Home > Living with a stoma > You are an ileostomate

You are an ileostomate

An ileostomy is a surgically created opening into the small intestine through the abdomen. It takes the role of eliminating waste when a number of situations make it necessary to bypass the rectum or colon. An ileostomy is constructed from the ileum. This type of stoma can be temporary or permanent.

There are different reasons that can lead to someone needing a stoma, the main reasons are:
  • cancer
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • familial polyposis syndrome
  • trauma
  • congenital defects

In the case of an ileostomy the stools are fluid and/or semi-formed with digestive enzymes which are more aggressive on the skin.

Temporary ileostomy

This type of stoma is usually done to allow the operation on your bowel to heal. The stoma is usually reversed (put back into your abdomen) three to six months after the first operation. Occasionally this can be left for longer. Your surgeon can give you more details about this. This stoma has two openings in it. The 'spout' of the stoma is where the bowel motion comes from, and the other opening, which is flat on the skin surface, is still connected to the rest of your bowel.

Permanent ileostomy

The rectum and anus (back passage) is usually removed in this operation.

This type of stoma usually protrudes a little from the skin and produces a soft to fluid output. The consistency of the motion can change over the course of each day. This is quite normal and is related to what, and how much, you are eating.

Ileostomate patient guide