From Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) Ostomy Outlook June 1997:

Ileostomy Blockage

by Ann Lee, RNET via Sherman (TX) Ostoline, and Fort Lauderdale (FL) Broward Beacon

If you are an ileostomate, chances are at some point you may experience a blockage. Almost always food blockages are caused by too much fiber at any one time. You can probably get away with eating small amounts of high fiber foods, but when you eat too much or too many different kinds at one time, you can get into problems.

These foods do not digest well, and the result can be an actual "plug" of fiber which obstructs the small bowel. The first sign of blockage can be a slight cramping or maybe just flutter sensations. This occurs when your intestine tries to get things going by pushing a little harder. At first, you may have no drainage at all, but this is usually followed by great quantities of watery drainage; also the pain may increase and become quite severe.

If these symptoms are recognized early, it is a simple matter to get things straightened out. First, eat crackers and drink tea, either hot or cold. Some people prefer grape juice. Eating or drinking these does two things. It gives you something to push with and it helps to replace the salt you are losing with all the watery drainage. Avoid drinking carbonated beverages.

Next, get down on your hands and knees and rock back and forth while rubbing your abdomen. This helps break up the blockage so it can pass through. This is usually all you need to do. If this doesn't work right away, change to a disposable appliance, as your stoma may swell causing the faceplate to cut into your stoma. Also don't lie still; get up and move around.

Remember to keep up your fluids because you can dehydrate rapidly. Gatorade or some of the sports drinks on the market are helpful, or you can make your own solution at home using a liter of water and 5 mL (1 tsp) each of baking soda and salt. If the blockage persists, or if food/liquid stops exiting at all for more than an hour or two or nausea and vomiting persists, check with your ET nurse, doctor or emergency room.

Back to Stillwater-Ponca City UOA Newsletter Index
This page is maintained by the OstomyOK webmaster
Content last revised 1997-06-10