Ileostomy Post Op trouble - any thoughts?

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 7/13/2009 9:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello friends,
My name is Mary. My father Tom had ileostomy surgery 2 weeks ago and is having a difficult recovery. He was pleased to elect surgery and knows his life will improve after years of chronic ulcerative colitis. However, lack of progress since surgery has him discouraged. He needed an NG tube due to bloating, non-stop hiccups and lack of drainage, then once they let him try to drink and eat he experienced 3 days of bloating and vomiting. He’s back on NPO and seems to be getting excellent care so we assume he will get past this. It's hard not being able to help him more. Thank you in advance for thoughts and encouraging words.
Smiles to you all.

vette guy
Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 650
   Posted 7/13/2009 9:47 PM (GMT -6)   
Mary-I received a colostomy in '89, which was later turned into an ileostomy in '04.  I recovered almost immediatley in '89, yet not nearly as well in '04.  I had problems similar to your dad's in '04.  Though, I'm currently only 49, I would bet the 15 year difference in my 2 surgeries was the major factor. Just make sure his doctor is aware of his progress, or lack there of.  I'm sure he'll be fine. Heck it's only been 2 weeks!  

Equestrian Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3115
   Posted 7/14/2009 5:48 AM (GMT -6)   
That can happen when our intestines do not wake up after surgery...I did experience it for a few days post op and know how uncomfortable it was, please have your dad keep his spirits up...they do start working!!!

I am sure flchurchlady will chime in, I know she's had problems with Ileus, and can give some suggestions.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5698
   Posted 7/14/2009 8:48 AM (GMT -6)   
This is temporary and can be a common problem right after surgery. Have your dad get out of bed and walk as much as possible. The activity will help to wake the intestines up and speed his recovery.

dx proctitis in 1987
dx UC in 1991, was stable until 1998

1998 started prednisone, asacol, pentasa, nortriptylene, ativan, 6MP, rowasa enemas and suppositories, hydrocortisone enemas, tried the SCD diet, being a vegetarian, omega 3s, flax, pranic healing, yoga, acupuncture, probiotics

2000 lost all my B-12 stores and became anemic

2001 opted for j-pouch surgery- now living life med-free

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 7/14/2009 9:12 AM (GMT -6)   
I want to echo the age factor. I bounced back from surgery fairly quickly. For ages 20 - 35 it can take as little as 3 weeks to return to normal. Ages 35-55 can take 6 weeks or more. My bowel movement happend on day 2.5 of of surgery.
Don't get me wrong my surgery was not fun and I wanted to lay in bed forever but during those first 10 days I had to really make myself get up and move around to feel better.
The amount of air that is pumped in the patient's stomach is scary and all that anaesthesia can really wipe you out for days. The surgeons have made incisions and moved around internal organs so your father will really feel horrible for awhile.
The one thing that everyone suggests to get rid of that yucky feeling is walking.
Also coughing out the anaesthesia and thinking positive.
You and the people that care about him can really help motivate him to get out of bed and recover faster.
Give it another 3 weeks or so and things will get better for him.
The whole recovery process is not linear. Its more like an S curve with ups and downs. 2 steps forward and one step back but ultimately each day is progress.
31 years old + married with children.
Ulcerative Colitis cause: In early 2003 I took Accutane for 4 months, permanent side effect resulted in 1 year of abdominal cramping and bloody stools.
May 2004: Diagnosed with Left sided UC (should have never taken the dangerous drug known as Accutane).
May 2004- May 2009: Prednisone, Asacol and others meds that did not work well-Remicade was great for 16 months then stopped working.
May 8th-June 24 2009: Pancolitis- active chronic 2 month flare up.
June 24th 2009: elective colectomy/ileostomy at Barnes/Washington University.
August 2009: planned rectum removal and j-pouch construction.
October-November 2009: planned Reversal.
Summary: 5 years of suffering from Ulcerative Colitis, Anxiety and depression.

Post Edited (mikeman) : 7/14/2009 8:17:21 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2765
   Posted 7/14/2009 5:55 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm so sorry your dad is having trouble. I went through the same thing after my ileostomy surgery. It took 10 days for it to start working, so I had an NG tube in and was vomiting a lot. Tell him to hang in there, because once it starts working, he is going to feel soooo much better! And, it will start working soon. Sometimes surgeons don't tell you that it can take up to 2 weeks for the stoma to work and how miserable you will feel until it does.

As soon as he gets output from the ileostomy, they will clamp off the NG tube and take it out after 4-8 hours without vomiting. Then, they will allow him to have liquids (broth), then full liquids (cream soups), and then a regular diet. If he tolerates food without throwing up and his ileostomy keeps working, then he can go home. It all happens very quickly once the ostomy starts working.

One thing that really helps is for him to walk the halls as much as possible. Walking helps wake up the bowels, so they'll start working faster. I hope he gets relief soon!
Dx'd Crohn's in '99 at 28. Proctocolectomy and ileostomy in '06.
Disease-free, medicine-free, and very thankful to be healthy again.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1998
   Posted 7/14/2009 8:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Walk, sit up in a chair, walk some more, and then walk again. W-A-L-K. It's miserable to do at the time, but is so beneficial in the end.
Diagnosed with CD in 1979, many resections and meds
Perm Ileostomy July 1984 at Cleveland Clinic
Disease free since surgery 
   Happy SILVER Anniversary to me!

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 7/20/2009 10:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks all - Dad is coming home tomorrow. 3 1/2 weeks, but finally on the mend! Will be sure he connects on this forum.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 4147
   Posted 7/21/2009 10:08 PM (GMT -6)   
To Marybw,

I had post-op ileus for a month after my ileostomy. When the NG wasn't hooked up (for trial clamping) I had to walk, walk, walk. Glad he's doing better. esoR

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2765
   Posted 7/23/2009 9:25 AM (GMT -6)   
So glad to hear he's doing well enough to come home! :-)
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