Ask an Ostomy Lifestyle Expert

Output Issues

Question:

I am a 70-year old woman with a colostomy due to rectal cancer which occurred in my mid 30’s. For the first 25 years after surgery, I rarely experienced any problems of living with an ostomy and was even a little smug about how easy management of an ostomy could be. However, all this started to change with increasing bouts of diarrhea and periodic episodes of pain during peristalsis. After this, I developed a hernia which has slowly increased in size. Over the last 3 years, the episodes of diarrhea have increased to the point I am now potassium deficient and have lost several pounds. I’m not a heavy person to begin with. My fecal output has also increased and some days I can easily fill the equivalent of 2 or 3 pouches with very runny contents. I have tried a gluten-free diet, cutting back on fibrous foods, adding more fibre, etc. Nothing seems to work. At times I will go several days with normal output only to experience diarrhea again after this hiatus. I sometimes think this might be due to the hernia but also wonder if it’s something related to irritable bowel. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Response:

The impact of food and drink on our stoma output is hard to predict as diet is very individual. Various surveys suggest that foods can affect people in different ways after stoma surgery. In your case, you have researched and tried various approaches such as a gluten-free diet, cutting back on fibrous foods, etc… As mentioned, you have lived with your ostomy for many years now, and it seems that in your current situation, something(s) has changed. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek medical attention with your Doctor promptly for investigation and assessment of your current health condition to determine the source of the output change that is occurring.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
THE OSTOMY FACTOR Blog-joannltremblay.wordpress.com
FACEBOOK – Author Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
TWITTER @joanntremblay
Author of “The Self-Coaching Toolbox” , “Better With A Bag Than In A Bag”

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