Colostomy Irrigation Why are you not irrigating?


It is reported by ostomates that colostomy irrigation improves quality of life by giving back more control of bowel habits and so more freedom to live a normal life. At the KFSH&RC we offer colostomy irrigation to all ostomates who have a permanent end sigmoid colostomy (colostomy in the left lower abdomen). Although information on irrigation is given at the time of surgery and at follow-up visits in the clinic we have very few ostomates who try irrigation. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the possible bene ts and to encourage you to contact our Stoma Therapists if you would like more information.

Colostomy irrigation involves slowly running water from a plastic bag into your colon via a soft plastic cone shaped tube. A pouch is applied for a short time to collect the stool and water from your stoma, this pouch is then removed and a small cap with a lter is placed over your stoma. Irrigation is performed either daily or every other day depending on your usual bowel habits. You can irrigate in the privacy of your own bathroom at home, with the whole procedure taking around 1-2 hours. Not everyone is suitable for irrigation and you will need to discuss this with your Stoma Therapist.

Who can irrigate?

Only ostomates with a permanent end sigmoid colostomy (colostomy on the lower left abdomen) are suitable. There are also other considerations.

• You should not have a prolapse or a hernia (unless very small)

• You should not have other bowel disease (Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis)

• You should be able to care for your own stoma
If you have additional medical problems such as renal failure or cardiac failure irrigation would also need to be discussed with your doctor.

What are the bene ts?

• You would not have to wear a pouch, just a small cap • You would not pass as much gas throughout the day • It may solve pouching problems and leakage,

so preventing sore skin
Ostomates are capable of achieving their life goals and dreams; irrigation may make it easier. Ostomates are known to have run the London marathon, climbed mountains and travelled across the world.
What’s stopping you achieving your goals? Please do not hesitate to contact your Stoma Therapist for more information.

Denise Hibbert (RN, BSc, MSc, STN) Stoma Therapist
Clinical Specialist Director, Colorectal Program KFSH&RC- Riyadh