Questions for Upcoming Ileostomy Reversal

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 3/24/2006 4:18 PM (GMT -6)   
eyes   Hello All,
I've had my transverse colon removed on October 2004 (17 months ago) and had a loop ileostomy.  I am scheduled for a reversal in May and have several questions.  I would appreciate any answers or advice anyone can give me.  Thank you all in advance. 
1.  I am a full-time college student and was wondering if two months is a good recovery time for returning to school in August?
2.  What type of preparations should I be doing?  I heard there were some squeezing exercises I can do to prepare for regular bowel movement again.
3.  Also, how long is the hospital stay, prior to operation and after operation?  I am a diabetic and was told I will heal slowly.  When I first got the bag, I left the hospital with wounds that a home care nurse had to change daily for several months.
4.  When I wake up from the reversal surgery, will I be in pain or going to the restroom a lot?  I heard stories about pain, diarria, using a pan in bed, etc... Please give me some pointers and advice on what to do or take with me to hospital.
Again, thank you all in advance.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 72
   Posted 3/24/2006 5:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Leon

I will do my best to help with your questions, although please remember I am only telling you about my experience, yours may be slightly different.
1. Its 6 weeks since my reversal op and I feel perfectly fine. I even went to join a pole dancing class tonight.
2. The squeezing exercises are a good idea because it may help you control things once it all starts working properly again.
3. I went into hospital 3 days before the op and came out 17 days after. I didnt need a home care nurse as my wound had healed well by the time I left.
4. I was never in any pain at any time. I opted for morphine after the op. I didnt get out of bed for the first 3 days so I used a bed pan to wee. My first bowel movement was 5 days after the op so I could use a loo by then.
Take some baby wet wipes for hygiene as you must must must keep your bum clean at all times after you use the loo, and nappy cream to stop soreness.
Had UC 2002 - 2005
Meds: Prednisolone, azathiaprine, asacol, fosamax, predsol suppositories, asacol suppositories, predfoam, painkillers, aloe vera juice, special diet ect.
Whole colon diseased, annemia, dhydrated, weight loss ect.
Had 1st operation April 2005, 2nd operation February 2006.
Feel great, aged 29, married,want children now.
Everthing that is crossed out no longer applies to me thanks to the operations.

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 3/24/2006 7:47 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for the info.  Wipes it will be. 

Five days before first bowel movement to use the loo?  No bowel movement before then, or was it liquid stool?  Also, what did they feed you after surgery for how long?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5698
   Posted 3/24/2006 9:29 PM (GMT -6)   

My experience was:

1.  Yes, 2 months post takedown should be plenty of time to be ready to return to school.  I went camping 6 weeks after surgery and was fine, at 3mos I traveled through Europe.

2.  Ask you surgeon if you need to do kegels, many people do not.

3.  I went into the hospital the morning of the surgery and stayed 5 days.

4.  I had zero pain with the 2nd surgery.  All that is really done is closing of the loop ileo.  The reason why the hospital stay is long is to give your gut a chance to wake up after surgery.  The surgeon will not send you home until you pass gas, eat a meal, and sees that your pouch is functioning.  The best thing you can do to encourage progress is to get out of bed and do a lot of walking.  Walking will wake up your gut and start motility.  I recommend you also bring a variety of diaper rash creams.  Some pouchers experience butt burn (I am not one who is afflicted with that) and find relief by using Balmex, Desitin, or Vitamin A&D to protect the skin around the anus.  You might also want to get a tube of Calmoseptine (a godsend) ointment which can be found in non chain drug stores or anywhere ostomy supplies are sold.  You can order it online too at  I never used a bed pan and never had pain.  Your frequency will be higher and more liquidy in the begining but will settle down.  Be patient, full recovery and predictability can take up to a year. 


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

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 3/24/2006 11:34 PM (GMT -6)   
yeah  Thank you very much for answering and the information you have provided.  Wish me luck.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/8/2009 12:18 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Everyone!

I have a meeting with my surgeon this coming Tuesday the 12th of April to decide whether or not to have a reversal of my ileostomy. I am wondering what kind of questions I should be asking him besides the obvious "How long will I take to heal", "What are the complications", "What will my bowel movement be like after surgery|, "Will there be much pain", "Should I be doing any kind of preparation".

Also some of the things that were said above in the forum helped, like what kind of creams are useful when you have your reversal. I started using these creams as I still suffer colitis as I still have my rectum, as most of you will have, if not all who are planning to have a reversal.

Any hints would be greatly appreciated.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 25
   Posted 4/8/2009 7:22 AM (GMT -6)   

I am just scheduled for colostomy reversal next week, so, sorry I can't really help you, but I do have additional questions about this reversal that hopefully someone can answer.  Immediately after my emergency surgeries (due to ruptured diverticula, and then leaking resection which resulted in this colostomy), my surgeon said no problem at all reversing in 6 months...  During my appts w him for last couple of weeks, he is now saying that I may need a loop ileostomy for 3 months before reversal is final--which I did not expect, and, just last week asked me if I would prefer he do a j-pouch if it came to that. 

When I kinda freaked out about that question, he said it would be a rare case...and just wanted to know my preference.  I said I couldn't answer that question-as at the time I really don't know a whole lot about j-pouches, and would tell him the morning of surgery----but I'm now wondering if I should postpone this surgery and get some more questions answered, like, how often does this happen?  I posted this question before, and got some good answers, and now know much more about j-pouches than I did before.  Should I get a second opinion?  Why when I have only had 10 inches or so of my colon removed would he suspect that there would be an issue with resecting it?  My system seems to be working fine, I am able to eat anything, and have not really had any issues other than a huge parastomal hernia, that now seems to be growing again-why would he be talking about removing my colon when it is working?  He saw a few more diverticula in it, but said they were in transverse colon and shouldn't pose a problem.  I'm at cleveland clinic, so, I don't really doubt his expertise, but, can't get over the fact that this should be a "simple" resection, and I am having to discuss removal of my entire colon???  Is this a normal discussion to have prior to reversal?  thanks for any input

The sad part about all of this, is my surgeon is out of country until the day of my surgery, so I am unable to discuss any of this further with him, until that day. 

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 262
   Posted 4/8/2009 8:00 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Leon!  I had my loop ileostomy reversed 4 weeks ago yesterday!!  I am feeling really great, except for post surgery tiredness (usual for me).  I went in hospital on Monday (day of surgery) and was released on Thursday of the same week!! (Three days!!!)  The surgeon went in through the stoma site and did it all through there, including repair of a peristomal hernia I had developed.  I was amazed that he could do it all through that little hole!!...They controlled my pain very well (there wasn't as much as the first surgery to place the ostomy)..with demerol injections.  My first movement from the bowels was on Tuesday night,, and it was mostly old blood and yukky stuff. 
They started me eating (jello, clear fluids etc) very slowly and graduated me to cream soups etc.  I had no significant bowel movement until I was home for a couple of days.  I have read here on the Forum and elsewhere that most people suffer with diarrhea after reversal but I didn't have that at all!!  My problem has been just the opposite in that I have been constipated.  I have found that prune juice in the morning and a bit of all bran in the evening corrects this for me! 
The baby/butt wipes I found were really great.  TP can be really rough on your bottom if you have to "go" alot.  I had also bought some Depends adult diapers just in case...(I was expecting the diarrhea which I never got). I didn't require home care because there was just the one small incision site and a week after I was home I had stitches removed from that) 
Now I am eating anthing I like and truly enjoying having my "original plumbing" back.  BUT I have to say I was so grateful to have the ileostomy (for 6 months) because it made me healthy again.  No regrets there!
Two months is plenty of time to recuperate for school.
I had no preparation to do for surgery (a first!!) other than no food after 10 the previous evening.
I didn't do any rectal exercises, and had no problem there, but they can only be a good thing to do, right??
Wishing you all the best with your reversal Leon!!  ....Cheryl
Hysterectomy 1998
Diagnosed IBS 2000
Vaginal Prolapse Surgery 2001
3 Hernia Repairs, 2004
Repeat Vaginal Prolapse Surgery 2006 (the mesh from previous prolapse surgery had let go and fallen into my bowels)...
Removal of mesh from bowels (it was piercing holes all through my bowels and appendix and cecum, causing 2 fistulas and heavy bleeding vaginally and rectally)...mesh was removed, two pieces of large bowel removed and resectioned with a loop ileostomy. 2008
I have underlying connective tissue disorder (Ehlers Danloss Syndrome) which is the reason for the two failed surgeries)
Ileostomy Reversal March 9/09

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 4/8/2009 7:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Leon-Alot of people have already give you advice so i will just tell you a little bit about my experience. I went in for my reversal Jan 9th of this year. I went in the morning of surgery and was in the hospital 3 days. I was basically ready to leave right away. I didnt use the normal pain meds, just pills. There wasnt much pain. I didnt have a bowel movement for a few days. I started eating jello and soft foods and then started eating a low residue diet in small portions. My surgeon told me to eat small means and then slowly allow them to get bigger. I was very worried about having an accident but i did a lot of kegel exercises and i havent once came close to having an accident. I have more control now than i did with UC! I had/have really bad butt burn if i eat certain foods so i use TUCKS wipes and also some ointment cream i got OTC. They help a lot. Before my surgery i joined this forum and i was so scared by all of the horror stories i read. I know not everyone is the same but i am happier than i have ever been! Its amazing, for the first time in 10years i feel normal! I eat whatever i want, use the bathroom give or take 5 times a day. Goodluck to you!
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