How full is too full?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 422
   Posted 8/2/2011 9:16 AM (GMT -6)   
Hope all is going as best as it can w/everyone.

w/regards to a "full" full is too full? the reason I'm asking is because I've had some times at work now where I've "forgotten" about the bag, and get home and!!! This thing is really full.....luckily, have had no problem w/emptying...

As always, you thoughts and stories are welcome.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 776
   Posted 8/2/2011 10:28 AM (GMT -6)   
I don't know.. but I've often wondered the same. I do remember having a CT scan with contrast once and the bag filled up like a balloon.. barely got the flap open at the bottom before it exploded all over the bathroom floor! yuk. I guess that is TOO full :-)
Sarah - 39 year old mum of 2 boys, runner/triathlete, health and fitness writer from UK
June 2010 - Peritonitis caused by perforated diverticulitis. Emergency surgery.
August 2010 - Sigmoid colectomy and temp loop ileostomy
October 2010 - Ileostomy reversal - but didn't go well and after 10 months diagnosed colonic dysmotility due to surgery/nerve damage
July 2011 - Permanent end Ileostomy

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 1054
   Posted 8/2/2011 1:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, they say you're supposed to empty at 1/3 full, but I often let it go to 1/2 if I'm lazy or sleeping or whatever. I think that is mostly because the weight of the pouch can start to pull your wafer off, loosening your seal. Otherwise I don't think there's really a reason why you should empty at 1/3 full. I'm sure it's no big deal if you let it go longer every once in a while. If you let it get full often, you may just need to change your wafer more often because your seal may loosen. But really no big deal :)
Stephanie, 29 years old

March 2000-Diagnosed Crohn's Colitis
(Tried every drug imaginable, but lived 10 years with daily diarrhea)
March 18, 2010-Total Proctocolectomy and Permanent Ileostomy! :)
(Now med free, 4 subsequent procedures to correct blockages at stoma site)

Stoma named Zoe...She's my best bud!! :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 1059
   Posted 8/2/2011 1:35 PM (GMT -6)   
I empty more than I need to as don't like it to be too full as I can feel the weight and see it bulgeing under my clothes. Depends what I'm doing as to how often.
Crohn's dx 1989, loop ileo 1992, end ileo 1992. Arthritis developed 1990 Stoma abcess 1995. Azathioprine started 1995. Panprocolorectomy 1999. Stillbirth 2000, antiphospholipid syndrome dx 2000. Flare up 2004, stoma abcess and strictoplasty 2004. Low blood pressure dx with impaired kidney function 2006, fludrocortisone pres. flare up 2010, steroids, Humira, codeine.

Another UC wife
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 2111
   Posted 8/3/2011 7:20 AM (GMT -6)   
Hubby empties each time he needs to pee which is fairly often with all the water/fluid intake. If he has a really good night's sleep when he wakes up sometimes it looks like a blimp under his He tends to go to bed on the later side and the most is maybe 5 hrs of sleep before he wakes up and that seems to be ok on emptying. He'll then go back to bed and sleep a few more hours. (Being retired he doesn't have to be up and out of the house early each day.)
Wife of 64 yr old male suffered with UC & in May 06 had a severe flare & hospitalized 6 days...various prednisone treatments leading to steroid dependence and osteopenia, 12 asacol, 200 mg Imuran, failed remicade infusions Jan-May 2010 Dependence on pain meds. Made decision 6/10 to have surgery which was on 12/17/10 (total proctocolectomy & ileostomy - unable to have the j-pouch) & now pain free

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 720
   Posted 8/3/2011 7:48 AM (GMT -6)   
I usually empty mine when it is 1/3 full, as that is the point when it becomes more visible under my clothes. Generally it takes me 4-5 hours for it to get this full, though there can be variations in that. If I need to push it a little longer, I have let my pouch get to just under half full with no problems, but it does get heavy.

I can go all night without emptying now. I couldn't at first, but my output slowed down and thickened up some after 5 months. I usually go to bet around 10:30 or 11 p.m. and can make it until 7 a.m. when I wake up. I definitely have a huge gas-filled blimp that is about half full when I wake up, but so far so good with no nighttime leaks yet. I am not a belly sleeper fortunately. The only time I can't make it all night is when I am out hiking all day. Doing strenuous things during the day seems to slow things down a lot, but then it all comes out later in the evening and night and I have to empty several times in a short time period.
-39 years old
-Officially diagnosed with UC in 2006, though had symptoms since 1999.
-Had mild/moderate symptoms continuously until severe flare in autumn 2010 which required 2-week hospital stay
-Took Asacol, Rowasa, Canasa and Prednisone to manage flares but meds stopped working
-Tried 1 dose of Remicade but had excruciating joint pain and discontinued
-Had permanent ileostomy surgery 11/8/2010

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 402
   Posted 8/3/2011 11:16 AM (GMT -6)   
I tend to empty mine when it gets to about 1/3 full as like many others on here it tends to show under my clothes at that point. Being someone with a constantly high output it doesn't take long to fill up more than I would like. Overnight I leave it a lot longer to spare myself getting up all the time, however by the morning it is often huge because of all the air that has come out with the stool. When I don't get chance or simply can't be bothered I do leave it to maybe 1/2 full but if it is very liquidy it tends to begin to seep under the wafer onto my skin, or the heaviness of the stool and the air begins to pull the wafer off my skin and I often end up with a!! 
24 y/o female from UK dx with UC (Proctitis) Jan 08. Never fully been in remission, resistant to nearly all meds tried. Also dx with IBS. Proctocolectomy+pouch surgery with temp loop ileostomy 9th April 11.
Currently taking daily:Tramadol, 20mg MSR (slow-release Morphine), 40mg Loperamide, Cyclizine, 60mg Seroxat (anti-anxiety), Multivitamins+Iron

Bay Area Guy
Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 301
   Posted 8/3/2011 5:53 PM (GMT -6)   

I had exactly the same experience. I was having a series of X-Rays done to determine if I had a blockage. I had an NG tube down my nose (always a wonderful experience) and they were pumping the barium through that (at least I didn't have to drink it). Well, they kept pumping and pumping when, all of a sudden, pop went the bag.....all over everything.....and it just kept on coming. The kicker was that the folks in Radiology didn't know anything about the ostomy bag, so they had to call for a nurse from my hospital floor to come down. They sent down a nurse's aide and the poor woman had no idea either. It turned out the my wife had to reattach a new bag. On the way back up, one of the chief nurses for the entire hospital saw my predicament and took personal charge of cleaning me up and reaming out the rest of the staff.

The only funny part of the whole episode was that the Radiology folks ended up calling my surgeon, advising her of what had happened and asking her if she wanted them to redo the whole test. Her comment was priceless. It went something like, "Uh, since the bag exploded, that's a pretty good indication that there's no blockage any longer, isn't it?". When I heard that, I cracked up. She met me back at the room, took out the NG tube and gave me a popsicle. I could have kissed her for that.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 3332
   Posted 8/3/2011 7:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Great story Bay Area Guy...... amazing how a few good people can make it so much less horrible.... always good to have a funny surgeon (and a popsicle, although I always go for the lemon ice in the hospital).
48 years old, female.
2004 dx indeterminate colitis. Back and forth between Crohn's and UC dx. Many drugs, minimal success.
2010-11 Crazy skin and eye complications, high fevers, bad flaring. Out of good drug options, tired of scary drugs.
Feb 2011 -- proctocolectomy with permanent ileolostomy; abscess, blood clot. Still healing, still glad for the surgery
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