Research Studies Regarding Irrigation

A forum devoted to "Irrigation" - a procedure that may be helpful for some people with left-sided colostomies.
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Research Studies Regarding Irrigation

Post by FogKH »

Hi Fellow Travelers -

I am a 59 year old female with a permanent left side colostomy the result of surgical trauma residing in the US. I have had my colostomy for 20 months and have been irrigating for 4 with great success/satisfaction. The improvement to my quality of life as an ostomate that has come through irrigation is really significant, as I am sure many of your have also experienced.

I am coming to the board and this organization to learn more about whether there are and if there are not, why there are not, more long term studies about irrigation? I knew nothing about ostomy until I woke up with one. I live in the NE of the US and I am a patient at a major big city teaching hospital. I did not learn about irrigation as a way to manage my colostomy from my surgeon or my wound ostomy nurse. I learned about 10 months into my life as an ostomate, via a FaceBook group. It took me another 6 months of ruminating about it before I took the necessary first step of contacting my surgeon to learn if I would be a candidate for irrigation. And once I had my training with my wound ostomy nurse, I was off to the races!

Part of that 6 month ruminating period was me trying to learn about irrigation; trying to understand it as a process and wondering if it was safe. In my opinion, the information was pretty scant. Even now, actually more so because I am so happy with it, I cannot understand why it is not an option that is presented to every eligible ostomate with colostomy. During my training session with my ostomy nurse, she said that very few of the patients in clinic seek out irrigation training. Now, I really like her and I truly appreciate all that she did for me at some of my hardest times, but it seems like the answer to her observation is that no one is telling them about irrigation!

Where are the studies of ostomates and irrigation? Are we invisible? Does no one care to know how irrigation impacts our health and quality of life with an ostomy? Is there anything that we can do to increase interest?

Thoughts, insight and personal experiences are welcomed.
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Re: Research Studies Regarding Irrigation

Post by steiconi »

I didn't get any training; I watched a YouTube video I found in an online search. Doctor had already said I could start irrigating six months after surgery, so I ordered supplies and gave it a whirl. Still 'gatoring 7 years later.

I am not my disease.
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Re: Research Studies Regarding Irrigation

Post by darick »

I didn't learn about irrigation until this forum, and eventually more in depth at the 2013 UOAA conference. Been doing it since, its a lifestyle change for the better. Wish I had learned about it sooner (like 13 years sooner).
Ewings Sarcoma: 1996; G-tube: 1997; Cecostomy: 1998-99; Colostomy: ~2000; Irrigator: 2013-
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Re: Research Studies Regarding Irrigation

Post by Zenobia »

I'm 75 and have been irrigating for 14 years now. Safe? Yes, indeed! Far safer (for me) than having a colostomy and NOT irrigating! Egad, those blowouts I had at the beginning (before I had healed enough to get the how-to instruction from the hospital wound-care and ostomy nurse) -- those blowouts were terrible ... and happened so randomly, I didn't feel "SAFE" leaving the house. Irrigating gave me my LIFE back!
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Re: Research Studies Regarding Irrigation

Post by Mikem »

I found out about irrigation on line prior to my surgery and knew that was the route for me. My understanding is at one time it was a recommended practice for a colostomy. However by 2006 it had fallen out of favor for what I believe are financial reasons. Those online resources have mostly disappeared.

My personal opinion is that in addition to the yuk factor, irrigators do not spend as much on ostomy supplies and so the practice in not supported by the industry. My WOC nurse knew of the practice and was able to show me but only had one other practicing patient. Without industry support to drive down costs and promote research it may be a disappearing practice.

I suspect there are social media platform out there for ostomates but don't know any for Gators. If there was one, I might actually join. But probably not.

As far as I know this is the place to get the best information about irrigation. There are medical studies which can be tracked down for a cost, the industry does not promote practice which reduce costs so I am guessing no one is funding any more irrigation research or development. It has alarmed me that traffic on this sub-forum has decreased so much. However having "found my way in this gator life" I have had less need to participate. It bothers me a little bit the not even Dave or JimBob has commented on your post, but life is busy and some of us are slowing down.
Colostomy, A/P Feb 2006 for Stage 1 CRC
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