After your operation ileostomy

“Be ready to cope with anything after your operation”

Life changes quite dramatically after having an ileostomy, but it’s so much easier if you know what to expect. Taking the time to read through this website will give you the confidence to change your pouches and get used to life with a stoma after your operation.

Waking up after your ileostomy operation More info

When you wake up after your operation, you will be wearing a stoma bag. Your stoma may be swollen at first, but it will reduce in size, over a few weeks. You may have drips and tubes attached to your body but this is quite normal.
A “bridge” which goes underneath the stoma may also be in place for the first few days, but all of this will be removed within time, with very little discomfort. You’re bound to feel tired and may experience a range of emotions. Remember - it will take time to recover, both physically and emotionally.

Opposite top: End ileostomy shortly after operation
Opposite bottom: Loop ileostomy shortly after operation

When will my stoma start to work?More info
Your stoma will usually start to work within a few days of your operation. The output will be watery and may be quite strong smelling at first. You will find that your stoma produces noisy wind, but this is normal and to be expected. Your bowel motions will thicken as you start to eat a balanced diet and the noisy wind generally decreases. If your rectum has not been removed, you may still feel like you need to go to the toilet and you may pass some mucus or wind.
Wearing an ileostomy bagMore info
After your operation, you will need to wear a stoma bag to collect your bowel motion. Most stoma bags are about the size of an A5 piece of paper and are designed to stick onto your abdomen over your stoma. They can be worn under your normal clothes - and even during showering. Ileostomy bags usually have air filters to allow wind to escape from the bag gradually and to absorb smells.
What type of bag will I wear? More info

Initially, after your operation, you will wear a clear post-op bag. The nurses will empty your bag until you are feeling well enough to do this yourself. When you are ready, you can move on to an opaque or overlap bag.

Opposite: Drainable bag (pouch)
Changing your bag More info

After a while, you will establish a routine for changing your bag and it’s a good idea to keep this as simple as possible. Your stoma will work at different times of the day. For instance, it will be active shortly after a meal. Try to choose bag change times when your stoma is relatively inactive, such as first thing in the morning.

Preparing your new bag More info

Draw the template of your stoma onto the cutting guide, then cut the hole to this template. It is most important that this hole fits snugly around the stoma to prevent the risk of leakage and irritated skin. Your stoma nurse will show you how to do this – which will become easier – and then your pouches can be pre-cut to your size.

Application More info

Ensure the skin is completely dry before applying a clean bag. 1. Remove the backing film from the adhesive. 2. Fold the pouch in half, then position the pouch around the stoma, working from the bottom and smoothing upwards with your fingers. 3. Ensure there are no creases in the adhesive.

Removal of used bag More info

Remove adhesive carefully, working from the top down, and supporting the skin. Empty contents into the toilet, then place your bag into a disposal bag and put in the dustbin. Use dry wipes/kitchen roll and warm water to clean around the stoma.

How often will I need to change my bag?More info
This depends on your personal choice. Your stoma care nurse will advise you on this. You will have to empty your bag several times a day.
Find a patient meetingMore info
Salts runs a series of sessions all over the UK, giving talks on the issues that affect you every day, from leaks to skin protection. It’s a chance to meet with other ostomists and get specialist advice, while learning more about Salts products and how to use them. Here’s a list of the upcoming meetings happening near you:


Call Freephone 0800 626 388 for more information and to let us know you are coming.
The dates and venues are as follows:

Coffee Morning/Meeting:
  • Wednesday 8th February 2017
  • 10.00am – 12.00pm
  • St Mark’s at Northwick Park Hospital, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 3UJ

Stoma Care Clinic (For problematic stoma and/or AUR):
  • Tuesday 24th January 2017
  • Tuesday 21st March 2017
  • 9am – 4.00pm
  • Birmingham Central Medilink Branch
  • You must call Freephone 0800 626388 to book an appointment slot

Patient Support Group:
  • Saturday 11th February 2017
  • 10.00am – 12.00pm
  • Bradford and Airedale Cancer Centre,
  • 44 Smith Lane, Bradford, BD9 6DA
  • For more details, call Stoma Care Nurse, Lisa Hall, on 07552276747

Moray Ostomates
  • 1st April from 1pm-4pm
  • Moray Resource Centre, Masondieu Road, Elgin IV30 1RX
  • Speaker Mr MacIntyre on stomas - ante and post op Contact Meggie 01343 552449 or Kathleen 07789684285

Scottish Open Days

The Inverness Branch will be holding a Health & Wellbeing Open Day at the following venue:-

Eight Acres Hotel
  • Morriston Road,
  • Elgin
  • IV30 6UL
  • Date: Tuesday 23rd May 2017
  • Time: 2-5pm

Dundee Branch will be holding a Health & Wellbeing Open Day at the following venue:-
Apex Hotel
  • 14th October 2016
  • 1 W Victoria Dock Road
  • Dundee
  • DD1 3JP
  • Date: Friday 27th October 2017
  • Time: 11am-2pm