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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Surgeries and Procedures > Ileostomy Care: Home Care and Complications
      Category : Health Centers > Digestive System

Ileostomy Care

Alternate Names : Ileostomy

Ileostomy Care | Preparation & Expectations | Home Care and Complications

What happens later at home?

The person with a traditional procedure has no muscle control over the stoma. Stool discharge is continuous and liquid. Drainage bags, or pouches, must be worn at all times. The size of the opening and the pouch size will vary at first. The stoma is often checked 3 weeks after surgery, when swelling has gone away. The final size and type of appliance is selected after approximately 3 months, when the person's weight and stoma size is stable. Bag changing and other wound care should be done as instructed.

A low-residue diet, including items such as strained fruits or vegetables, is followed for the first 6 to 8 weeks. Later, there are few dietary restrictions. Foods that are high in fiber, have hard-to-digest kernels, or are odor-producing may need to be avoided. A dietitian can help the person establish a balanced diet. Fluid loss can be a problem in the summer, because perspiration adds to the fluid lost through the ileostomy. Electrolytes can be lost. Sports drinks containing electrolytes may be helpful in maintaining good fluid balance and avoiding dehydration and salt imbalance.

Visits from home healthcare nurses or therapists can help with questions of day-to-day living. Referrals may be given to support organizations, such as the United Ostomy Association.

What are the potential complications after the procedure?

Surgery may cause bleeding, infection, and allergic reaction to anesthesia. Antibiotics can cause allergic reactions and stomach upset.

The ileostomy itself may cause problems, including the following:

  • incisional hernia, or bulging of bowel through the incision
  • narrowing of the stoma
  • scar tissue and bowel obstruction
  • skin irritation from stool that leaks under the drainage bag

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    Ileostomy Care: Preparation & Expectations


    Author: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/31/01

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