WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
An ileostomy is an opening created to connect your ileum to the surface of your abdomen. Your ileum is the upper part of your intestine. The opening, called a stoma, will be connected to a pouch that collects bowel contents. Your ileostomy may be temporary or permanent.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
- Medicines may be given to decrease pain. You may also get medicine to make it easier to have a bowel movement.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your primary healthcare provider (PHP) if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your PHP or surgeon as directed:
You will need to return to have your ileostomy checked and to make sure the stoma is healing. You may also need more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Work with an ostomy specialist:
An ostomy specialist can provide more information on how to care for your ileostomy. He will help select the right size and type of pouch for your ileostomy to prevent problems. You may need a different size pouch after your stoma heals. He will also know how and where to get the supplies you need, and which supplies are best.
Wound and stoma care:
Ask your surgeon or ostomy specialist for more information about the following ileostomy care steps:
- Carefully wash your incision wound and stoma with warm water. If you use soap, make sure to rinse it off well. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed and when you change your pouch. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. Ask your PHP or surgeon for more information on ileostomy care.
- Empty your pouch when it is 1/3 to 1/2 full. If your pouch is too full, it may become heavy and pull on your skin.
- Follow directions for how often to change your ileostomy pouch. This will help prevent damage to your stoma and skin. How often you need to change the pouch depends on the kind of pouch you have.
- Use a skin-sealant (paste) as directed. This is used to prevent leaks and protect your stoma from becoming irritated by bowel contents.
- Follow the directions given to you for care of an internal reservoir. You may need to empty the reservoir 3 to 4 times each day. Empty bowel contents with a thin tube. Do not use medicines that contain wax. The wax can build up in the pouch and block your stoma. Ask your PHP or surgeon if you are taking any medicines that contain wax.
- Carry extra supplies with you in case your bag leaks. Supplies may include extra pouches, skin protection products, or a change of clothing.
Nutrition to reduce symptoms:
- Eat a small amount of food at a time. Eat foods high in insoluble fiber, such as bran cereals, vegetables, and whole-grain breads. Take small bites and chew your food well. Do not have prune juice or cabbage. They may make your bowel contents more liquid and lead to dehydration.
- Drink liquids as directed. You may need to drink about 1 to 2 extra glasses of liquid each day to prevent dehydration. Ask your PHP how much liquid you should drink each day.
- Try not to swallow air. Smoking, chewing gum, or drinking quickly or through a straw may cause you to swallow air. It can cause gas, and lead to more odor from your stoma.
Contact your PHP or surgeon if:
- You have a fever.
- Your incision wound or stoma is red, swollen, or you have a rash.
- You are drinking less liquid due to illness.
- You feel full, bloated, or have abdominal pain.
- You have an internal reservoir and bowel contents leak or you cannot remove your bowel contents.
- You have more bowel contents draining from your stoma than is normal for you.
- You have nausea or are vomiting.
- Your stoma becomes narrow, comes out too far, or sinks inside your abdomen.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You cough up blood or feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
- Your abdomen becomes hard and tender. Your stoma may turn from pink to gray or black, and your skin may be blistered.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You feel full, cannot burp or vomit, but bowel contents come through your stoma with force.
- You vomit blood or have blood in your bowel contents.
- Bowel contents will not drain through your stoma.
- You have pus or a foul odor coming from your wound or stoma.
- You are urinating very little or not at all.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Ileostomy Creation (Discharge Care)
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