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After a colostomy you can expect to feel better and stronger each day, but you may get tired quickly at first. Your belly may be sore, and you will probably need pain medicine for a week or two. Your stoma will be swollen at first. This is normal.
You may have very loose stools in your colostomy bag for a while. In time your stools may become firmer, but they will be less solid than before your surgery. You may also have a lot of gas pass into your colostomy bag in the weeks after surgery. This will decrease as you heal.
How quickly you get better depends, in part, on whether you had a laparoscopic or open surgery. But you will probably need at least 6 weeks to get back to your normal routine.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: August 11, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kenneth Bark MD - General Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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