An ileostomy is a surgical procedure where an opening is made in the abdominal wall. The lower half of the small intestine, the ileum, is brought through the opening to form a stoma. A stoma is the lining of the end of your small intestine. The colon and rectum are removed. Stool drains from the ileum to the outside of the body through the stoma and is collected in a pouch worn outside the body. Sometimes the stoma becomes blocked by food. Ileostomy patients need to know how to recognise and treat a stoma blockage.
Symptoms of a stoma blockage include abdominal cramping and foul-smelling, clear liquid stools. If you are passing stool through your stoma and are not nauseated or vomiting, stick to a clear liquid diet. Do not eat solid foods. Patient educators at Northern Inyo Hospital in Bishop, California suggest taking a warm bath or using a heating pad to ease your cramps. Kneel on your hands and knees and pull your knee to your chest to move the blockage forward. Abdominal massage may also help clear the blockage. Do not take stool softeners or laxatives because these can cause dehydration.
Call your doctor if you are vomiting or have had no stool output from your stoma for over six hours. Your doctor may want you to go to the emergency room. Go to the emergency room if you have abdominal distension, nausea and vomiting or swelling around your stoma. Surgery is rarely needed to relieve a stoma blockage.
Drink eight to 12 eight-ounce glasses of fluids every day. Chew your food slowly and thoroughly. Eat small amounts of high-fibre foods.