• Crazy/Frequent Bowel movements after ileostomy reversal

    Asked by jtu248 on Monday, October 15, 2012

    Crazy/Frequent Bowel movements after ileostomy reversal

    I just recently had a temporary ileostomy reversal and have 10-20 bowel movements in a day and was wondering how did people control the same.I am taking metamucil twice a day and imodium as needed but does not seem to help much.

    My surgery was done 3 weeks back and was diagnosed with stage 2 rectal cancer and had chemo/radiation before surgery.

    Would appreciate your help


    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • CarolLHRN's Avatar

      Hi. Do you have a J-pouch (constructed a pouch with the colon that was left)? I had rectal cancer and had an ileostomy with the reversal in June. I now have a j-pouch to take the place of my rectum. The first couple of weeks my stool was mostly liquid and my bottom was very sore.

      I think it was about a good 2 months (I'm 4 months out now) until I consistently had formed stools. At first I was on a low residue diet (the less in, the less out) but eventually given permission to add raw fruits and veggies. I was given the warning that with bulk would mean more stool.

      I found by eating a high fiber diet, my stools are more normal but have higher volume. I can easily control a more formed stool. I probably go 2-3 times a day but never with urgency or leaking.

      I try to only use imodium when I really have to (going every 15-20 minutes more than 5 times). For the most part I am pretty regular now but I do have bouts here and there.

      My surgeon said it will take 2 years until you discover what is "normal". You just need to be patient and give your body a chance to get used to its new plumbing. I still get frustrated at times but overall, I am happy with the outcome.

      I would talk to your surgeon if it continues to be a problem.

      about 4 years ago
    • LauraJo's Avatar

      I am 13 months out from my reversal, and really just getting back to what I would consider "normal". I have a j-pouch. I generally go twice a day now, and am weaning myself off of metamucil, and so far, so good. The first few months after reversal are tricky, and you have to expect the occasional surprise! (or as my surgeon says, gambling & losing) . You are still in the early stages, and sounds like you are having the typical experience. A couple of things, if you haven't done these already - invest in Ultra Charmin. It seems to cause the least wear and tear on your skin. Try using a squirt bottle to clean yourself, then you can just blot with the tissue. A lot of folks swear by an ointment called Calmoseptine - it didn't do anything for me, but it seems to work for a lot of folks. If not that, Desitine, Dr. Boudreaxs Butt Paste, or plain old Vaseline with cocoa butter - seems to speed the healing. These things will help with the butt burn. As far as diet, you want to add fiber in to your diet gradually, but that will help. Oatmeal/oatmeal bars seem to be not too hard on the system, for a starter. Above all, be patient, and allow your body time to heal. It WILL get better.

      about 4 years ago
    • LauraJo's Avatar

      And drink Gatorade or some sports drink. My doctor swears by it - you are losing electrolytes running to the bathroom constantly.

      about 4 years ago
    • booboo's Avatar

      I did not have a j-pouch. After my ileostomy takedown surgery I had exactly what you describe. It took me about 6 months before it slowed down at all. I tried increasing my fiber intake and that helped a little, but really it just took a long time. Hang in there, eventually it will return to something like normal, though it will probably never be the same as it was before treatment.

      over 3 years ago
    • papabill's Avatar

      Hi Jack, Been there, done that. Rectal carcinoma. Pre-surgical chemo/radiation. Colo-rectal surgery. Ileostomy.. Reversal. Then !2 sessions of follow-up chemo (FolFox). I was were you are now. It took me a l-o-n-g time to see any real progress from the OMG many times a day bathroom visits, including accidents as caught short before any slow but positive changes in bowel pattern took place. Even wore Depend briefs, especially at night. Gradually after many months movements became more solid, though still frequent but to finally a point were felt secure abandoning Depend briefs (except at night) and even venturing out -- though always pre-planned in mind where closest bathrooms would be; local non-mall department stores, McDonalds, etc. As with others and as recommended by my surgeon, took and still take Metamucil and a 1/2 Imodium whenever bowels became loose or I know will be out and about for several hours.

      Now still take the Metamucil and Imodium (as needed) and latest pattern is that about 75% of time I have frequent bowel callings about once a day -- time can vary. Even some days nothing. Each incident usually means several visits in anywhere from three to five times within 30- 45 minutes – most times have feeling of need and can now avoid the OMG cannot hold back incidents, then all quiet with sometimes several other controlled movements throughout day. But for the most part no more "accidents" or need for Depend and no night time incidents that are not contollable and infrequent now. Getting a full night of uninterupted sleep was a milestone. As others have noted, it takes time as now only after one year I have seen this latest progression toward new "normalcy." Again, my surgeon and GI stated will take about two years from end of all treatment/chemo before remaining colon "learns" to now serve as the complete rectum. No j-tube either. I am hoping even better bowel days ahead. Also advise keep up with the male Kegel sphincter exercises and be patient and watch for gradual, but good changes. Watch diet at this stage, avoid carbonated drinks, foods that produce gas, etc. All very important. If can provide any other input, please do not hesitate. Invest in toilet paper and keep the faith.

      over 3 years ago
    • LauraJo's Avatar

      I am 18 months out from being re-connected at this point, and am probably about as good as I am going to get, and that is SO much better than at first. I no longer take metamucil but recently added a probiotic daily, and think that I have finally turned a corner. I generally go right after I get up in the morning, and once in the evening, and the stool is usually formed. I wear a mini-pad daily (guys, you might give those a try) , and most days don't need it, but mentally feel more comfortable. I don't remember the last time I took immodium. I am still trying to find out what things trigger the occasional bad bouts....so far, fatty foods seem to be a trigger, oddly enough spicy food is NOT a bother, and possibly alcohol - the jury is still out on that one. But, at all times, it beats a bag, or being dead. :) Most days I forget that I am rebuilt. I hope that this point that things are starting to settle down for you.

      over 3 years ago

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