Ileostomy bag

Get the latest information in ileostomy bag, ileostomy pouch, continent ileostomy, ileostomy care, ileostomy diet and all other related to this type of surgery.
Ileostomy bag

        Ileostomy is not a disease. To be more precise, ileostomy is a surgical procedure. A very complicated, delicate and useful procedure that can save the life of the patient. However, it can also make it much more difficult if the aftercare is not done properly. The most complicated part of life after ileostomy is taking care of your ileostomy bag. Now, you might wonder where a bag would fit in a surgical procedure. Well, the answer to that comes from the ileostomy definition: a medical process in which the small intestine is separated from the large intestine. The part of the small intestine that is left in connection to the patients' digestive system is attached to the abdominal wall. The hole created in the abdominal wall is called a stoma and the pouch that is placed on top of that hole is the ileostomy bag.

       The scope of using the ileostomy bag is a rather obvious one: since the digestive process cannot complete its natural journey, the stoma takes the place of the anus. The ileostomy bag becomes a space in which the wastes are deposited after the nutrients have been absorbed by the small intestine. It is designed in such a way that it sticks closely to the skin of your abdomen. Fortunately, in recent years, these ileostomy bags have been made from a waterproof material, so the patient can wear them while showering or bathing. Taking them off for such moments would mean that the stoma remains unprotected and any sort of debris can enter the digestive tract and cause problems.

       An ileostomy bag presents with several special parts, including a filter. This filter has a very particular role: it releases air, so that your bag does not inflate (phenomenon also known as "ballooning"). In more expensive models, this filter has a secondary function: it incorporates a deodorant, used to mask the smells of the wastes leaving the patients' body. This smell is one of the most important problems that ileostomy patients are faced with and it is the main reason why these people refuse to rejoin a community after their surgery. If the patient uses such an advanced filter, then he or she can enjoy life to its fullest, without concerning themselves constantly with the ileostomy bag.

       Now, just like any other type of medical appliance, the ileostomy bag must be checked on a regular basis. The two main operations that can be performed where an ileostomy bag is concerned are emptying and changing the bag completely. Your attending physician or the ileostomy nurse will teach you all about this process, but here are a few basic rules: establish a routine and never waver from it. Why is the routine so important? Well, it offers a sort of pattern that gives safety and comfort to the patient. They tend to be restless and annoyed for the first few months from the surgery, hyper aware of their ileostomy pouch. Therefore, a routine can give them some peace of mind, since it presents with no surprises.

Ileostomy pictures

Ileostomy pictures Ileostomy reversal continent ileostomy Ileostomy care

       Another thing that any stoma patient must keep in mind is that your stoma does not have the same qualities as the rectum and the anus. That means that you cannot control the moments when the wastes are emptied in the pouch. Until you get used to the ileostomy bag, you have to pay attention to the moments when the stoma is most active, like after a meal. Do not change the pouch then, because you might spill some of the wastes from your body. Wait until the digestion is finished (at least four hours) and then remove it according to the instruction that were offered to you by your stoma nurse. Of course, the best time to change the bag is first thing in the morning, when your digestion is practically non - existent.

       Also, it is highly recommended that you empty the bag before you remove it. Once the ileostomy pouch has been emptied, the bag itself can be carefully detached, sealed inside a disposal sack and placed in the trashcan. It is imperative that you do not flush the bag down the toilet because it can cause a serious blockage. The bag needs to be emptied several times a day, but you have to replace it as often as the nurse tells you too. It is rare for the ileostomy bag to be replaced more than once a day.

       Here is a thing that most people tend to neglect and that can cause serious issues: the skin surrounding your stoma must be looked after as well as the bag. There are some tips and tricks about taking care of said skin, gathered from the experience of other patients:

  • The plate that secures your bag to your stoma must fit perfectly. If it is too large, then some liquid could spill and irritate your skin. If it is too small, it can cause damage to your stoma.
  • Excessive removal or harsh skin cleansers can cause irritation as well.
  • If you notice bleeding, you must head out to the nearest hospital at once. If the bleeding happens when you clean the bag, then it is normal, as long as the blood is in small quantities. Other than that, it should alarm you.

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Continent ileostomy

       So, what makes continent ileostomy a perfect match for ulcerative colitis? On a first look, nothing much. But there is a reason behind this rather extreme form of treatment. While it is true that in the case of ulcerative colitis, the entire intestine becomes swollen and painful, not all of it gets damaged beyond repair. Basically, when your bowels increase in size, they manage to get cut off from the blood supply. If they remain without blood for long enough, they will die. As it is natural, the large intestine is the most vulnerable one, simply due to its size. Therefore, the colon often becomes the first victim of ulcerative colitis. To stop the sickness from spreading to the entire intestine, surgeons will perform continent ileostomy.

        ...read more about Continent ileostomy: Continent ileostomy

Ileostomy pouch

       However, these rules do not stray all that much from the norm, so you might find them helpful:

  • Change your pouch every five to eight days: it is usually recommended to change the ileostomy pouch once a week. Why chance it before that week ends? Well, for several reasons which include the following: excessive sweating, itching of the skin surrounding the pouch and leakage.
  • Change your pouch at a time of the day when your digestion has been completed or has not started yet: the reason behind this is pretty obvious. If you have no wastes to dispose of, the changing will go so much smoother and faster.
  • You must call a physician or your ileostomy nurse if the pouch is bloody on a regular basis: it is normal for the pouch removal to draw some blood each time you do it, but not much. If the pouch has blood on the interior, then things are not how they are supposed to be. You should call a physician immediately.

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Ileostomy complications

       One of the more specific ileostomy complications out there is pouchitis. The term describes the complication exactly: it is the inflammation of some inner pouch layers. See, there are two pouches created by the surgeon: one on the inside, made from intestinal tissue and one on the outside, which is the one that everyone sees, the one made from waterproof material. Now, when the inside pouch is inflamed, pouchitis appears. Its symptoms are pretty standard for any sort of intestinal problem: bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, stomach cramps, dehydration and fever. Usually, the fever comes last, but if you made it until there and you have not panicked yet, now would be a good time to go see your attending physician. Generally, the fever will go as up as 40°C, making it very hard for your body to function properly anymore. Since it can be considered a sort of bacterial infection, pouchitis is easily treated by a two - week course of antibiotics. The occurrence rate for pouchitis is rather high, but if you take good care of yourself and your pouch, you should be fine.

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Ileostomy supplies

       Another important part of the ileostomy supplies is the odorizing section. Most pouches do not have an odorizing layer, since that would make them very expensive. However, this does not mean that you cannot apply some exterior layers to the pouch to keep it from spreading the smell that comes from the wastes that are stored inside it. The manufacturer of the odorizing layers usually offers precise instructions as to how to apply them and when to change them.

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       The ileostomy supplies even include some skin creams. That might sound a bit strange, but it is actually quite natural. The skin surrounding your stoma is highly sensitive to any sort of leakage or bloating and it tends to irritate very easily. You need to keep it properly hydrated and clean at all times, since any skin problems could be a sign that there is something wrong with your stoma.