My Ileostomy Bag Explained – How It Works

I have woken up to a rather large amount of questions this morning regarding how i live with my ileostomy bag. There seems to be some confusion as to whether I can use the toilet or not, so I thought I’d just write a short explanation of how my ileostomy bag works!… during my surgery, they removed my colon. If you didn’t know, your colon is what absorbs vitamins helps compact your stools, i.e. avoiding diarrhea. This left me with just my small bowel. They created an opening in my stomach and brought the end of my small intestine out of my stomach, creating a stoma. As I no longer have my large intestine, I don’t experience hard waste. My digestive system now works a lot faster meaning my body also finds it hard to absorb nutrients. As I no longer have a colon (large intestine), I’m more at risk of dehydration and loss of nutrients. This is because one of the functions of the colon is to re-absorb water and minerals¬†back into the body. I now add a little more salt into my diet to help replace anything lost.

The bag on my stomach covers my stoma, attaches on and collects any waste. I’ve had a few questions asking about urination, but considering urination concerns your bladder, nothing has changed on that basis. I still urinate the same.

Changing the bag is something I do every day, it is important to ensure the bag fits properly to ensure the bag fits properly, to avoid any extra skin irritation. To change the bag you must first prepare your accessories. Scissors, spray, warm water, dry wipes and of course your bag is needed. I first spray around the sides of the bag I’m wearing to pull the bag off with ease. Next up is to clean around the stoma with warm water and dry wipes. Once clean and dry, I spray around the stoma with a skin barrier spray. I then wait for this to dry, and measure my stoma with a template. Once sized properly, I draw the measured circle to a section of my bag. I then cut this circle, double check the sizing, pull off a cover to reveal the sticky underneath, and smooth onto my skin around my stoma. The end of the bag consists of velcro straps which folds up 3 times. Draining the bag just consists of unfolding the velcro, cleaning, and folding back up again.

I hope this is informative enough, I didn’t particularly want to explain everything in detail as some of you may only be interested in the basics. But if you’d like to ask anything else, feel free to contact me.

Yes I Can Still Fart… Sort Of! Your Questions Answered (1)

I had so many people awkwardly asking me about my iloestomy bag that I thought, why not get it all out in the open? So gave people the option to ask me questions anonymously, as personal as they like, which I I’m going to answer on here! And I mean, everybody goes to the toilet right? Just not all in the same way, so I’ve had to learn..

Sorry I’m just really curious, do you fart? What happens with you do? X
Ha! I knew this was coming. In a way, yes, just not the same way you do! Gas passes into my bag, sometimes you can here it sometimes you can’t. The downside to this is waking up with a balloon on your stomach!

Is your bag permanent? Will you have it for the rest of your life? xxx
During surgery, they took my colon out, but left my rectum. This means I have the option to have it reversed in 4 months, where they will push the stoma back into my abdomen and join the two ends together. There are risks involved and a chance surgery can fail, so there’s a lot to think about.

So how often do you poo? And can you feel that you’re pooing? Really sorry if this is gross! ‚̧
It’s not gross, I don’t mind! I go around 6-7 times a day now. And sometimes you can feel it, but barely! I’ve gotten into such a routine now that I’m aware when it’s going to happen.

Does the bag ever smell?
No, you can’t smell anything. There are filters on the bag to stop the smell and there are certain sprays and droplets you can put in the bag to decrease any smell when draining – I have a mint one!

Does it effect your sex life?
Nope, it hasn’t effected it at all.. good job I’m amazing at it! No but seriously it’s still great. You can read more here:

How do you drain your bag?
At the bottom of the bag is a little velcro seal that unfolds three times, you just unfold it over the toilet, clean the seal and fold it back up again – three times!

So there you go… it’s crazy how much my life involves around people asking me about my toilet experience nowadays!