious issues and how concerned you are. You are tiny to begin with so you will notice this weight loss all the more. About 12 years ago I went through my first bout of malnutrition from malabsorption and fortunately after some time, things began to improve. There are a few ways to get extra nutrition. If you can drink the nutritional drinks that you can purchase in the drugstore a good one and I’m not sure if it’s available where you live but the brand name boost is a good drink vanilla and chocolate flavour are nice try to drink them cold. Nutritional support through the doctor can come through TPN, the other is through a tube through your nose and into your stomach. Both ways have to be ordered through your doctor. Make a point of stressing to them how thin you are and how uncomfortable you are with what is happening to you. You have good reason to be concerned. Please keep us in the loop and let us know how you manage through this time. All the best Gigi try and keep your chin up. Linda 

SqueakyandLiza
1 year ago
Reply to  LK

Posted by: @LK If you can drink the nutritional drinks that you can purchase in the drugstore a good one and I’m not sure if it’s available where you live but the brand name boost is a good drink vanilla and chocolate flavour are nice try to drink them cold.  

Linda—I have been drinking Boost drinks since leaving the hospital over a year ago. I was so incredibly malnourished and had a number of albumin iv’s before they would let me go and I needed to keep getting as much protein as possible and those drinks have 20g each. Plus they do taste good too. I alternate between the chocolate and the strawberry, though the strawberry is my favorite. 

Audrey McAlister
Audrey McAlister
5 months ago
Reply to  SqueakyandLiza

I too drink boost I started on them in the early 1990’s after having my first colostomy. They have been a god send and they will also help reverse some of the dreaded effects steroids have on our bones!

Tony
1 year ago

Hi Laurel, As far fetched as it might seem, I was just thinking this morning that I wish an ostomy nurse or even a doctor would get on this site and share their expertise with the community. Please, please consider registering an account and blessing us with your knowledge from a nursing standpoint.

Laurel
Laurel
1 year ago

Hello All, I am a certified ostomy nurse and think this site is WONDERFUL!!! I am wondering if I could have permission to reproduce your picture of when to empty the pouch. I love the color and think it would be great to use it with ostomates.

LK
2 years ago

Miriam, I just re-read you question.  I want to add, that on occasion when Rose has a day or two off,  this does happen. But, be aware of what you eat and when, and then also if what you passed before yours became quiet, has it been in the bag or not. Write it down if need be to keep track. I can tell this by colour usually. Milk will be creamy when had with a meal…V8 juice will be dark orange  Beets will be pink or purple. Not to be mistaken for blood even in urine. If your bowel is on the empty side, it can take time to fill again and then work. But, also always be aware of a possible blockage. Eric has a video on blockages I believe.  I get blockages a lot, and they are not fun. Painful, so it is good you are aware of what is going on. As soon as I notice a change I did not cause I try and keep track of my input, and output and also when she rolls again after a stop I caused. For me the first sign of a blockage is a quiet stoma, unless I have been out and caused it for more then one day especially if I have eaten less, or little to none.  We flew to Hawaii five months after my stoma and I was terrified of the flight time. I did not want to wait in the washroom lineup at all. So I only ate once there, and very little the day ahead, but always drinking water or juice. It worked just great, but I really got things going again when on land. I am  60.  Had Rose since 2008. Is this more what you need to know?Linda

LK
2 years ago

Miriam…I do the same thing when I have to leave the house. I eat smaller, more nutritious,  meals the day before and hydrate well, and then  the morning of going out,  I may have a glass of milk with my pills, and then I only eat on the way home or once home. I also always carry water with me and drink water when out. Going out two days in a row, I try to avoid, just due to eating less, as it does mean very little output. Rose (my stoma) is very active all the time and I can be in the can every forty minuets. So going out and being in the bathroom often does not mix well.  Your stoma is likely to produce what you put in. Mine will normally be busy as soon as one to three hours after eating. Eating less produces less and so forth.  That is normal for me. Sometimes after not eating much if any for two days, she slows right down and produces only small fluid.  If I have a fever she produces less all around so I watch for constipation or blockages then. V8 juice is great to drink when out and about. Does this help you any? Linda

Miriam channkowsky
Miriam channkowsky
2 years ago

I wanted to know if it is normal not to have any out put in two days. The first day I ate very little because I was going to an event and didn’t want to have to empty my bag there which I didn’t and then the next day I didn’t have to empty anything again. Could this happen and is it ok not to go in 2 days though I may go tonight which is the 2nd day.

Thank you

Miriam

TK Koh
TK Koh
2 years ago

Is it harmful to clean with water after draining your bag

LK
2 years ago
Reply to  TK Koh

TK Koh and Gary Archie…welcome to this very  helpful sight. You will find Eric to be very helpful and teach things that I know I had no clue about, even after my 10 years or so with my ostomy. Such as being able to get samples from other companies, (they will want your business), so you may find them helpful also. Ask questions and more questions. One thing we have found and it was something I did right way was to name my stoma. I call her Rose because she really is a beautiful thing. Giving it a name does help to identify with our new little friend a lot easier. There was actually a chat about this a while ago. Check our recent posts and forums in the headline. The names are creative, so have some fun. Most stomas have their own personality. I changed Roses name 3 times before I settled on Rose. Your questions are some of what I had actually thought to ask my surgeon and my nurse after surgery.  Yes, it is safe to rinse out your  pouch that you have on. I prefer to do this as when you just empty it, you still have to close it and then cleaning the mouth of the pouch can be a fussy time consuming job.  I use a flat one piece pouch and also secure it with the elastic barrier tapes,  (there are now 2 sizes…get samples)  because I do a lot of bending. I also keep two plastic cups by the throne and rinse once or twice as needed. I can give it a good bit of a wiggle to rinse, but if you have a 2 piece, you will have to be more careful. When I am away from home I carry a bottle of water with me labeled Bag H2O to rinse it when I am out, refillable and washable, recyclable. I use a deodorant called M9 in the bag, 18-20 drops and this does help immensely with odor. Eric has a video on this I am sure.  Hollister makes it. One thing I also asked, being concerned about parasites and what have you in water, I asked if anything can get into my stoma. I was told a definite- NO, nothing in, only out. I had previously battled a year and half fight with Cryptosporidium…that was just nasty! So you can see my concern with rinsing. No question is a  bad question here.  It may take a few days, but you will get replies if someone can help or just welcome you. Let us know what you name your stomas. Stay well and hydrated.   

Gary Archie
Gary Archie
3 years ago

should i clean/rinse the bag after i empty it?

Zvitusk
3 years ago

Chris, Be very careful when you approach the surgeon. You might get in trouble with Child Protective Services or similar agency. As much as we stand up for each and help each other and etc. , we all have been surgically altered. IT WAS NOT AN OPTION .  IT WAS MEDICALLY NECESSARY . IT WAS NOT FOR FUN OR CONVENIENCE! If this was an April Fools joke , I was had. If it was for real, DON’T DO IT.  

Marcie
3 years ago
Reply to  Zvitusk

Never thought of the Child protective service..  !!!!!!!! Your right Z..  One eye or slipped word can get you in lots of trouble.. OR reported by family member, so called friend.. A friend of mine had this done for her husband tho, Wanted to keep him home and NOT in a nursing home.. If this teenage is having multiple  changes, he may have colon issues–so maybe start there.. but don’t say YOU want this — it  may be down the road for him any ways.. ???  Talk with a few upper and lower GI Doctors.. Go slow!!  Eric, has a blog for the proper words on this subject to learn so, you can have some smarts and proper questions on the subject..  As you may have already read, they may put him on medications which can make this child sicker and produce more diaper changes………. Learn the medications affects..  From what I have read, they are not nice !!  This GIFTED CHILD has issues in the first place, Meds can turn your and his world upside down and around….. His temperament for one.. Best. M.

Robert
3 years ago

Hello Chris . Welcome to the forum . I agree with Eric and Marcie . I have an Ileostomy not a colostomy so a little different . But there were different things to deal with after and since my surgery  that I was not aware of before having my surgery .  I understand what your concern is with your son but definitely would suggest doing your homework on this first . Maybe you could check around the area where you live and see if there is an Ostomy support group that you could sit in on a meeting or two with and get a face to face discussion with someone who has one . Before seeing a surgeon .

chris
chris
3 years ago

Hi all: We’re considering a colostomy for our teen son with severe special needs. He can’t walk but can stand with assistance. He wears a diaper full time and has small bowel movements all day, 5-6. We are feeling like a colostomy would make life easier for him and us. But we’re not sure. We keep him very clean and change his diaper often, but are thinking that a bag empty every few hours would be a lot easier on him and us while changing his wet diaper. Any thoughts welcome.

Marcie
3 years ago
Reply to  chris

Hi Guest Chris, If you decide along with your surgeon, I agree with Eric, but first, I would, if this was my child, try out different waffer’s on his belly, just to see if any reactions…  and a pouch on him to see how he reacts. This will be a learning account for everyone..  This is a new future for you all and mostly your dear son.  I hope you really read everything Eric and the rest of us put on this blog……. We who have ostomy’s here have issues being ostomy’s…….. Just because….. I am sure you have it hard already– and this just may help– but be ready.. EDUCATION IS THE KEY POINT HERE . Remember, there is NO control of bowel movements of this..  IT is the gift that keep on giving.. shall I say.. :-)  I wish you and your son the very best in the future.. and GOD Bless. M.

Paul Wooster
Paul Wooster
3 years ago

Please, what is a night drainage bag? My dad has a colostomy bag and has to keep getting up every 2 hours in the night to empty it. Any suggestions? Thank you.

Leonardo
3 years ago

colostomy, 3 months ago, empty 4x/day, no more waking up during night. 7h sleep. happy. no problems.

Krishnapriya
3 years ago

Hi Eric,
Thanks so much for sharing this info! Your links have given me a wealth of detail.
I just recently had a total pelvic exenteration done because of uterine sarcoma.. so I now have a wet colostomy – both urine and stool coming out of a single stoma coming out of the end of my large intestine.
I am still trying to figure out what works best for me.. I have tried coloplast flanges and their urostomy bags – which are quite conveniently large and also capable of expelling solid waste.. and now I am trying convatec just for the incredible advantage of mouldable flanges.. in convatec and coloplast, I find that the colostomy bags get full really fast, because of my wet colostomy and I end up draining every hour or so during the day, and every two hours at night, which is quite irritating.
So I recently tried the convatec high output bag – that’s a bit better.. but I keep wondering – if the bag is bigger, doesn’t the increased weight of a corresponding third of the bag cause greater tugging on the flange?
What bags do you recommend for a wet colostomy? Also what do you think of bigger bags and their tugging on flanges?
Thanks a ton again for the great info!

Karen
3 years ago

I’ve had an ileostomy for 19 years. It’s a part of me and yeah, sometimes I have a blow out but all in all it was the best thing that happened to me after 10 years of ulcerative colitius. I empty every time I go to the bathroom unless very little is in there. It’s just a routine that I always do. I usually eat late (after 7 or 8 pm) so I get up once in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and empty. No big deal. Just part of the routine.

Susan
3 years ago

I am up late. My appetite is large and I am never full. I ante a salad (not very large–would NEVER DO PANERA!!!WHAT A MESS THST WOULD BE AND THEIR SALADS ARE TOO LARGE EXCET FOR THE SIDE SADLAD IN YOU PICK TWO)
I have tried everything except keeping a notebook log and I have enough trouble doing what I need to.
My surgeon told me to do Metamucil and I do so my output is thicker during the day. I am afraid to take it before I go to sleep.
I have been very upset in light of what happened in the US and the crap coming out of 45’s mouth supporting White Supremacists and my bag is puffy which I assume is gas.
I sleep through the night but I am on Disability and cannot work so my sleep patterns are irratiic and I am very hungry late at night.
I am trying veggies but my Stoma Nurse said nothing raw, and peeled and steamed well if fresh and very steamed if frozen.
I do have a delima. I eat thickeners, peanut butter, bananas & mashed frozen potatoes from Trader Joe’s that are thick circles and you can make as many as you want.
Because I cannot eat flaxseed meal, chia seeds, hemp hearts, and raw nuts and big salads I am going nuts but I do not want a blockage.
Also, I hardly ever left my large Hollister bag (12″) get more than a third full. I was drinking Gatorade as it was recommended fir the potassium & electrolytes but cut back due to the Cook County (Chicago & suburbs in Cook Cpunty) sweetened beverage tax and a penny an ounce. I do drink a lot of water. I am thirsty, especially in the hot weather.
I do not know how to eat like I did and I cannot lose the weight I gained.
Sorry this was long and your BIRTHDAY IS DURING THE ECLIPSE ON MONDAY!! How auspicious!! Congratulations!
Any suggestions?

Illona
3 years ago

Changing my schedule won’t work for me because of a very good reason, I am back to work! I’d rather have the increased output when I’m at home and sacrifice some sleep. It’s bad enough that after lunch I’ll be in the ladies room frequently.

Also I am trying a new food each weekend to see how my output is affected. So far so good, I just miss Panera salads. Once I’m healthy that’ll be the first thing I eat. :-)

Illona
3 years ago

Thank you for highlighting this! My emptying amounts vary. I’m doing much better at night lately because I don’t eat after 7. I’ve actually had nights with 3-4 solid hours of sleep without interruption!