Recovery time from and experience with ileostomy reversal?

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Re: Recovery time from and experience with ileostomy reversa

Postby jessicamcoe » Mon May 27, 2013 11:25 am

Hey there!

I had my illeostomy reversal about 6 weeks ago. I had stage 3 Colon Cancer at age 26 with 2 rounds of chemotherapy, a round of radiation and two surgeries.
I definitely had a hard time getting used to and managing the ostomy, I had constant leaking problems and skin irritations (especially in the beginning.)

I tried not to let my ostomy control my life, but with the second round of chemo came severe diarrhea with vomiting and very bad digestive problems.

Needless to say, I am very glad to be rid of my ostomy but adjusting to using my bowels again hasn't been a walk in the park either. The surgery itself was nothing compared to the originally loop illeostomy, but the recovery process has been somewhat painful. It changes almost daily but I still evacuate my bowels at least 5-10 times a day and it seems to be mostly at night. The other thing I have difficulty with is passing gas at times and your body has to get used to the sensation again.

I was told it would take probably few months to have my bowels return to a more normal schedule so here's hoping!! Good luck!!

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Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:29 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Recovery time from and experience with ileostomy reversa

Postby teachpdx » Mon May 27, 2013 12:16 pm

HI Jessicamcoe, I had my reversal on March 12, 2013 and I just came back from a run. It's been very frustrating for me as well, but you might want to check out this web site: ... c&docid=34. I found it very helpful. I use psyllium and citrucel to keep things together and immodium to slow the gut down. I still can go multiple times a day and sometimes when I do go I can't believe how little came out compared to how uncomfortable I felt. Best of luck !!! Kristi
4/24/12 RC T3N1M0 age 53
5/23-7/2 - 26 chemorad - Xeloda
7/16 Lynch- MSH2
8/28 LAR w/ temp ileo, CR, 0/11,M0, hysterectomy
10/13 6 cycles Xeloda - completed only 1 1/2 due to HFS
3/12/13 - reversal
8/13 NED
6/15 - HFS gone!


Re: Recovery time from and experience with ileostomy reversa

Postby TESS MERIN » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:57 am

I had my ileostomy 12-7-2009 . from then I'm already used having this bag hanging in my side,but really everything come to an end ,on june 13,2013 my tummy will be normal again.thank you everyone by posting your experiences so far I have gathered strength from your sharing and my faith in God gives me the positive strength HE is always with me on that day.
I will be posting soon my experiences to be of help to others like me.
God may the glory , and God bless everyone with this condition.
tessmerin:stage 111 dx.8-/2009
rectal cancer ,low anterior resection,ileostomy 12-7-2009, chemo.4cycles,radiation 28 day session.

Posts: 427
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:47 pm

Re: Recovery time from and experience with ileostomy reversa

Postby jean60 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:49 pm

Today marks two weeks exactly since my reversal. I had a super easy time until Saturday evening and since then things have been somewhat challenging. My surgeon said to eat whatever I wanted but I have been pretty cautious. Saturday's evening meal was not a departure but my new plumbing has not been happy since then and I have lost several pounds (something I do not mind at all).
I imagine ups and downs are pretty common and I am not that far in. Seeing my surgeon tomorrow. I DO NOT miss the bag at all. I think I'll throw some glory my surgeon's way for doing a good enough job that it was possible to reconnect me. NO one thought it would be in the beginning.

Dx Rectal Cncr 5/12
Stage III
5 weeks Chemo (5FU) & Radiation completed
LAR with temporary ileostomy 9/12, complete response
Began FOLFOX 10/12. oxil reduced after tx 1, eliminated after tx 2. Now 5FU.
Finished 1/13
Ileostomy reversal 5/13

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Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:27 am

Re: Recovery time from and experience with ileostomy reversa

Postby Guido » Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:05 am


I feel that I an somewhat blessed compared to many of you, since I have had a total large intestine and partial small intestine removal but it wasn't due to cancer. When my ileostomy reversal is completed, I hope that is the end of my current major health problems. I realize many of y'all are on a much tougher journey than that. I almost feel a little guilty taking the "wisdom" gained from this site.
My colon just decided to go necrotic one day, exploded and put me into severe sepsis. That was 388 days ago, and I'm preparing to get this ileostomy bag off my belly.
I've found much needed information from all of your posts. I've been back at work for nearly eight months, and my main concern is what kind of impact the ileostomy reversal will have on my workday, including my 45 min. to one hour commute time each way. I'm suspecting some "Depends" undergarments may be in my future, sooner than I may have expected, anyway (I'm 58).
When I inquired with my Surgeon (the same Dr. who absolutely saved my life when I was in deep septic shock) he stated that "there would be some diarrhea for the first week or so" but I would quickly recover after that. From what I'm reading here, it may not be quite that simple. But, I'm optimistic. That's one thing gained from having near-death experiences. One other is that every day is a blessing. Even the really crappy ones.

Anyway, while I don't have much to offer, I just wanted to introduce myself and offer a huge "thanks" for all of you who do and have offered up such educated information on a pretty sketchy subject.

Respectfully posted, and Godspeed on your recoveries,

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Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 8:39 pm

Re: Recovery time from and experience with ileostomy reversal?

Postby MKC70 » Wed May 16, 2018 5:28 pm

I just had my reversal 6 days ago. I am very fortunate so far with recovery. I had surgery Thursday, went home Friday afternoon. Of course I have a small open wound and with that it has been as expected really as far as pain. I am a little swollen above my incision and it occasionally gives me pain when I move (ex. almost a "shock"type of pain). Been taking oxycodone and tylenol. Sleeping fine. My first BM was all liquid. I did go frequently for the first few days. Made sure to have Poise underwear in case I had an accident. I did have the "burn" from going frequently, but I have been using calmoseptine cream and that helps, as well as flushable wipes). I did buy metamucil wafers and ate 1 from the pk of 2 in the box. It helped to have less liquid output, but didnt slow it down too much to where I might get constipated. The poise underwear is not that bad. I did have a couple minor incidents in which I was glad I had them. It got to the point where I had to distinguish between me just passing gas vs needing to go. Now I am a bit more aware, so less "incidents". I do not have a normal stool yet, but it is trying to form here on Day 6. I have heard it takes a while. I am eating turkey, chicken, rice, potatoes, eggs, toast etc. No problems so far. I am going to reintroduce certain foods little by little and see how it goes. After day 3, I took the bandage off for the shower. I was a little apprehensive thinking it would hurt with the water, but I used a washcloth and let water dribble over the wound and it was just fine. I have been going out a little more the last couple days getting some steps in, but nothing too crazy! Everyone's body and healing time is different and so far I am feeling so happy with where I am and that it is going well so far. Try not to worry if you are doubting the surgery, mine took a little over an hour and feel so free from the bag. :)

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Re: Recovery time from and experience with ileostomy reversal?

Postby STRONGER_NOW » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:26 pm


I had my Ileostomy reversal surgery done on August 10, 2018.

Was doing really well on Day 1. Walking around as much I can.
However, Day 2 became worse with the trapped gas in intestine. No matter what I tried the gas will not release. Could not sleep all night.
My stomach was feeling so tight from the trapped gas that I was concerned it will cause leak or damage to the attached intestine.
Tried walking a lot, Hot water shower for 20 mins, Hot Tea, GasX, sitting on the toilet seat for 10 mins once an hour, etc. Nothing worked. The Gas started releasing on 3rd day and subsequent slow frequent bowel movement.
Discharged from hospital on 4th day.

When I came home the problem with gas production in intestine was still there.
Drank a lot of Fennel water (Gripe water) and most of the gas was released in 10 mins to an hour ( First release was an embarrassingly long and loud blast).
Wish I had taken some fennel or fennel water with me at the hospital.

Just be prepared to deal with gas pain and keep with you any medication you feel can help you in releasing the gas. Docs / Nurses / PA's only recommeded to Walk.

Male : 55 : 5' 10" : 170 Lb : Regular workout in Gym 3 - 5 days for last 6 years prior to surgery.
Colorectal Cancer : Benign Tumor : No Chemo : No Radiation
April 2018 : Loop Ileostomy - Robotic Surgery (da Vinci 4th Gen) : August 2018 - Ileostomy Reversal - Robotic Surgery (da Vinci 4th Gen)

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