Depending on the surgery you had, you may be able to have your ostomy reversed. Discussing this with your surgeon is crucial as not all temporary ostomies are reversed. To have your stoma reversed, you need to be healthy, have a temporary ostomy, and have finished chemotherapy and radiation. The final decision of whether you can have your ostomy reversed belongs to your surgical team.
Once your surgeon has told you that it is possible to have your ostomy reversed, you may wonder what the surgery entails and what the post-op care will look like. The following information booklets will help you navigate this.
Your doctor and you have decided that it is now time for you to have your stoma reversed. The information in this Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) booklet will provide you with tools to help you manage after your stoma reversal surgery.
The management of LARS can be complex and multifactorial. It is not uncommon to experience diarrhea and fecal incontinence due to the amount of rectum that has been removed. Fecal incontinence can be highly challenging and discouraging to manage.
In the first few weeks post reversal seeing a dietitian to help manage your diet is encouraged. Foods that can help thicken your stool, like bananas, pasta, rice, and apple sauce, are encouraged. If you continue to experience diarrhea and incontinence, discuss with your doctor about taking medications like Imodium to help thicken and slow down the stool. Seeing a physiotherapist who specializes in biofeedback can assist with strengthening the rectal muscles. These muscles are often weak as they were not used for many months while you had your ostomy. Once you have tried all these options, a discussion with your surgeon on rectal irrigation should occur.
Rectal irrigation is a type of enema where 1L of water is inserted into your bowels using a special catheter to help empty your bowels of any stool allowing for continence during the day. Rectal irrigation does take practice and time to manage. It can take a few weeks until you start to see results.
If you are having problems and need support and wish to consider this option, please make an appointment with the ostomy nurse.