FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How is an ostomy irrigated?
The most common ostomy irrigation procedure is the one done for colostomies. It is initially performed in a hospital setting, where the patient can learn to perform it at home, either daily or every other day, depending on his or her personal needs. The supplies you will always need are an ostomy irrigation bag with irrigation tubing, a stoma cone, and an irrigation sleeve. An ostomy belt is likely to be needed as well and you should not forget to have a new stoma pouch or cap handy. Connect the stoma cone to the bag via tubing and fill the irrigation bag with the amount of lukewarm water recommended by your doctor. Hang the bag above shoulder height when seated on the toilet, discard your existing colostomy bag or stoma cap, attach the irrigation sleeve (with or without a belt), and place its end in the toilet. Open the top of the irrigator sleeve and insert the stoma cone gently. Allow the water to flow while holding the cone in place, adjusting the flow as needed and making sure there is no leakage. Remove the cone and close the top of the sleeve. It will take up to 45 minutes for the bowel to empty, after which you can remove the irrigation sleeve.
Why is an ostomy irrigated?
Colostomy irrigation is recommended for people with permanent colostomies where the stoma produces a normal stool. The main advantages of regular irrigation include avoiding constipation, allowing you to enjoy a less restrictive diet, and wearing a small stoma pouch (or even a cap) instead of a large pouch which can lead to a confidence boost in social settings. Urostomy irrigation of catheters is necessary to prevent mucus accumulation along the lining of the pouch and to prevent mucus from clogging the tubes. Urostomy pouch irrigation should also be performed on a daily basis to prevent infection.
What is a stoma cone?
A stoma cone is a flexible cone-shaped piece that is inserted into the stoma, while attached with irrigation tubing to an ostomy irrigation bag. It is tough on the inside to prevent premature collapse, but soft on the outside to be gentle with your skin. You can buy it separately or as part of an ostomy irrigation kit.
How often should an ostomy be irrigated?
Most medical professionals recommend completing colostomy irrigation on a daily or every other day basis and emphasize the importance of maintaining a consistent schedule. Regular colostomy drainage helps regulate the bowel, training the colon to empty only at the time scheduled. It usually takes about 6-8 weeks to achieve full bowel training but you can then benefit from a regular routine and won't need to worry about carrying colostomy bags or ostomy irrigation supplies around. Urostomy irrigation of the pouch is also recommended on a daily basis, but if you need to irrigate catheters, the frequency is much higher, 4-6 times a day.
Are colostomies, urostomies, and ileostomies irrigated the same way?
Ostomy irrigation procedures are significantly different for urostomy, colostomy, and ileostomy. Colostomies involve daily irrigation of the colon, whereas urostomies involve catheters, generally every 4-6 hours, even throughout the night. Ileostomies should never be irrigated unless the doctor deems it absolutely necessary such as when there is a blockage and the patient doesn't respond to other treatments. In this case, abdomen X-rays would be required before and after the ostomy irrigation is performed.
Where can I buy ostomy irrigation supplies?
AllegroMedical.com carries a wide range of ostomy irrigation supplies like irrigation tubing and ostomy irrigation catheters, along with various ostomy supplies, ostomy accessories, as well as ostomy and colostomy bags. You can get an ostomy irrigation kit or a box of fecal collectors in four interest-free payments with Afterpay and you can also subscribe to periodic deliveries, thus benefitting from a 5% discount with the best price guarantee.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER
The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, charts, and any other material on this site, is intended for informational purposes only and does not take the place of medical guidance provided by your physician. No information on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult a qualified medical professional about your condition or circumstances before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.