Irrigation for colostomies entails the placement of medium to high quantities of water daily to flush the colon of feces. It’s an injection into the stoma that results in the colon being cleared of feces. Irrigation is a method used by some people with colostomies to control the functioning of their stoma. This enables for more consistent bowel motions and the use of small bags among irrigations, such as stoma caps. Irrigation is not appropriate for anyone with a stoma; various considerations must be examined before beginning this procedure.

Irrigation can be utilized by people who have a colostomy, especially those that have a descending or sigmoid colostomy, as previously stated. Irrigation is not an option for someone who has a transverse colostomy, an ileostomy, or a urinary stoma (ileal conduit, urostomy). If you are uncertain about the category of stoma you have, consult with your medical doctor or an Enterostomal Therapy Nurse (ET) to talk and examine your options. People with a continent diversion, like a Koch bag, would not utilize the irrigation technique discussed in the article to control the functioning of their diversion; instead, they would use a different technique.

While deciding if irrigations are right for you, there are a few more things to keep in mind. Irrigation is not a solution for you if you’ve had or will have chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy might change the frequency and stability of your stoma activity momentarily or persistently, or make irrigation difficult. Irrigations are typically not suggested to control bowel movements if you have a parastomal hernia, regardless if you can decrease your hernia. Irrigation with a hernia might cause intestinal blockages and other problems. Irrigations are not a solution if your stoma prolapses (becomes abnormally large). Effective irrigations are particularly difficult to do if you have irregular bowel functionality or consistency (for example, diarrhea). Finally, if your stoma is only transitory, irrigations are ineffective as a management method.

The most important factor in determining if colostomy irrigations are right for you is your willingness and persistence. It takes around 45-60 minutes to complete the daily procedure of injecting fluid and letting the colon drain. It takes weeks for your intestines to become used to the irrigations. As previously said, the bowel is accustomed to the routine and will take a little time to adjust to the new routine of frequent enemas. It is suggested that you continue to use your usual pouching method throughout this period of adaption, since you may still release tiny quantities of stool during the day/night regardless of the irrigation. Your bowel movement will become more consistent with time, allowing you to use small stoma caps.

Irrigation does necessitate the use of specialist tools. Irrigation systems are often offered by ostomy product makers. A large capacity irrigation bag stores the liquid to be injected; a length of tubing with a clamp and a cone connected to the end of the tubing is generally included in these sets. The cones are placed gently into the stoma and used to avoid liquid backflow while irrigation. Irrigation sleeves are lengthier than ordinary bags and are worn over the stoma (either directly on the skin or connected to your usual flange) to allow for convenient, “splash-free” discharge into a toilet. To enable for gravitation flow of fluid into the stoma, a hook high just above the toilet, where an irrigation pouch can be hung, is beneficial. Most people will irrigate their stoma with 500 to 1000 milliliters of lukewarm tap water each day. Individual requirements will differ in terms of quantity.

Although irrigations can enhance the aesthetics of pouching equipment and offer consistency in stoma functioning for certain people, there has been little research on the long-term use of irrigations. Individuals who are using irrigation for a long time (many years) may notice that the amount of liquid necessary to perform effective irrigation increases over time. Last but not least, make sure you have access to safe drinking water. If you utilize well water or are concerned about the safety of your water supply, bottled water should be used for irrigation. Similarly, bottled water maybe your best alternative if you are traveling and would like to continue regular irrigations but are unsure about the cleanliness of the local water supply. Due to the illness or hazardous sources of food, you may still get diarrhea sometimes. As a consequence, you might need to have a small stock of your usual pouching method on hand to make the process easy.


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