Colostomy Irrigation - Stimulate Bowel Movement

Some colostomates may consider irrigation as a means of management. The purpose of irrigation is to stimulate peristalsis (the wave-like movement of the bowel) thus promoting evacuation of waste material (faeces) remaining in the bowel. For those people suited to irrigation it allows them the freedom of not wearing a bag; instead a small stoma cap with a deodorising filter to allow for the escape of gas is usually worn over the stoma. People who irrigate must have a descending or sigmoid colostomy (most of the large bowel remains). Before your stoma nurse teaches you irrigation your surgeon’s approval will be needed.

The equipment consists of an irrigator bag (the container for the water) with tubing and a soft, rubber cone; long bags (sleeves to use during the procedure), a face-plate and a belt.

  • A sleeve is attached to the face-plate and the belt holds this in position over the stoma.
  • The irrigator bag is filled with about 1 litre of lukewarm, clean, drinkable water. The clamp should be turned off.
  • Be comfortable - sit on the toilet or stand, which ever you prefer, with the base of the irrigator bag level with the top of your head.
  • Run the water through the tubing to prevent an air lock.
  • Remove the stoma cap or plug and wrap up for disposal
  • Insert the tip of the cone gently into the stoma.
  • Allow the water to run in SLOWLY (5 to 10 minutes).
  • Remove the cone. Relax and allow evacuation to commence. The sleeve can be folded up and odd jobs around the house attended to, the expulsion may take up to 45 minutes.
  • Wipe and dry the area around the stoma with toilet paper and apply the small stoma cap.