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What is an ileostomy?

  • An ileostomy is where the end of your small bowel is brought through an opening made in your tummy. The opening is called a stoma.
  • You will no longer poo from your bottom – it will come out of the stoma into a pouch or bag you stick on your tummy.
  • It's usually done because your large bowel needs to be removed, or rested after surgery.
  • There are 2 types, an end or loop ileostomy.
  • It may be temporary and reversed later, or permanent, depending on why it's needed.
  • A stoma might be flat against your skin or stick out a couple of centimetres. It should be soft, slippery and pink, like the inside of your mouth.
  • The stoma should not hurt, but it can bleed easily when scratched or wiped.
  • The poo in the stoma bag is liquid or soft, like porridge. But you can still become constipated or have diarrhoea.
  • You cannot control when poo, wind or bowel sounds come out your stoma. It might happen for a few hours each day or more often.

Page last reviewed: 13 March 2023
Next review due: 13 March 2026