Ileostomy, colostomy and stoma support

For people having an ileostomy or colostomy or living with a stoma. Support each other and discuss things like upper and lower bowel contents, bag recommendations, managing a stoma and foods to avoid.

colostomy reversal

Posted by

hi all I am usually on the anal cancer group. I had a colostomy before treatment, almost exactly a year ago. The treatment has been successful, Whoppeeeee, and I am now due the reversal. 1st MARCH hopefully, does anybody have words of wisdom please? 

Many thanks


Little My
Posted by

Hi RustyK

I had my reversal 15th March last year!

My surgeon decided to do an enhanced recovery programme and leave the wound open to heal up itself so no stitches, just a purse string one to hold it in place and packing it with daily wound changes for 6 weeks.

I am so glad now I did that as it has made for a really good strong heal and less chance of hernias in the future.

I don't know if you will get the option or not. It was a bit harder to cope with than having the colostomy done, and more painful, but they give you either an epidural or a morphine driver for the first day or two. They encourage you to get up and about pretty quick. You are not allowed home until you have done a bowel movement. Mine took longer than I wanted and I walked up and down that ward hoping to shift things. First thing they want is a fart!

Its an op like the last one. You wake up with a dressing and sore area and you are advised to eat gently for a few days till things get working again. You should be home within 5 days at most.

The bowels take a bit of time to settle down and you may have diarrhoea for a while afterwards. Some people get it quite bad , others its ok. You may find that the opening is really narrow after the RT, scarring etc. They were concerned mine was too narrow, but he stretched it during the operation which helped. I pass a lot of mucous now and sometimes bleed as it is quite sensitive there after the radiation, so don't worry if you do. I also got some of the pain back that made me think the cancer had come back, but it was just the pressure of poo that I had not had for a while.

Everyone is different and reacts differently. I had a few accidents in the first few weeks, but I had had those with my bag and before too, so it wasn't too bad. I buy the extra long panty liners for peace of mind more than anything. It is sore if I get constipated and I need to keep things loose and it looks like snakes really thin poos due to narrowness but its ok.

I have adjusted to it now, so although things are not normal as they were before, they are fine and it just becomes the new normal.

I was scared about if it would work or not and scared that i would be incontinent and I did nearly decide to keep my bag as I was getting on fine with it and all the docs said it may well not work, but lets have a go... it worked fine!

Don't worry about all the stuff they tell you before the op! They have to tell you all these things like it might not be able to be reversed or they might have to give you an ileostomy while the colostomy heals and then reverse that too (which scared the hell out of me) and all those horror stories they tell you about ops.

It is a fairly straightforward op and you will be ok and after a bit of healing, you will be fine like me. You can't drive for a bit afterwards (I cheated and drove locally pretty soon after as long as you can do an emergency stop its ok).

It drove me mad waiting in for the district nurses every day for the dressing changes but as soon as I could shuffle around, I asked to have them done at the surgery so I could do things during the day and get some fresh air etc. The dressing packing can be painful if you have that type but a few deep breaths and you can do it and they give you painkillers if you need them. Nothing compared to what we have been through though so easily doable!and I don't think many surgeons do that type of op so may just get stitches and that's that. They should be able to do it just on the site so you just get a hole/scar the size of the stoma and not cut open.

Take it easy with spicy foods for a while till you see how you are and don't worry if it aches for a while after and if your bum gets a bit sore etc. It all just takes a bit of time to settle down again.

Big hug for nerves and I'll be holding your hand all the way

Little My xxxxx