air drying your barbie butt

And then I blow dried my arse… 

There are many things I never thought I’d say, and living with IBD has given me the opportunity to say many of them. I surprise myself at times.

Since having my latest op, I am dealing with a most peculiar wound. I now have, what is commonly known amongst people who’ve had this done, as a Barbie Butt.  During surgery, the doctors removed EVERYTHING from ‘down there’, I have no colon, no rectum and no anus.  My ass is like Barbie’s… as in no holes, it is not quite so pretty though!

A few years ago, I would have never in a million years told the world this, I would have been mortified.  I would have felt embarrassed and sad and humiliated at the thought of other people knowing this.  What if that laughed at me? What if they talked behind my back? What if they thought I was gross?

These days, thanks to this blog, I share everything.  I know that I am not alone and that there are so many people going through the same things as me.  I know there a millions of people living with all manner of illnesses and disabilities that society would deem embarrassing and so I think fuck it! If me talking about taboo subjects and things that are giggle-worthy helps just one person, then I will happily blab about my life.

barbie butt permanent ostomy

So anyway, this Barbie Butt…

Well, I literally no longer have a bum hole, it is sewn up completely, but bum holes don’t really like being sewn up completely, it confuses the hell out of the brain and body and so it can often be difficult to heal.  It is really quite sore, it’s not very nice to sit flat on my bum, it is painful, itchy and like any wound, takes time to settle down.

I think I am quite lucky at the minute, because apart from the soreness, I have had no issues.  I know some people have an awful time and need drains, have abcesses, stitches opening and all manner of nasty problems.  My stitches are all dissolvable and the worst part has been having the district nurse look at my bum twice a week.  Some people have stitches that need to be removed, some have staples or even have the wound left open to heal from the inside out.  I can obviously only talk about my experience.

It is quite intriguing though, it is one of the first things that family or friends have asked about since the op, with one (very weird) friend asking to have a look.  It is a bit of an oddity isn’t it! I did have to get a mirror and have a peek once I got home!

I have been scouring the internet for ways to relieve the pain and discomfort of the barbie butt and then got an email from a reader in Australia called Amanda who has had the same surgery as me.  She recommended salt baths and then using a hairdryer to dry the area…

I had to try it and I have to say, it seemed to work quite well, which is how I have ended up here writing about giving my arse a blow-dry!

sam cleasby author so bad ass sheffield

I thought I would share some tips on relieving symptoms in the recovery of Barbie Butt:

Using a donut cushion or an inflatable cushion.  Some people say not to use a donut as it puts more pressure on the area, but I found it really helped.

Sleeping on your side, if possible

Keep it clean.  Shower, bathe, bidet, whatever works best for you.  Avoid soaps and scented products.

Salt baths

Using a hairdryer (on cool and low!) to dry the whole area.  You’re not going to want to be drying it with a towel and it needs to dry.

Getting some air to it! Going without pants/pyjamas at night (if possible) so the wound isn’t constantly covered and sweaty!

Speak to your nurse or doctor if you are worried about anything.

Take painkillers, keep on top of your pain levels

Give yourself a break.  You have had major surgery and need to give your body plenty of time to recover.


As always, I have no medical training, these ideas are what I have tried or what others have suggested.  Do speak to a professional if you are at all worried about anything to do with your wound.



Sam xx

9 replies
  1. Georgie
    Georgie says:

    I had two fistulas removed/laid open/butchered (!!) in April 2015 and it still has not healed so kind of know how you are feeling! Any advice from anyone who has had similar? 🙂 love reading your blog Sam but I must admit it makes me talk about my bodily habits a little too much and I often forget not everyone wants to know 😉 x

  2. Marie
    Marie says:

    I did all that with my episiotomy scar many years ago, and then with my piles op…I could often be found relaxing at home in very strange positions, having quite normal conversations 😛

    I salute you x

  3. Maddie Walsh
    Maddie Walsh says:

    I’m so sorry you had to live with this disease, I know from friends and acquaintances that it is devastating to live this way.
    Fortunately we know more about autoimmunity and diet these days. Many have been helped by juicing and eating raw whole foods.
    If you have not already, try researching (google): “ulcerative colitis raw food diet”
    There are so many testimonials of ppl cured of their autoimmune disease, and now live normally with no drugs or surgery.
    Best wishes, to your health.

  4. Rinse
    Rinse says:

    Hi Sam, I always read your blog but dont always comment, but I wanted you to know that all your musings/ rants/info are fascinating reads and always appreciated. Keep soldiering on, and I hope life in the bum department will be improving for you from now on. Lots of love xx

  5. Katy Leckie
    Katy Leckie says:

    Blow dries are pretty essential here too, with my own incontinence issues (bladder rather than bowels) plus a rather loose, uneven pelvis. I clean so often, it can get sore just from drying. And it definitely gets sore from constant wetness. Products can irritate it. Cool air is much gentler than a lot of other things.

    Side sleeping is an art btw. You need pillows. Different sorts for different things. Padding for your hip underneath, something to hold your knees and ankles at a comfortable angle to avoid strain on your pelvis and back. Something to support your neck and head. Something to hug to keep your shoulders from hunching. The right sheets and pyjamas to make moving more effortless as switching sides is usually essential through the night to avoid straining one hip or the other. I found a bed handle worth it’s weight in gold, you can control turning better and put less strain on your lower body that way. I’ve not been able to sleep on my back for ten years… and now find sitting upright rather painful too. Can’t tell you how much pillows have been absolutely essential to allow for pain relief and healing.

  6. Christina Blake
    Christina Blake says:

    Great blog. Love it and so rang true to me as I too have a barbie butt. Mine took a couple of Ops to heal and then I had nearly three years where even though it healed for about 4-5 months it would then get sore and infected again. I started using chlorhexadine (spell) just on that area when I felt it starting to itch or get sore and it worked a treat and has been fully heard for the past two years. ??.

    Thanks again for putting your butt on the line and raising awareness. Good on ya. ?

  7. Holly
    Holly says:

    I was told not to sit in a bath until after the visceral sutures dissolve in 4-6 weeks, bath water gets dirty and full of bacteria and grime that can get in the surgical site. It is very difficult to shower the area with the hose I have because the pressure is too much and can’t be lowered, my portable bidet only cold water and also pressure too high. I do use a hair dryer though even after a new bag change to seal it better.

  8. Pam
    Pam says:

    Hi Sam I was in the bed opposite you in Sheffield just a few days ago you were next to dora my name is pam can we keep in contact I was wondering when I could have a bath as I’m getting sore down below

    • sam
      sam says:

      Hi Pam, sorry for the delay in coming back to you, I have only just opened my laptop since surgery, its been a tough time! I think I had a bath once I was home with some salts in it to help with the soreness but do check with your doctors or district nurse! Hope you are recovering well xx


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