Those damn blockages…

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Yesterday, I had a pretty normal morning… emptied my pouch at 7am and then again at 10:30am.  For brunch, I had some leftover rice with avocado, followed by two medium-sized apples.

My stoma is usually pretty inactive in the afternoon, but when 4pm rolled around and there was no output in my pouch, I knew something was up.  I started getting abdominal cramping soon after and with a few stoma “farts”, I still couldn’t get anything to move.  I finished 2L of water and began massaging my belly until around 10pm.  At that point it had been almost 12 hours since I last emptied my pouch and there was only a little output in my bag, so I went onto Plan B.To inject some back story, I’ve been testing the Salts Dermacol product again, but being the second time I’ve experienced a blockage with the product, I’ll have to stop using them unless my output magically becomes really loose for prolonged periods of time. The Dermacol product is a collar for your stoma. It’s used to prevent seepage under your barrier, and I had put it on in order to heal a stubborn part around my stoma that was raw – amazingly, after only two days of wear, that area healed significantly with the Dermacol, but this blockage was bad news.

A handsome stoma wearing the Salts Dermacol collar
A handsome stoma wearing the Salts Dermacol collar

Anyhow… I removed my pouch and began massaging again.  I wish I had a clear pouch on, but I ran out and have been using the remainder of my opaque pouches up, so without any way of seeing what’s going on, the pouch had to come off. I began pressing along the bottom of my wafer and a tiny bit of output came out, then……

GUSSSSHHHHH. (Niagara Falls would have been proud)

woah1

For the next several minutes, I had the equivalent of two full pouches stream out of my stoma into a garbage bag that I had hung off my pants. Immediate relief!  I caught it on video, but unless I’m begged by someone wanting to see the results of unblocking a stoma, I hesitate to post it.

I was actually surprised to see how loose the output was and there was no real indication of anything large that was blocking the way, but because of the way the Dermacol holds up my stoma (it normally points down) and how it “hugs” the stoma, I can see how anything more than very loose output could be problematic.

A few lessons learned:

1) Don’t put anything around your stoma that feels tight.  That includes cutting your wafer too small or using a product like Dermacol when it’s not the ideal circumstance.
2) Drink water.  A lot. All day.  I really neglect to drink enough during the day.  I assume that as long as I’m peeing throughout the day that I’m sufficiently hydrated, but I do acknowledge that this might not always be the case. I will drink with each meal and in between.
3) Wearing a clear bag offers a chance to practice “biofeedback” in the sense that I would have been able to see what my stoma was up to and perhaps aid it to “push out” anything that wasn’t coming through, either by applying pressure around the stoma or by tensing my abdominal muscles.

I still feel that something is “off”, however.  Since my tetanus booster in February, things have not been going well and feel as if I’m beginning a flare.  I see my GI later this month and hopefully I’ll have more answers.

Image courtesy of CNaene / FreeDigitalPhotos.net and reactiongifs.com

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14 thoughts on “Those damn blockages…

  1. I haven’t heard of many colostomates with blockage problems, but it also depends if the person has a history of blockages too. I have not had issues with blockages as part of my Crohn’s disease , but as I mentioned in the post, something feels “off” after the booster shot I received in February and my stoma looks/feels more swollen than I recall – even my gut gets achy and feels “full” more often than not. I don’t know what’s going on inside, but I hope to get answers in a few weeks.

  2. No video need for me:-) I do think water is super important and I need to drink more too. I’ve not had a blockage before and wonder if colostomies are different in that way than ileostomies?

    • I haven’t heard of many colostomates with blockage problems, but it also depends if the person has a history of blockages too. I have not had issues with blockages as part of my Crohn’s disease , but as I mentioned in the post, something feels “off” after the booster shot I received in February and my stoma looks/feels more swollen than I recall – even my gut gets achy and feels “full” more often than not. I don’t know what’s going on inside, but I hope to get answers in a few weeks.

  3. VIDEO VIDEO!!!!! Maybe we are weird, but we definitely want to see. We learned some valuable lessons from you in this post, but what a huge bummer to experience the panic and dicomfort of blockage to gain wisdom :( So glad you didn’t have to go to the hospital.

    We were advised by our WOCN’s to drink half your body weight in oz. Ryan is 190 lbs so he takes in anywhere from 80-100 oz of water a day! I know it’s a lot, but as you said, it is crucial!!! Looking forward to the video :)

  4. VIDEO VIDEO!!!!! Maybe we are weird, but we definitely want to see. We learned some valuable lessons from you in this post, but what a huge bummer to experience the panic and dicomfort of blockage to gain wisdom :( So glad you didn’t have to go to the hospital.

    We were advised by our WOCN’s to drink half your body weight in oz. Ryan is 190 lbs so he takes in anywhere from 80-100 oz of water a day! I know it’s a lot, but as you said, it is crucial!!! Looking forward to the video :)

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