Instructions to the Colostomy Patient

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EVERY colostomy patient is instructed in the care of the stoma while in the hospital. The following pamphlet is given to the colostomy patient by the enterostomal therapist who personally instructs each patient.

Instructions to the Patient

The objective of this pamphlet is to teach you to empty the colon completely by an enema. In most adults, the colon when emptied completely does not fill for two days. Therefore, if the emptying is complete, you could expect to have no movement except during enemas that are given every second day. In some patients, the colon fills rapidly, and it is therefore necessary to irrigate the colon every day. We shall help you to decide how often you must irrigate the colon.

Some patients have an “irritable” colon. An irritable colon has cramps and excessive gas formation, and the bowel movements are not always predictable; a movement may occur at any time, particularly after meals, or there may be constipation and no movements. This unpredictable pattern of movements may be a lifelong habit. For such a person, irrigation may not be the best way to manage the colostomy. Perhaps you belong to this group of patients, and you should not irrigate your colostomy. Perhaps you should allow the bowel to move spontaneously; this may occur at fairly regular intervals. Whether or not you are going to control your bowel movements by irrigation will depend on the type of colon you have. However, while you are in the hospital, we are going . . .



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