If you follow me on Facebook and twitter, you may have seen that I have had a blockage in my stomach for the past couple of days. It started with crampy stomach ache and a realisation that my ileostomy bag had not been filling as it usually does, it was very empty and the stuff coming out was watery and dark. I was sweating and nauseous and feeling terrible.
I have had this before and recognised the symptoms of a blockage (or bowel obstruction). This is when something is preventing stool from passing through the intestine in the normal way. IA Support uses an analogy of a garden hose to help explain what is happening when you have a bowel obstruction.
“If you stand on a garden hose, water cannot pass through it. The tap keeps pumping water into the hose but it cannot get past your shoe. Soon, as the pressure from the tap continues to pump the water, the portion of the hose above your shoe starts to expand and swell up with the backed up water. If you do not remove your shoe, the pressure inside the garden hose will cause it to break open and leak. The same principles apply to your intestine.”
Signs of a blockage can include
- Swollen stoma
- Distension of the abdomen
- Minimal or no stoma output
- Cramping and pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Dry mouth, decrease in urination
You can find out more on their site, I knew I didn’t have a full blockage as I was passing some stool but I mentioned it to my stoma nurse who reminded me of how to relieve symptoms at home and so I thought I would share them here. (Via IASupport)
A bowel obstruction or blockage is a serious condition and you should not ignore it as it can sometimes turn into an emergency situation. Always get in touch with your stoma nurse if you can’t relieve the symptoms or if you are in a lot of pain, passing no stool at all and vomiting.
I am happy to say that my blockage passed at home with me using the above treatment, plenty of fluids, hot tea, heat pads, a bath and gentle tummy massage. Though now I am left a bit exhausted and drained, I was wondering why but I think it may because I haven’t been absorbing all the vitamins and minerals over the past couple of days.
I know we all like to have a google but just remember that the internet is not the best place for medical advice, speak to your stoma nurse or doctor and listen to your body.