Understanding Ileostomies for Crohn’s Disease

ostomy bag for Crohn's disease
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the digestive tract and can lead to the need for an ostomy. Cheryl Hutton, wound, ostomy and continence nurse with CHC Solutions, Inc., highlights who is affected by Crohn’s and provides information on an ostomy.

Learn more about who is affected by Crohn’s disease from the Chron’s and Colitis Foundation:

  • IBD affects an estimated 3 million Americans. Men and women are equally likely to be affected.
  • Crohn’s disease occurs mainly with adolescents and adults between the ages of 20 and 30. However, it can occur at any age.
  • Studies suggest IBD has a genetic association. However, it is impossible to predict who may get Crohn’s disease based on family history.
  • Also, Crohn’s disease can affect people from all ethnic backgrounds. The disease is most common in Caucasians, though the rates of Crohn’s disease has increased among Hispanics and Asians in recent years.

Ostomy Treatment

There are three main treatments for Crohn’s disease:

  • Diet and nutrition
  • Medication
  • Surgery

Specifically, one form of surgical treatment for Crohn’s disease is proctocolectomy. This is the removal of the rectum and colon, also known as the large intestine. This type of surgery results in an ostomy.

The specific type of ostomy may be an ileostomy. This is when the end of the small intestine is brought through a small opening made in the abdominal wall (stoma). This diverts waste into an ostomy bag.

Ileostomy Information

  • The stoma will be about the size of a quarter and protrude slightly from the abdomen. A healthy stoma is pinkish in color and appears moist and shiny.
  • An external ostomy pouching system will attach to the stoma. Also, one should wear it at all times to collect waste.
  • The typical site for an ileostomy is the lower abdomen to the right of the belly button, just below the beltline.
  • Some patients may still feel as if they need to have a bowel movement after their surgery. This is similar to when individuals who have lost a limb sometimes still feel as if the limb is still there. This is normal and called phantom rectum.
  • It does not require any treatment and often subsides over time.

Finally, to learn more, visit our ostomy blogs page here.

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.