Constipation can have various causes, as seen in the table below. If constipation persists and/or there is pain and/or nausea/vomiting it is important to seek medical advice.
| Not eating enough fibre
||Eat more fruit and vegetables and wholemeal products
|Not drinking sufficient fluid
||Aim to drink, in total, eight cups of liquid each day
|Not enough exercise
||If possible, increase the amount of exercise
|Side effects of medication
||Check medicines with Doctor or pharmacist
As ileostomates do not have a colon, they do not suffer from constipation. If there is no output from an ileostomy it is more likely to be a blockage and medical advice should be sought.
Click here to read about constipation written by Sophie Medlin BSc RD Colorectal and Nutrition Support Specialist Dietitian at Torbay Hospital.
The function of the colon is to absorb water from faeces making the motions firm and formed. If a large section of colon was removed when the colostomy was formed then it is likely that the output from the stoma will be fairly liquid.
When the output is normally formed, an episode of diarrhoea could be due to one of a number of reasons:
- a 'stomach bug'
- certain medication eg some antibiotics
- stress or emotional upset
- large amounts of lager or beer
- very spicy food
If a large amount of fluid is being lost via the stoma, isotonic drinks eg dioralyte will help prevent dehydration. It also may be advisable to use a drainable pouch whilst you have diarrhoea.There are now several solidifying gels and capsules available on prescription. You can put these into your pouch and they will help to transform the liquid output into a thick paste.
For your questions answered on diarrhoea click here.
Where diarrhoea persists, or is in conjunction with other symptoms such as pain or bleeding, then it is important to seek medical advice.