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Information on Ostomy Blockages

Information on Ostomy Blockages

Living with an Ostomy can be life-changing, offering individuals a renewed sense of health and independence. However, like any medical condition, complications can arise. One of the more common concerns for people with ostomies is dealing with blockages. I've had one myself, the pictures above are of me when I went to the hospital for it. It caused my insides to twist and turn, quite literally. In this blog, we'll discuss what to do if you suspect or experience a ostomy blockage and offer practical tips to help you navigate this situation.

Recognizing the Symptoms

Blockages in an Ostomy can manifest with various uncomfortable symptoms, such as abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, nausea, vomiting, swelling around stoma, and reduced or absent stoma output. Recognizing these symptoms early is essential for a prompt response. Stay Hydrated, dehydration is a major concern during a blockage. Sip on clear fluids such as water, clear broths, and electrolyte solutions. However, avoid carbonated and caffeinated drinks as they might worsen the issue. Addressing Potential Stoma Blockage, If your stoma starts to swell, replace your pouching system. Ensure to cut the opening of your wafer a little larger than usual to accommodate the swelling. If there's no output from your stoma, and you aren't experiencing nausea or vomiting, temporarily switch to a liquid diet. Opt for beverages like juices, warm broths, or tea. Take a warm bath or shower to help relax your abdominal muscles. You can also consider using a heating pad on a low setting for the same purpose. If possible, take a short walk or move slowly around your house, provided it's not too painful. Experiment with different body positions, such as the knee-chest position, or lie on the side of your stoma with your knees bent. These positions might help move the blockage forward. Massage the abdominal area and the region around your stoma. Most food blockages tend to occur just below the stoma, and massaging may help dislodge the blockage.

Seeking Medical Attention

If you experience the following symptoms, it's time to escalate the situation:

No stoma output for several hours. Abdominal pain. Vomiting. A distended (swollen) abdomen. An edematous (swollen) stoma. A significantly darkened stoma.

In this case, take these actions:

Cease food and liquid intake immediately.

Reach out to your healthcare provider for guidance. If you can't get in touch with your doctor, proceed to the emergency room (ER) without delay.

When heading to the ER, ensure you take your pouching supplies with you. Hospitals may not have your specific products readily available.

Carry a card that contains essential information about your condition and stoma to the ER. Hand this card to the admission nurse or medical professional who will be taking care of you.

Living with an ostomy may present challenges, but with the right knowledge and a proactive approach, you can effectively manage blockages. It's crucial to remain vigilant and take prompt action in the event of a blockage, ensuring your continued well-being and peace of mind.


This blog is provided for informational purposes only and cannot be considered medical advice. Referring to this document does not create a doctor/patient relationship. The information is solely for the purposes of assisting you in being informed when speaking to your doctor. This information does not replace medical advice from your healthcare provider. You should always speak to your healthcare provider to obtain advice about your medical condition.

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