A colostomy is a surgical procedure that is required when there is colorectal cancer or other bowel problems. Surgeon in colostomy surgery changes the way body waste comes out of the body. Instead of the anus, a new opening is used called a stoma is made on the abdomen to expel digestive waste out of the body. A specialized medical device colostomy bag is attached to the stoma to hold body waste. A lot of people wonder can a person still poop with a colostomy bag. This article will answer all your queries regarding pooping with a colostomy bag.
UNDERSTANDING BOWEL MOVEMENTS:
While the process of bowel movements changes with a colostomy. it is important to note that waste elimination continues. The basic differences lie in the route the waste takes and the manner in which it is managed. Following is a breakdown of how bowel movements work with a colostomy bag:
- Stoma – a new exit point:
Stoma is a new opening that is located on the lower abdomen and is now a new exit point for body waste. It does not have muscles or nerve endings like the rectum, so you don’t have any control over the defecation process.
- Continuous but unpredictable:
Since you don’t have any control over your bowel movements it becomes unpredictable and continuous with colostomy. Whenever the digestive system operates, bowel movements occur and cause the bag to fill with body waste.
POOPING WITH A COLOSTOMY BAG:
In permanent colostomy, when the colon or part of the colon is removed, like in colorectal cancer, one cannot poop. Whereas, in loop colostomy, where the colon is still attached to the intestine but its part is diverted to a new opening in the stomach, a person still poops. The reason is, the colon is still attached to the anus/rectum. So there are chances that stool, mucus, or gas may pass through the rectum.
UNDERSTANDING LOOP COLOSTOMY:
Loop colostomy is the temporary surgery to heal the damaged part of the colon by giving it rest for a few weeks. It is the most common type of colostomy which is usually performed in Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and Diverticulitis.
In this surgical procedure, a section of the colon is brought to the abdominal wall, creating a stoma. The loop colostomy is characterized by a cut in the side of the colon, and the edges of the colon are then folded over to form a cuff around the opening. This technique makes it easier to reverse the colostomy if needed. When reversal is required, the colon can be detached from the abdominal wall, and the ends are sewn back together, restoring the normal flow of stool through the digestive system.
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PURPOSE OF LOOP COLOSTOMY:
Diversion and Decompression are the two main purposes of loop colostomy:
A temporary loop colostomy serves two main purposes: diversion and decompression.
Diversion is like giving a break to a part of your colon that needs to heal. If your colon is recovering from injury, surgery, or infection, you might need a diverting loop colostomy. This type of colostomy helps keep poop away from the injured or healing part of your colon. It prevents contamination and allows that part of your colon to rest and recover.
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Decompression is needed when there’s something blocking your colon that needs to be removed. A decompressing loop colostomy lets you keep moving your bowels through the stoma while the blocked part of your bowel takes a break. Surgery is often needed to clear the blockage, and after that, the affected part of your colon needs time to heal. Once it’s healed, your bowel can be reconnected, and things can go back to normal.
LOOP COLOSTOMY BUT STILL POOPING:
In a loop colostomy, the surgeon does a special kind of surgery. They pull a loop, which is a bendy part of your bowel, through a hole in your tummy. Then, they cut it a bit but not all the way, leaving both ends sticking out of your tummy. It’s like having two openings.
The top end, which is still attached to your small intestine, is where your poop will come out. It’s like a new way for your body to get rid of waste. The bottom end, which is linked to the lower part of your bowel, releases a slimy substance called mucous. This is something your body normally makes, and now it comes out through this opening.
So, after the surgery, you have these two ends—one for poop and the other for mucous—both poking out through the opening in your abdomen. Since your colon is still attached to the rectum, some part of your poop and mucus may go through the anus. So if you are still pooping its means a small portion of your body waste has reached the rectum.
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Living with a colostomy might seem like a big change, but it’s about finding a new way for your body to work. If you have a permanent colostomy, where a part of the colon is removed, pooping as you know might not happen. But in a temporary loop colostomy, like the one done for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you might still poop. This is because the colon is still connected to the rectum. So, even with a colostomy bag, there’s a chance that some poop, mucus, or gas may pass through the rectum. It’s a unique way your body adjusts, and with the right care, you can still lead a full and healthy life. Remember, everyone’s journey is different, but understanding and adapting to these changes can make the process much more manageable.