Your doctor or stoma care nurse may recommend colostomy irrigation. If so, learn the basics, including helpful hints and tips.
Colostomy irrigation is used to manage faecal output by cleansing the bowel. It involves using specialist equipment to introduce a measured amount of water into the bowel via the stoma.
Talk to your surgeon first to see if this method is suitable for you. Irrigation should always be taught by a stoma care nurse.
Colostomy irrigation hints and tips
Irrigation requires access to a toilet and clean water for at least one hour. Normally, irrigation is done at a regular time, every one or two days. It usually takes two to three weeks to establish a routine.
Some helpful tips to consider:
Difficulties you may experience
If you encounter any problems inserting the irrigation cone, do not apply due pressure. Try to relax and move the cone around in the stoma opening. Some people say they experience discomfort or pain when inserting the water. If you do, try these steps:
If the water doesn’t flow in, increase the height of the water container. You may also try gently altering the position or direction of the funnel inside your stoma until you feel the water start to flow. If the water still doesn’t flow, try changing your position or moving around. Some patients have also reported that having a hot drink may be helpful.
If your stoma works between irrigations, please consult with your stoma care nurse. They may advise you to adjust the water volume you’re using or reduce the time in-between each irrigation.
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