An ileostomy is a temporary or permanent stoma that happens near your ileum, which is of course the lowest portion of your small intestine. This helps the solid waste along with gas exit your body without going out to your rectum, and then it’s collected in a pouch.
If you’re curious, the small intestine is your small bowel, and this goes from the stomach to the large intestine. The large intestine is where your rectum and colon is. The small intestine will digest the nutrients that are there and absorb them directly into blood vessels. Usually fats, proteins, and carbs are all absorbed here. The rest of the food which can’t be digested will move into the colon. The colon then absorbs the water from your waste and stores them until the bowel movement is done.
You may get an ileostomy if you need to bypass or avoid a part of the large intestine because it is blocked or damaged. You may also do it if the large intestine needs to be removed. It also will happen if you have a ruptured colon, which causes an abdominal infection. Certain cancers also may require and ileostomy, and if you have a pre-cancerous condition, that may require it.
Most people will only need it for a few months, and these are far less permanent than the other ostomies. However, for some it may be permanent.
You can get a standard ileostomy, which is called a Brooke ileostomy. This is where the small intestine is pulled through your right lower portion of the abdomen, and secured to outside skin, and you will have to wear a pouch to collect the stool which moves through there.
A continent ileostomy, which is one that doesn’t require you to wear a ostomy bag which collects. These create a pocket along with a valve near the end of the small intestine, and you will then use a catheter a few times a day to drain this.
Finally, you have the ileo-anal reservoir, which of course is called a pelvic pouch or a J-pouch. This is a pouch that’s created, and it’s connected to the anus, and stool can then be passed through there to the anus.
So when you get this surgery, it usually starts with a cut to the abdomen, or small incisions to help reduce pain and recovery time. There are some risks though with this one. You may have some bleeding int the small intestine from this. it may cause damage to nearby organs, infection, problems with absorbing nutrients from your food, and some intestinal blockage from the scar tissue there.
Recovery from this can be up to 2 months, with people staying in the hospital for up to a week after the procedure. During this, you will have to limit what you want.
Usually, if you do have a temporary one, you will still have to wear pouches and such, but usually you will need a reversal and closure once the intestine has healed. The surgery can happen about 12 weeks after that.
Until then, you will have to wear an ileostomy bag and detach and learn to drain the waste, but that is simple once you learn how to do it.