Complications of an ileostomy
Possible complications of an ileostomy
As with any operation, complications can happen during or after an ileostomy. Your doctor will explain the risks to you before the procedure.
There's a small chance that the wound around your ileostomy could become infected. This is usually treated with antibiotics.
Having an ileostomy makes it harder to stay hydrated.
If you notice signs of dehydration such as fatigue, dry mouth or lots of poo coming out of your stoma, speak to your stoma nurse or another healthcare professional to get advice.
Bowel blockage or obstruction
If the poo coming out of your stoma slows down or stops, you may have a bowel blockage.
Speak to your stoma nurse if you have cramps, feel nauseous or notice swelling around your stoma. They may recommend avoiding solid foods, massaging your tummy or having a hot bath.
In more serious cases, your bowel could burst (rupture), and you may need further surgery.
Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:
You've had an ileostomy and:
- your temperature is very high, or you feel hot and shivery
- you have lots of blood coming from inside your stoma or in your stoma bag
- you have signs of dehydration
- your stoma is not active for more than 12 hours
- you have severe cramps, nausea and vomiting
These could be signs of an infection or a serious bowel obstruction.
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online
Problems with your stoma
You may get problems with your stoma, which can include:
- a parastomal hernia causing swelling under the skin – this may be managed by your stoma nurse or with surgery
- the stoma going back into your tummy instead of sticking out (stoma retraction) – different types of bags and accessories can help
- the stoma coming out too far above the skin (stoma prolapse) – different types of bags can help
- skin damage around the stoma – this can be helped with special products such as sprays or wipes and measuring your stoma regularly to make sure the bag fits well
Contact your stoma nurse or GP if:
- you think you have a problem with your stoma or it's causing skin problems
They can advise if further surgery may be needed, or about products that might help.