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ileostomy reversal

Posts: 405
Joined: Mar 2007

Hello all
My husband got through his ileostomy reversal about three weeks ago. He is doing well for the most part. He continues to have frequent stools and leakage. Of course this is very bothersome for him and also causes alot of soreness and pain at times. We can't figure out why he does really well some days and others not well at all. At first we thought he shouldn't have much fiber. Then one doctor said that more fiber might decrease the leakage. A couple of times since his surgery he has also had terrible spasms in his rectum that were very painful and would last for hours. Does anyone have any suggestions on the diet that may help this? We keep getting different ideas and can't seem to figure out which foods may be causing the problems.

Thank You all! Hope you are enjoying your summer!


Posts: 45
Joined: Dec 2005

Hi Faith,
Congrats to your husband in being able to have his reversal done. My husband, Mike, had his reversal 1 year ago this July 2nd, and I thought perhaps we could help you guys out a bit. We were told many different things also, such as more fibre (at first we thought "HUH", more fibre, no way) but it was to bulk up the stools. That really didn't help Mike out alot, he would have TERRIBLE spasms, and there was nothing we could link to his diet..he would sometimes go a few days doing well, then would have 3 or 4 really bad days, and he ended up with blockage. The only things we have been able to pinpoint is cauliflower is a no no for sure. The one thing that helped and still does is Lomital, and that seems to help when he is having a bad day (although they are much less frequent). I know alot depends on how low the tumor was, and in Mikes case it was fairly low, so the drs. have told him that he will never have the same contro as he used to, but please do know that it does get better, and in some people it happens alot faster, it just so happens with Mike it was a very long process. I would definatly ask your dr. about lomotil, this was and is still a lifesaver, and works wonderful (takes about 1 hr, and then it slows the bowels down)The only thing Mike found was that one dr. told him to take it every day, but Mike found that by doing this he was not giving his bowels a chance to empty, so therefore he would have really bad spasms, so he gradually cut back to once every 3 days, and now he only needs it once every couple of weeks for the most part.
Best of luck with everything, and hang in there, it does get better!

StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Faith,

When I had my reversal done, my doc said to expect bowel changes for up to 36 months (3 yrs). Fortunately, I was fine from day 1, but I think that was due to the fact that I kept the diet I had while I had the ileostomy. By not induldging in greasy or fatty foods, and remaining with low fat foods and smaller amounts of veggies and fruits, it will allow your body to ease back into the way it was. I do remember though that bananas had a positive affect on things. Spicy foods will be the enemy early in the game. Although, I think that may apply to folks NOT affected by colon cancer, too! lol

I also believe that smaller meals rather than 3 larger meals a day will help. In my case, it kept things in a more even distribution of digestion, rather than loading myself up all at once. Again, these are just suggestions that may or may not work for everyone. That is one of the double-edged swords of the internet....it's a wealth of information both applicable and possible inapplicable.

Best wishes for your husband, and for you as being a terrific caregiver!


davidsonxx's picture
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2007

I had my ileostomy reversed last April and at first would swing between both extremes with no middle ground. I'm not sure that your diet has much effect in the first few weeks. Your body is just learning how to function again and it takes some time. Once I was through that first rough patch things settled down and I do well most days. I found out that for me stress is a big factor. If I have a stressful event I have a bad day. The day I started back to work was awful. From a dietary standpoint I found that I need to avoid anything that makes me gassy. Things like brocoli and califlower. I also noticed that I am hypersensitive to anything that bothered me even slightly before my surgery. For me, fiber helped with both the diarrhea and the spasms. It seemed like the muscles worked better if they had something to push against.

Just hang in there. It does get better with time.

Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

Hi Faith. Am glad your husband's surgery went well and best wishes and prayers for full recovery soon. God Bless, Diane

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