Stoma Blockages

An Ostomate with an ileostomy or Colostomy should learn some important tips and emergency signs to manage their stoma in case of a blockage.

Foods high in fibre may cause a problem. All foods should be chewed slowly and thoroughly. In the case of a new stoma foods should be slowly added back into the diet and watch for reactions as different foods affect people in different ways. You also need to stay well hydrated with 8 – 12 cups of water daily.

Eating large amounts of foods at one time may not be digested properly and cause a blockage, this could become an emergency if not managed correctly.

Signs of blockage are constant spurting of liquid or a watery stool, feeling full or bloated, cramping, swollen stoma, nausea and vomiting, the problem with blockages are that the intestine could rupture, and you could become severely dehydrated.

It is important to remember the following points if a blockage is suspected:

  • Don’t eat solid food.
  • Consume liquids such as Water, Coke or tea.
  • Avoid use of laxatives.
  • Cut the opening of your pouch a little larger than normal as the stoma may swell.
  • Massage the abdomen and the area around the stoma as this might increase the pressure behind the blockage and help it to “pop out.” Most food blockages occur just below the stoma.
  • Lie on back pull knees to chest and roll side to side.
  • Take a hot bath for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • If those steps don’t work and the conditions persist for more than 2 hours or if you start vomiting.


To prevent blockage in the first place you should chew food slowly and thoroughly, eat small amounts of new foods and limit high fibre foods.

Beware of foods that are known to cause blockage problems such as corn, celery, popcorn, nuts, coleslaw, coconut macaroons, grapefruit, Chinese vegetables such as bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, raisins, dried fruit, potato skins, apple skins, and orange rinds.

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A colostomy is an operation to divert one end of the colon through an opening in the tummy.


An ileostomy is where the small bowel is diverted through an opening in the tummy (abdomen).


It is a surgical procedure which diverts the normal flow of urine from the kidneys and ureters into a surgically created stoma.

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