Q:

How do you irrigate a colostomy?

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Quick Answer

To irrigate a colostomy, insert a flexible catheter into the stoma before holding the irrigating bag above the stoma and draining warm solution into the stoma. After a few minutes, drain the fluid through outlet tubing into a toilet or basin, notes TheFreeDictionary.

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Full Answer

The catheter should not go more than 3 inches into the stoma, and it is ideal to hold an irrigating bag with one-half to 1 liter of warm irrigating solution about a foot higher than the stoma, letting the fluid run slowly through the stoma. If the patient experiences cramping, clamp the catheter for several minutes before starting the flow again, recommends TheFreeDictionary. After the fluid sits in the colon for a few minutes, the next step is to drain it into a commode or basin using tubing. Drainage takes between 30 and 45 minutes, and if the outward flow is slow, it helps to move back and forth or lean forward.

After the drainage finishes, it is time to clean, rinse and dry the skin around the stoma. In cases where the patient is dehydrated, he might retain some of the fluid, explains TheFreeDictionary. A nurse usually shows patients how to do a colostomy irrigation in the hospital so they are able to duplicate the method at home.

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