Question: Seeking Rehabilitation Advice for Persistent Diarrhea Post-Ileostomy Reversal

After having an ileostomy for 9 months and undergoing a reversal in January 2018, I’ve been experiencing daily diarrhea. I’m interested in knowing if there’s any specific rehabilitation available for individuals who face similar challenges following ileostomy reversal.

Response: Strategies for Managing Diarrhea After Ileostomy Reversal

It’s crucial to first consult with your physician regarding your persistent diarrhea. They might prescribe anti-diarrhea medications and may also recommend suitable rehabilitation strategies.

Understanding Bowel Function Changes: Post-surgery, the rectum, which serves as a storage area for stool, might be smaller and require time to stretch and increase its capacity. This adaptation can take several months to years. Increased bowel movements are common initially due to the lower part of the colon being unused for a while.

Dietary and Lifestyle Adjustments:

  1. Fluid Intake: Ensure a varied intake of liquids, not just water. Beverages containing potassium and sodium are essential as they compensate for the loss of these electrolytes due to diarrhea and sweating.
  2. Diet Modifications: Consider limiting or avoiding certain foods such as dairy products, caffeine, chocolate, spicy and fried foods, high-fat meats, fruit juices, etc.
  3. BRAT Diet: This diet includes Bananas, White Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. These foods can help regulate bowel movements.
  4. Drinking Black Tea: This can also be beneficial in managing diarrhea.
  5. Mealtime Liquid Consumption: Try to limit liquid intake during meals and consume the majority of fluids about 30 minutes later. This might slow down bowel movements.
  6. Kegel Exercises: When feeling the urge for a bowel movement, practice deep breathing and sphincter tightening exercises. Tighten your anal muscle as if preventing a bowel movement, hold for a count of 10, and then relax for 10 seconds. Repeat this 10 times per set, doing up to 4 sets daily.

It’s important to remember that each individual’s recovery journey is unique. Therefore, it’s essential to work closely with your healthcare team to find the most effective strategies tailored to your specific needs.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
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Author of “The Self-Coaching Toolbox”, “Better With A Bag Than In A Bag”, “Another BAG Another DAY”, “BAGs Around the World”, “Why Buttercup Wears a BAG!”, “The Sibs Gang Cave of the Golden Heart”,,
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