What Is A Stoma?
A stoma is a way to release feces from the body after a major or minor surgery. Part of the bowel is brought to the surface of the abdomen and a small pouch is placed there to collect excrement. This solution to remove waste can be a permanent or a temporary solution, depending on your condition and your doctor’s recommendations.
What Are Stoma Reversals?
If your doctor thinks that your condition is temporary or that you have recovered well after surgery, they may elect to perform a stoma reversal. This means that you can reconnect your bowel and your colon and close up the site of the stoma.
To determine if you are eligible for a stoma reversal your doctor should do a thorough inspection of the stoma site and your bowel movements. They should examine your rectum and your sphincter muscles to ensure that they are strong enough for bowel movements. They should also give you an enema to ensure that there are no leaks or tears in your bowel. Your doctor may also elect to give you a CT scan to check for any diseases that could affect your bowels.
What To Expect From A Stoma Reversal Surgery?
If you and your doctor agree to pursue a stoma reversal surgery, you can expect to have one anywhere from three months to twelve months after the initial surgery. This gives your muscles enough time to heal and helps ensure optimal function.
If there are no complications, the procedure should take about two hours to perform. You will be placed under general anaesthetic. After surgery you will only be allowed to eat liquids and will be advised to stay on bed rest. This gives your body time to heal and helps to ensure you will not have any bowel movements that could infect the area. After a few days, your doctor will recommend that you eat soft foods and move around to help aid in your recovery.
Typically, people stay in the hospital for about four days after a stoma reversal so that a doctor can keep close eye on recovery and ensure that there are no complications or infections. If you do not experience any of these things, you will typically be released from the hospital around day four.
Similar to other surgeries, you will not be allowed to lift heavy objects for at least six weeks. You will have a post-op check up around the same time. If you experience any unusual symptoms or are in severe pain you may need to contact your doctor immediately.
Returning To Normal Life
A stoma reversal is a serious, but routine, procedure. It can take months to regain full control over your bowels. Many people who have had a stoma reversal often experience diarrhea or constipation, pain, soreness, and incontinence. These things can make recovery a challenge, however the more you move and exercise the better your recovery will be.
Eating a good and well balanced diet can also help aid in recovery after a stoma reversal. You may choose to use wet wipes when cleaning your stoma area to help ensure you remove all bacteria. It can also make the area less painful. Using wet wipes can protect your skin and help you return to life quicker.