What Is An Ileostomy?

What is an ileostomy?

What is an ileostomy? For those who don’t have one it is a pretty common type of stoma, but some people mistakenly refer to it as a colostomy as they are the most commonly known.

An ileostomy is a stoma that is formed using the small intestine to form a bypass for the stool/output/poop to exit the body rather than use the rectum. These can be temporary or permanent.

When you have a temporary ileostomy is it usually referred to as a loop ileostomy. This type of ileostomy is often formed during a resection operation where part of the intestine/bowel is removed and the two parts reattached, for numerous reasons. The temporary ileostomy allows for the intestine that has been operated on chance to heal. The rectum is left in tact and some people often find that they still need to go to the toilet to pass mucus. This is because the remaining bowel is still creating mucous; which as unpleasant as that sounds means that it is still working and if you are having your ileostomy reversed then it is honestly a good thing albeit unpleasant.

If you are going to have a permanent ileostomy, your large intestine and rectum are removed in it’s entirety and your anus sewn up; this in the stoma world is often fondly referred to as a “Barbie or Ken bum” you will even find guys calling it their Action Man bum! For those who never came across dolls like that as a child it just means that your anus has no hole, smooth so to speak like a doll. Both types use a drainable bag to empty the output, which is emptied frequently throughout the day.

Unfortunately there can be issues with this type of stoma due to the large intestine not being in play the output is considerably less firm as the large intestine wrings out the fluid so to speak and makes it more like what is the “normal” for poo. This can cause your skin to break down with the high acidity in the output although ensuring that your bags are cut correctly can limit this tremendously. Some people can be at risk of prolapses which you can find out about via the Rocking2Stomas link below as Rachel has written many informative topics on her blog. A lot of issues can be resolved by keeping a food diary, drinking plenty and trying different bags and “accessories”.

If you missed our first instalment in our “What Is A…?” series what a urostomy is please click here it was guest written by Rachel of Rocking2Stomas.