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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 1/5/2009 2:20 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi all, I hope you don't mind me posting here just thought it would be a good place to get some info..

I met up with a girl i met on the internet yesterday, everything went fine and we were arranging to meet this weekend. She told me tonight that she had a major op 5 years ago and had to have a large part of her bowel removed and now has a colostomy bag.. This was a big shock to me as shes only 27.. I realize this must have been very hard for her to tell me and i just wanted to get some information so i don't have to ask her awkward questions..

I guess i want to know how they work?
do they always have to be attached?
How would it affect her day to day life?
what else do i need to bare in mind?

Thanks for any info and your time..

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 1/5/2009 2:36 AM (GMT -6)   
Oh just if its any help, i found the term she used when talking about what she had "Ulcerative Colitis "

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1251
   Posted 1/5/2009 5:33 AM (GMT -6)   
If she had UC, she will have an ileostomy (all of large intestine removed - they don't leave any in the case of UC) rather than a colostomy (part of large intestine removed). The surgeon will have bought a tiny part of her small intestine aka ileum to the surface of her abdomen and anywhere up to about 1 inch of her intestine will poke out (called a stoma) - how many people can actually prove they have guts? :) Her bag fits over the stoma to catch all the waste products (she can't control when it goes since there are no sphincter muscles). Therefore, she must wear the bag permanently.

People can have ostomies from birth (I was 10 years old), so 27 isn't really that young to have one. It's just that, for some reason, we tend to think of only older people as having such surgery.

She will need to empty it approx 4 - 6 times a day (usually no more than she pees really) and she will do this simply by draining the bag into the loo. It takes a couple of minutes and all done. Other than that, it shouldn't affect her life at all.

Just bear in mind that just like some people wear glasses to correct an eyesight problem, so she wears a bag to correct a bowel problem. You won't be able to tell she's wearing it (unless she undresses) and she can go swimming, shopping, running, rock climbing etc, just like 'bowel intact' people can.

She will need to drink more fluids than 'bowel intact' people since the large intestine primarily absorbs salts and fluids so without it we need more to replace what is lost.

You've probably already met quite a few people who have a colostomy/ileostomy but you just haven't known it :)

Hope this helps :)
I have had an ileostomy for 32 years now due to UC.
Moderator of the Ostomy Forum
I'm not a complete idiot - some parts of me are missing!

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