At my recent appointment with my surgeon, stoma nurse and surgical care practitioner (wound nerd and fellow mycophile!) the idea of colostomy irrigation was brought up. There’s always a lot to take in during an appointment but I think it was raised not because of my hernia (which was a big talking point during the appointment) but because of the things I mentioned such as still having issues with pancaking, leakages at night and random noises.

Can You Alternate Between Irrigating and Not Irrigating?

Having made a life-changing decision about whether or not to have a new bum fitted, I’m not sure about making another so soon. When colostomy irrigation was brought up by my stoma nurse, my first response was whether I can revert back to the old way of pooping in a bag. She said no, but that confused me. As colostomy irrigation involves essentially giving yourself an enema through your new bum, I couldn’t understand why she would say you couldn’t go back to the old way of pooping.

Is this correct?

If You Decide to Irrigate, Have You Got To Commit To It All The Time?

If I decided to irrigate, have I always got to irrigate? On occasions can I decide that I haven’t got the time or don’t feel like irrigating? Have you got to commit to it fully with the odd time where you don’t or can you decide on an ad-hoc basis?

Can You Irrigate With Crohn’s?

I’ve done some ready about colostomy irrigation and Crohn’s is mentioned as something that could prevent you from irrigating. Is this referring to those with active Crohn’s or does it include those who are in remission?

Can You Irrigate With A Parastomal Hernia?

Like with Crohn’s mentioned above, I’ve also read about issues with hernias but is this related to large hernias or any hernias?

How Long Does It Usually Take You To Irrigate?

I understand that the process can vary depending indifferent factors but how long does it take you to irrigate?

When Do You Irrigate?

I would guess this is a personal thing and would depend on a number of factors but when do you irrigate? Is the time based on your life schedule or is it based on what could happen after irrigating? For example, if you irrigated at night could it interfere with your sleeping?

Anything I’ve Missed?

What else is there that I should be aware of when considering whether to irrigate or not?

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Diagnosed with IBD in 2002, I have experienced the usual ups and downs of having a chronic disease and tried numerous medications but the time finally came in 2018 to elect to have surgery to improve my life. I had the surgery in 2019 and this is my journey having a 'New Bum'.

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    1. When I posted the article I didn’t know the answers so was looking for people to respond (they responded on Facebook) with their own answers to the questions.

  1. The answers to all these questions and many more can all be found on the facebook closed group Colostomy Irrigation-ers. It is a world wide group so some one is usually around to answer any questions you may have and you’ll find us ‘gators a friendly and helpful bunch😉

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