Diverticulitis and Bowel Rest

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I recently underwent surgery (Sept 3) for Complicated Diverticulitis. I have a temporary colostomy bag and have some symptoms that make me feel anxious. I won't have surgery until next year after my bowels have healed (4-6 months).

So I am hoping that one or two people have experienced what I am going through.

My doctor said that they stapled off the part of the colon where the 4 abscesses and ulcer were so the waste wouldn't travel through. So basically those issues potentially still exist but he seemed confident with this approach. He explained that I might still have waste exiting from my god given behind but that was normal.

What comes out cant really be called a bm it looks more like light tiny particles of diarrhea and I have alot of clear fluid coming out, sometimes before I can get to the bathroom.. At first it only happened a day here or there and now its happening daily. It is also very ammonia smelling which I find concerning. I did have a small amount of blood one or two days but that has stopped. I spoke to my surgeon and he isnt concerned.

My other problem is now I also have extreme back pain. I have stopped taking pain meds but I either have to be on ice or heat it hurts so much. I dont really want to go back on pain meds.

Those are the big issues I will leave off the other smaller less frequent ones.

Has anyone experience these problems while bowel resting? Did you have abscesses too? Anyone have severe back pain after? If so did anyone try physical therapy for the pain?

Thank you for listening❤


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10 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Rhonda,

    I had an abscess rupture which led to an emergency surgery that got me my temporary colostomy, which will be reversed in the next couple weeks, and I am mildly freaking out about 😃

    I did have to go to physical therapy for back pain, but I've had back surgery in the past for a herniated disc, but physical therapy works absolute wonders for back pain if you stick to it and don't stop improving.

    I also had liquid a lot at first (or not solid stool) and still actually do 8 months later, I'm not sure what exactly causes it in my case, but this can lead to essential nutrients not being digested from food and you'll want to hydrate with vitamin rich sports drinks for potassium / electrolytes to avoid getting dizzy. This is very important.

    You will find the bowel movements will be so weird, mine changes between solid chunks / tons of tiny bean sized solid chunks / glue like consistency / liquid, I'd be very clear on how to use barrier rings (the glue like rings you put around the stoma before the bag) to ensure you don't have bag leaks.

    Be very familiar with how your bag sits when properly resting on your skin, as this will help you find if you have a bag leak that is (grossly) apparent and have fecal matter laying on your skin, as this will cause weeping skin which makes the bag not stick and this is just a nightmare of a cycle to deal with!

    I however have not had any food restrictions since my colostomy, it took quite a long time to get comfortable with emptying and change it.

    ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING - Do not change your bag more than every 2-3 days at earliest! Noone had told me this until I got a superficial skin tear caused by changing my bag too regularly from going to the gym, as I'd sweat so much and then shower I figured I'd just change it every other day.

    It was a nightmare for me to go through my tear as it was the hottest summer ever recorded this last year with 90% humidity, so I also got some sort of rash or infection while I had this tear, and was in the ER weekly for awhile because the tear wasn't healing / getting bigger / I was getting fever and it could have possibly been a serious infection or sepsis.... Just an absolute nightmare.

    Though you will have it over winter, you are very fortunate in the way you will be able to wear coats / sweaters until you can get it reversed so going out in public should be too bad, and it should be dry air to keep the risk of skin rashes or infections pretty low.

    Be sure to keep it on no longer than maybe 4-5 days, as you will want to clean off your stoma to keep it healthy, and make sure everything looks good. I tend to push stool down in my bag once it pops out so its not just sitting on the stoma, but found it can cause bleeding on the stoma itself which really freaked me out when I first saw it. It was verified that it was probably due to me pushing stool off my stoma causing to rub against the sides of the bags opening and just kind of being rough on it.

    These are all things noone had told me before they booted me out of the hospital, feel free to ask any other questions and I'll answer what I can, the time will go by in no time til your reversal and hopefully you aren't freaking out about that like I currently am 😃

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    • Posted

      Also just to add my colostomy experience was nightmarish mostly because of the summer weather being SO hot and humid, I couldn't tell if the constant 100 degree 90% humidity week long spats were an infection or just being overheated and the skin rash would not go away because of the constant humidity.

      So your experience should be much better than mine in terms of not having to deal with constant humidity / weeping skin making your bags fall off / dealing with a skin tear while trying to not change bags that are falling off due to humidity and skin rashes / etc.

      It was just a nightmare, so glad to have this over soon.

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  • Posted

    Sorry for spamming your thread I am unable to just edit / append my posts, wanted to actually answer your original question that I very much advise getting yourself a 4 pack of "glycerine" suppositories during your colostomy bag time, as your back side will make sewage and it can turn into basically a glue stick.

    Meaning it can get very hard to push out without dilating the rectum with a glycerine suppository, as it can become literally as hard and sticky as an actual glue stick, and I personally would rather suppository myself than risk blowing my butt hole out or something.

    I learned about glycerine suppositories the first time I tried pushing sewage out since my emergency surgery, and couldn't get it out all the way that night and had to wait to buy a suppository, it was not a fun night :\

    So yes that is normal, however I'd get suppositories for this natural whatever it is that builds up in the rectum while idle!

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    • Posted

      HI Rommon,

      Thank you for all the great advice! I am going to check in with my surgeon tomorrow and I will ask him about suppositories and I am going to try to get a prescription for physical therapy on my back. One thing that concerns me is that my last CT scan showed no improvement with the abscesses and ulcer so whats exiting in my lower colon is probably alot of that. However I wonder why they dont do some diagnostic test to confirm progress...? Did your surgeon do sny follow up diagnostically after colostomy?

      I bet you are really ready to get the reversal and yes I am anxious about that as well! When is your reversal?

      Thank you for taking time to help me feel supported and less alone!

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    • Posted

      I would definitely be asking about the abscess, I remember when I was in the hospital I kept saying I felt like I slept on the TV/Nurse call remote, I thought that was related to the abscess they removed. I'm sorry to hear you have one as well, I'm surprised they wouldn't try to drain or remove it when doing the colostomy!

      I have my reversal a week from Thursday, it's been such a long road I am ready for the next phase in getting better for sure but I'm just terribly worn from all the emergencies and almost dying, I am praying to whoever is listening that I recover with no complications and can live a normal life after!

      I did sometimes request the surgeon to look at issues like the skin tear and skin rash, but mostly the ostomy nurses regarding issues with the colostomy itself as the surgeon basically cut all the bad stuff out during surgery.

      Let me know if there are any other questions I can help with!

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    • Posted


      I am so sorry it sounds like things have been really hard on you and quite scary. I think as humans we have a need to be in control and being sick puts that need to the test.

      I am really happy to hear in just over a week you will be that much closer to feeling healthy again. I recommend that you read DanielBenjamin posts because he had a successful reversal and welcomes any questions you might have.

      The reason they didnt fully address my abscesses is a long story but bottom line is the drained the initial one but 3 weeks later I had 4 more as well as an ulcer and they didnt improve on any of the 5 antibiotics they had me on. I plan to address alot of what I mentioned with my Dr. and hopefully he will have acceptable answers for me.

      You will be in my prayers and thoughts and please keep us posted on your recovery!

      Stay positive you are strong, that is obvious!

      Stay in touch.


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  • Posted

    My bag type and surgery would different to yours. I had an ileostomy and the waste was very fluid . I had no problems with the bag at all, I did need to go into hospital for a couple of days though to be rehydrated because I got dehydrated because the type of bag I had. But I did have some stuff coming out of my back passage very occasionally it was hard and Gluey and it was very infrequent. I did have severe back pain after my bowel resection surgery and after my reversal .I had it for quite a while it just eventually goes away butI did have to stay on pain meds for quite a while but yes I did have the same kind of back pain. It's really unpleasant.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the heads up here on the back pain, I know surgery is unique for everyone, I wish someone could just say you will go through A, then B, then C exactly like everyone else.

      However surgery and outcomes are all unique, so I am coming to terms with the fact that I am just going to need to go do it, and see what is happening when I wake up from anesthesia :\

      One last surgery, I really hope!

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    • Posted

      Hi Rhiannon,

      I understand the ostomy types can be very different. I think the reason I am starting to feel my back pain more is because I quit the pain killers over a week ago. I really dont want to go that route unless its only way. I found that I had some withdrawl effects that were unpleasant. But I guess it comes down to the lesser of two evils. I am supposed to go back to work full time in less than two weeks (part time at home now) and I am a sales rep who drives to calls. I have already tried short drives and the back is not good!

      So I hope I can get it under control. About how long did your back pain last?

      Thanks again for your support and guidance through all of this!


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    • Posted

      My back pain lasted for quite a few months. I know what you mean about you wish that they could predict what's going to happen but with our disease unfortunately that's not likely. .I've had nausea the past few days and to be honest I'm a bit fed up at the moment. with that in the urinary symptoms that come and go it just never ending. I thought the hernia might be causing some of these symptoms but from what I've read I don't think that's what's causing it. Anyway enough about me I think you should probably still be taking some sort of pain relief. I know it's difficult and I know you do get withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop but sometimes I just think it's necessary. Could you maybe ring your surgeon or will you be seeing him soon?

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