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:

Find out more about living with a stoma on the Crohn's and Colitis UK website

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.