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How many bowel movements should you have after an ileostomy reversal?

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Quick Answer

Patients may have many small bowel movements, called clustering, after an ileostomy reversal, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The rectum, which holds stool, is smaller after the surgery and cannot hold as much waste, so clustering occurs. Post-surgery irregular bowel movements are also due to large intestine inactivity.

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Full Answer

During the first few weeks after surgery, patients may need to take pain medication while their bodies heal. If patients experience constipation as a medication side effect, stool softeners such as docusate sodium help relieve colon pressure, explains Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Taking fiber supplements and drinking lots of water also aid bowel function. As the body recovers, the rectum stretches and clustering subsides. However, months or years may pass before the rectum reaches full capacity.

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