How to Do Colostomy Enemas

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Some people with colostomies choose to irrigate their bowel in order to relieve constipation or to avoid wearing colostomy bags that they fear may leak or make “passing gas” noises. This is not the right option for everyone with a colostomy, and you should discuss it with your doctor before trying this procedure. Your ostomy nurse can help you order an irrigation kit.

Things You'll Need

  • Coloplast irrigation bag (has temperature meter and flow gauge)
  • Irrigation cone
  • Drainage bag
  • Elastic belt
  • Bath towel or loose-fitting sweat pants
  • Stoma cap

Fill the bag with warm water to about 16 oz. (½ liter), checking the temperature gauge. The water temperature should be about 94 to 100 degrees F. to avoid cramping.

Let some water run through the tubing to remove any air.

Close off the water flow valve.

Hang the irrigation bag at a height of about 6 feet.

Connect the drainage bag around your abdomen using the elastic belt, with the hole at the top of the bag positioned in front of the stoma.

Insert the irrigation cone through hole in the drainage bag into the stoma. Some people use some lubricant on the cone; discuss this with your ostomy nurse.

Release the flow valve.

Sit on the toilet and wait until the water passes through the drainage bag into the toilet.

Remove the cone.

Let the bowel evacuate through the drainage bag into the toilet.

Remove the cone from the stoma.

Turn down the top of the drainage bag and close it off.

Wash off the cone, and let the last bit of water out of the tubing.

Sit on the toilet for a few minutes as the bowel continues to empty, flushing every once in a while.

Tuck the bottom of the drainage bag under the belt with the opening facing up. Wrap the towel around you waist or put on some sweat pants, and relax someplace comfortable. Empty out the bag when there is an evacuation.

Remove the bag once the bowels are finished evacuating; put on the stoma cap.

Tips & Warnings

  • The whole process takes about 45 to 60 minutes. You can use the control valve to slow or stop the water flow if you get uncomfortable or crampy. The cones and drainage bags are generally able to be washed and re-used; ask your colostomy nurse about this.
  • Be very careful not to use water that is too hot. The stoma has no pain sensors, so you would not feel it if it were burning!

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