Living with an Ileostomy

If the small, large intestines and/or the rectum must be removed or bypassed in order for feces to exit the body, an ileostomy occurs. An ileostomy is when the small intestine is brought through a small opening in the outside of the abdomen. This opening is called a stoma.

What is a stoma? A stoma is the part of the intestine that is brought to the outside of the body in order to pass waste. It is shiny, red and wet, and looks like the inside of your mouth. A stoma may change size or shape after surgery. It does not hurt because there are no nerves.

Reasons for ileostomy surgery:

  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn's disease
  • Familial polyposis

Hints & Tips for someone with an ileostomy:

  • Drink large amounts of water.
  • Be sure you have plenty of salt in your diet.
  • Be aware that foods high in fiber may cause blockage or diarrhea.
  • Chew your food well to aid digestion.
  • Peel fruit before you eat it.

Direct any medical questions to a health care professional. Always consult with your physician before modifying any course of treatment.