Lifestyle - Mishaps with Prolapse
Help! Im Prolapsing!
If your stoma seems to be protruding more than usual, chances are you have a prolapse. This happens not only because of abdominal pressure (while walking, for example) but also parastalsis, the natural wavelike movement of intestines during digestion. Luckily, a prolapse may be solved without a visit to the emergency room. However, in some cases, it can cause pain as well as blockage. I will now talk about prolapses with end ileostomies and loop ileostomies. Yes, I have experienced both!
Prolapse with an end ileostomy
I have had one bad prolapse while I had an end ileostomy (pictured left). The symtoms are abdominal pain and obviously, the telescoping of the intestine. In other words, the intestines invert themselves and come out up to 8 inches! To solve this, we used a cool towel to slowly push the elongated intestines back inside. Within 15 minutes or so, the stoma had shrunk to its original size, leaving nothing but a shock to my mental state.
Prolapse with temporary loop ileostomy
Most recently, I experienced a prolapse with a loop ileostomy. Because I see my stoma every day, I had not noticed that it was getting bigger, until it started causing pain around the stoma, abdominal cramps and overall discomfort. At this point I visited the surgeon, who simply used his fingers to shove the stoma back inside. That was more like it, I thought, realizing it had been prolapsing for months! He explained that prolapses are more common in loop ileostomies because they are usually only temporary.
Make sure you support your stoma during all forms of exersize, as well as sneezing and coughing. Dont be afraid to squish the stoma with your hands flat before coughing - its more robust than you think!
Because we see our stomas everyday, we may not notice how big its gotten since operation. I know I didn't! Compare it to an old photo or have a relative see it for a clearer picture.
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Look forward to my next article: Journey through the Takedown Operation