Dealing with blockages

March 30, 2009

Intestinal blockages are a common complication after having ileostomy surgery. With the intestines rearranged as much as they are, they are bound to get kinked from time to time. In this video I discuss how to recognize blockages and what to do when you have one.

I had a temporary blockage once and it was very painful until it cleared itself.

Keep fighting,


Question: Have you ever had a blockage and if so, how did you clear it? Reply to this post!


  1. Hi guys
    Still having problems with blockages and pain. I have a hernia above where the stoma was too, took them a year to diagnose this. Anyway, i had a blockage 2 days ago. I did my normal routine, massaged the area, warm bath, went for a walk and also hot tea and hot water bottle in bed and it did clear overnight. Now i’ve got real bad pain on my right hand side just below where the stoma was. I’m able to go to the toilet but it’s definitely slower than normal. Also when i get the pain there is a lot of gurgling sounds in that area. Also it smells really bad when i do go to the toilet. I’ve tried repeating the above for 2 days but the pain is still there. So i’m after some advice, what do i try now??? Obviously if i can’t fix it myself then i’ll take a trip to the hospital but we all know these things can sometimes just fix themselves almost as quick as they started.
    Let me know guys, in a lot of pain right now :(

    • Hi Ashley,

      You have a lot more strength than I do when it comes to blockages. I would’ve gone into the hospital by now! If you are still in pain, and things haven’t resolved themselves after 2 days of all those attempts, then I think it’s time to check out the ER or call your doctor.


      • I think i’ll pay my Doctor a visit tomorrow. The pain is getting better but it’s slow going. I think it’s because i stopped the loperamide as soon as i got the symptoms of the blockage and everything is flowing more freely. I’m thinking it’s a kink or something. My consultant wants to do a pouchoscopy after christmas prior to the surgery to fix the hernia, i’m assuming it’s to make sure everything is ok there before opening me up. If there’s any issues with scar tissue or kink’s or twists then i’m sure he’ll see it.

        Last christmas i got this exact problem. Blockage for a short duration then i had the same pain afterwards. Difference being i put up with the pain for nearly a month last year. My Doctor told me there was no danger and it will pass. Hopefully he doesn’t say the same thing this time.

  2. Feeling very emotional reading all of these posts. Lots of sympathy and understanding, which we don’t get from the surgeon. I had my surgeries to remove my colon and rectum and get a W pouch 18 years ago. For the next 5 years I had many blockages and needed laxatives and pain killers until it eventually passed (always within 24 hours). Initially I would go to hospital, but after the first few times I kept a supply at home to treat myself. I learnt to avoid the problem foods (nuts, mangoes, mandarins, oranges) and the frequency lessened. Then 13 years ago whilst 7 months pregnant with my first child I had a total blockage. It turned out I had adhesions and had surgery to remove the adhesions. They had to get the uterus out and remove the adhesions and then put it back in. They stapled me up and my daughter was delivered 2 months later. I was terrified for my baby, but she is now an amazing 13 year old. I then had no problems for 13 years and was even able to eat all my problem foods (and lots of them), so obviously it was the adhesions that were the issue all along. When I had my second child I had to go on a liquid diet for the last few months of the pregnancy and threw up a lot and in the end had to sleep sitting up. But after delivery all was fine again. Then 4 weeks ago the old pain returned. I tried to make it through the night until I could get the pain killers and laxatives when the chemist opened, but couldn’t handle the pain. Went to the emergency department, then admitted, then 2 days of tests and throwing up and pain killers, then surgery. There was a kink in my intestine (but no adhesion). Surgeon has no explanation. I have no idea what to do to stop it happening again. Finally on the mend now.

    • I think i have finally found out what’s been causing my blockages. I went for an MRI which came back clear, i had a side effect tot he drig they gave me which made me restless and constantly alert for 4 days. Then i went back to my doctor who said i had a lump above where the stoma was. He think’s it’s is a hernia and it’s pushing down on the join between the puch and the small bowel. I have been refferred back to the original consultant who did the operations and hopefully they can sort this out quick and i can get back to normal. I’ve had this for about a year now and get blockages at least once a month. It’s bloody horrible.

  3. Thank you Ash for your answer… in fact yesterday I went twice for a walk and felt better than the day before….and I am trying to eat soft foods as three weeks into the surgery I do need to watch out what works and what does not….. but I like your advise

    • I have had my ileostomy since 1975. In the past 10 years I’ve had more and more frequent obstructions…more so in the last 5 years. Lots of questions as to why….is it food, eating too late, too long between meals, travel, stress???? Went through upper endoscopy, ileoscopy and all is normal. Doctor has suggested having a CT scan during the ‘event’…sadly, these are always in the middle of the night. Typically during a rough bout, I vomit which eventually releases the situation, then the diarrhea starts, sometimes requiring IV to gain some fluids. Now I’ve learned that I should insist on a ‘non-contrast’ CT scan next event to determine where the blockage is occurring and hopefully determine a solution, ie, surgery. Not looking forward to that but need to find a solution as these bouts are so exhausting and painful.

      Wondering if anyone out there has had a similar experience and if you had luck resolving and how.

      Beyond that, I’ve been extremely fortunate with my stoma over the years and grateful for it! Ellen

  4. I finally found out what was causing the blockages. It was vegetables. Now i’ve switched out certain types for others like instead of having peas i have mushy peas and instead of carrots i will mash them with suede (nice with melted butter).
    This caused me 6 blockages in 5 months and i went for an MRI and they found nothing. It may not be the vegetables, it may have been something else but i haven’t had a blockage for nearly 2 months so something has worked.
    I just want to say that for all you people that are having blockages, get out and excercise. It works wonders, trust me. Even if it is just a half hour walk just do it everyday and you’ll find you’ll have less blockages and you’ll fell better. This is probably the best piece of advice i can give anyone in this situation.
    So happy right now, everything is getting back to normal and i can finally get on with my life. Thanks for all the advice given here, it has helped me no end and good luck guys ;).

  5. hi everyone, I had my ileostomy in 2011 December and had the J pouch surgery in 2012 December and on June 3rd I had the last connection Surgery…..Yesterday was the most pain full day since after the surgery….I don’t know if it was a blockage but I kept like I had the urge to go to the bathroom but nothing would come out and it was very sore so finally I tried using some ice and then using some meds for from CVS for hamorroids which finally started working and but midnight everything started working so I don’t know what it was but I will be seeing my doctor next week….will ask him….but thanks guys I got a lot of advise from everyone and I used to watch Dennis’s UVlog which actually gave me the courage to go through the two surgeries.


  6. I have a J-pouch for many years. Was plugged once really bad.
    Since then I STAY AWAY FROM LETTUCE, Corn, Nuts & any other
    hard surface or textured food!

    Also, the doctors do not want you to know that your diet influences your condition, EVEN IF familial(genetic).

    PARASITES ARE DANGEROUS and could potentially be what causes some of the pains people have. Eat GARLIC, APPLES & Wormwood tea!

    Be aware of your body and take control, do not trust every doctor!
    Get second alternative opinions. The body can heal if in an environment that allows it to do so.

    I say this with love for my fellow brothers and sisters.

    Stay strong & Love Life

  7. Comments on what to do about blockages–Hey! blockages are very,very serious health issues. You do not want to mess around with a blockage. Are you aware that within a matter of hours-if you have a complete blockage-it can be fatal.

    I had a blockage yesterday, first time in several months and I could tell it was a serious one.Even taking pain management meds that I am on, plus extra for breakthru pain I had taken the max I could take per instructions from my pain management DR. So I had to go the ER. They would have done a complete workup, CT scan, xray, etc but I told the ER doc that I thought if they could give me shot to relax this one might go away–but I was having serious doubts. At 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon I was given a 4 drug cocktail of morphine, muscle relaxers, etc injected in 3 separate shots with needles 1 1/2″ in hip. In about 30 min finally got very sleepy, etc., The effectiveness of the shot lasted for about 5 hrs. The pain-it is the most extreme pain I have had in my lifetime that includes childbirth and numerous surgeries–the pain feels like a “charley horse” that you get in your leg but you cannot walk or massaage this one out. continued for another 10 hrs. In addition to shots at ER when I got home I rub “icy hot” over abd & my back (since pain radiates into my back) and put heating pad on. Sit in recliner–do not lie down completely–you need to be sitting up to a certain degree. My husband stayed up with me until past 2 am. Since I have been thru this literally thousands of times over 50 yrs plus I have developed a “gut feeling” (no pun intended) regarding how seriuous problem is–is it complete blockage or partial? In my case (I do not offer this as scientific data for you to determine your own situation) I can determine to a certain degree how serious–can you hear or feel any movement in your intestine? Any gurgling, movement of intestine, passing gas or belching? if so, it probably is almost complete but not to the point of shutting off blood supply to intestine. If you DO NOT hear or feel any of those things and you have nausea and/or vomiting you had better get to the ER fast.When you start vomiting that is a definite go straight to ER, do not stop at the drug store!

    The reason that my problem has gotten to this severe nature is due to supposedly the “go to” GI docs having completely given the wrong diagnosis for past 50 yrs. I have celiac disease–my husband figured this out, not a doctor. I cannot tolerate gluten, lactose, sugar or anything that gives a glycemic spike such as honey, syrup, That also means no sweet coconut (it has added sugar) no whipped topping, no whipped cream,cool whip,etc-some may not have lactose but they have added sugar. I can only use sugar that diabetics use. Plus I cannot eat anything that causes gas, brocolli, cabbage,onions,no raw vegetables or fruits–apples, lettuce.If I had been correctly diagnosed and had not continue to eat what my intestine saw as poinson for 50 plus years my intestine would not be in this mess.

    So I have listed some things that help me heating pad,etc but if you have a blockage that does not go away within 8 hrs or so you had better get to the ER. Cutting off the blood supply for a matter of a few hrs can result in a dead part in yoiur intestine that will have to e removed and can result in death, if not properly treated.SO DO NOT MESS AROUND WITH TRYING TO SELF DIAGNOSE. I know that it is difficult to determine “is this bad enough to go to the ER?” Just remember this can be fatal, just like a heart attack. In fact, some of my doctors-now that my husband has figured this all out and we have told them what is wrong–tell me that it is like a heart attack in your intestine. It is possible that you are not getting any blood to that part of your body.

  8. Thanks for sharing that Dennis. Reckon I may have been miss diagnosed with food poisoning! Feel much better now anyway thank goodness :)hope you are keeping well. Claire

  9. Im not sure what you mean to click Gustavo. Im not bery good on the comp or in these forums. I love helping people. Ive been sick since I was 23. I got married at 22 and had ulcerative colitis at age 23. Very unfortunate. Im now 37 and ive been through it all. I have a j pouch to. I try my best to give anyone the rite info. I dont eat popcorn,and corn,and much more. There are so many excellent source of foods that will help you have energy and keep you healthy. Avocados eat as many as you want all day. I don’t eat apples and just chew and orange don’t eat the inside. Eat only egg whites not the yellows. Just let me know what any of you guys would like to know. I will do my best to help you guys. God Bless

  10. Please tell me some more dietary tips. I think I need to do something different. I’ve been sick all day.

    • Well I don’t really know how your feeling and what kind of sick you are but when your stomach hurts stay away from dairy products until you are feeling better. Thats because dairy products will cause more inflammation. Do you have diarrhea? If so taking a pain killer like vicadon or norco will slow down your bowel. Let me know how your feeling what kind of sick you are.

  11. Hi, I get on this forum everytime I have flare ups. I am hurting really bad right now. Wish there was a quick fix. I have been dealing with this for 17 years. I know once it starts, the whole day goes down the drain. Plus today, i found out something on a mammogram I just had. I have to go back again. Wish me luck.
    Sheila in Alabama

    • I wish you the best. Having a j pouch aint easy. I have had one for 6 years. Try not to think about it so much. You will be fine. Let me know how your appointment went. Do you take cipro when you get a flare up. That helps me in about 5 hours after I take it. Take care best wishes.

    • Sheila, I’m praying for you! Keep trying the heating pad and hot tea, that has made a difference for me daily. It seems weekly I need milk of magnesia to make sure things are moving through. I know it’s hard and you just want to live your life. Find things you enjoy to balance this out.

      • Guys I have had a j pouch for 6 years and have not had a blockage yet thank god. I have a diet specialest that gives me a daily diet and i don’t get any blockages. The most important thing is to eat oatmeal for breakfast everyday. Its not tasty at all but thats the key. If you want any help on your diet just let me know and i’ll give you a list of foods that may help you. I hope my info has helped you. Bless you all.

        • I would love to hear some dietary tips! I used to eat oatmean everyday, but had 2 obstruction surgeries and it doesn’t do well anymore. But would love to hear what your specialist tells you! Thanks :)

          • Yeah sure thats fine i’ll tell you the foods that will really help you. You will feel strong and very energetic. Just one thing do you have a j pouch and if so how long have you had it for.

            • I have a j-pouch and have had it for 18 yrs…ooh that was hard to say.lol I had 2 obstruction surgeries in 10 months and that has thrown me off completely. The hot tea and movements of yoga have helped a lot! Thanks for your suggestions :)

      • One great thing to have when you are hungry is peanut butter. I get up in the middle of the night and eat a few spoonfulls of peanut butter. That a very good source of protein. I dont drink milk because it will give me diarrhea so in place of that I take 2 tablets of calcium everyday after lunch. Baked potatoes is excellent to have when you are hungry during the day. A light protein shake also an hour after each meal. I don’t eat any kinds of nuts because they dont crush enough and then that will cause dia

        • Thanks will try those things. I love peanut butter and baked potatoes.

  12. I have a j pouch and have had it for about 5 years. For a few days now the scar where my stoma was has been shaking inside. It is not painful but just very scary. It shakes for 10 seconds then stops then shakes again and this happens all day. Can anyone experienceing this problem give me advice. Thank you so much.

  13. I am 26 and got my pouch back in 2009/10. In 2008 i had my colon completely removed and had an ileostomy. Then just over a year later i had a second operation to fit an internal pouch and in 2010 i had a third operation to connect the “pipework” and do away with the ileostomy.

    Since then i have had 2 blockages. One was very minor and cleared itself within a few hours. no sickness, no pain, no nothing.
    Yesterday though i started feeling a cramping pain in my stomach then the vomitting came. I tried to withstand the pain up until about 5 am this morning when i went the A&E. I was made to wait for 4 hours in the waiting room before i was seen.
    I believe the blockage has cleared itself now as i am much better than yesterday and am passing very watery stool.

    I have a question though. The next day after having a blockage can you still have minor pain in the stomach, minor cramps maybe once an hour and feel a bit sick??? That is how i feel now.

    I have read through everyone’s replies and watched the video and i now have a few ideas to try and help out next time i have a blockage. (hopefully not)

    I am now very tired, even walking around the house is tiring but i can’t sleep due to still feeling sick and having slight pain in my stomach.

    • Hi Ashley, I’m sorry to hear about how you are feeling. After I’ve had blockages I am sore and tired for a few days. I eat foods that are well cooked and will pass through easily until the intestine can rest and recover. Use the hot pad and hot tea, hopefully that will soothe you and give you relief. Rest, and give yourself a few days. Praying you are better very soon!

    • One one occassion when I was sore the next day I ended up being fine. on another I ended up going to the hospital. My advice is to be careful that next day.

  14. Hi guys, I thought I’d give you my two cents worth:) Maybe it will help someone :) I have a j- pouch and deal with many blockages on a regular basis. Sometimes it really gets me down. So nice to find this site and know that I am not alone.

    I drink all the time. After every meal I take at least 2 cups of water. I also take Epsom salts in tea. If I feel a blockage coming on (pain in my intestine) I start to drink fluids until it no longer hurts. Sometimes it means that I can drink up to 4 litres all in one go. Sometimes I may have to continue drinking the next day. Once I feel the pain go, I then go back to my normal diet and drink Epsom salts and tea after every meal plus more water. It can take up to a week to get the blockage out but it doesn’t hurt anymore.

    I had Crohns/Colitis and was saved by a naturopath after I had the surgery as my health was extremely bad. She taught me that we need good bacteria in our intestine to get them to be healthy. Intestinal bloating and gas can be as a result of a lack of good bacteria. Antibiotics and things like Cipro take the good bacteria out and stop the j pouch going. Hence you may find that it is just not working properly anymore when you try to go. The solution is to put the good bacteria back in. You can do this through probiotics or by fermented food like water kefir. I have never had pouchitis and I believe this is why. After doing my own research I have come to the conclusion that a lot of ailments are caused by bad bacteria in our bodies taking over. These bacteria can cause digestive problems such as acid reflux. The solution is to put the good bacteria back in control.

    I also found that I am allergic to wheat and dairy and don’t make that part of my diet.

    I find that I can’t eat red meat or bananas or apples or rice or pasta because it will block me up. This makes it difficult to have a normal diet but I try. I eat a lot of sweet potato. I tried to get a job but had to give it up because of the constant bowel obstructions that I was getting because I was not able to drink enough during the day. The adrenal fatigue also caused problems for me. I hope that my info helps someone :) It is terrible when you are suffering all alone :(


  15. I am so happy to find you all . . . this is a lonely disease, as are most diseases. I had a total colectomy, with temp. ilealanal anastomosis (which didn’t work and had to be siphoned), and then a J Pouch, followed by 6 small bowel obstructions. I now have 5 ft. left of small bowel, and taking Rowasa enemas for pouchitis and “UC” (don’t know if it is the ulcerated rectum, or perhaps crohn’s in the pouch . . . new doctor and could be misdiagnosed). Anyway, I am waiting for the biopsy results from the ulcers in the pouch, which was done two weeks ago. I have a week to wait and I am pretty anxious. I hadn’t had Rowasa enema since before original surgery; only had been given cipro for pouchitis following surgery. I am concerned. Any thoughts?

    • Sally, so sorry to hear about your struggles! I encourage you to keep on your doctors and if they aren’t helping you or finding the answers, keep looking! I found taking dairy, liquor, and sugar, berries, and seeds from the diet helps take away inflamation from the pouch and other problems. Hot teas such as ginger and peppermint are good for the digestive track too. Don’t feel lonely, there are many of us out here!

      • Wow…I learned so much here. Thank you and God Bless. sally

  16. Hi everyone, Thank goodness I found this site. My husband has had a j-pouch for 18 years. He has had diarrhea and has to take immodiam, kaopectate and metamucil to name a few. He too has had blockages off and on. Usually they have resolved in a few days. Three years ago he had to have surgery for adhesions and gall bladder. Was supposed to be in and out same day surgery. The adhesions were so bad the surgeon couldn’t remove the gall bladder, he just worked on the adhesions. He ended up in the hospital for almost 2weeks. He had an illeus, which means his bowel wasn’t working. His surgeon finally had to knead his belly and put him in all kinds of positions to get it moving. He has been doing well since up until 2 weeks ago. He had a blockage for 4 days until it finally opened up. He didn’t want to go to the doctor as he thought he would put him in the hospital. Yesterday he started with another blockage. He was throwing up and in a lot of pain. I found this site and found out about the heating pad and hot beverage. He used the heating pad and had a cup of hot tea and within an hour he started to have bm’s. Today he is sore and washed out but is unblocked. We will do this at first sign of blockage in the future. I am sorry so many people have this problem, but thank heavens for the Internet and sites such as this. God Bless you all and keep posting.

  17. Have read many of your posts. No all. But I have had 3 exploratory surgeries due to blockages over past several years and I had not had any previous intestinal surgeries such as J-pouch,etc. First surgery report says “intestine gets a kink like a garden hose gets a kink”, latch intestine down in 3 places with metal clamps to prevent kinking. Surgery did not help in bit. On day 3 after surgery when I started eating toast, cream of wheat, milk–pain returned. Doctors blew off my complaints of pain. Same thing occurred after 2nd surgery that was to remove 18 inches of large intestine to prevent blockages. Pain started 3 days after surgery when I started toast, milk, cereal. Once again doctor just blew off my complaints. My lst surgery was in 2000 when my small intestine had a complete blockage. Hosptialized for 5 days prior to surgery with NG tube, xrayed everyday to assess progress. There was no progress–on Dec 26, 2000 (one month to the day after having had back surgery for a disk problem I had my third exploratory. Surgeon removed part of my small intestine “due to tissue that did not look good from having kinked on itself numerous times”. I was in hospital 3 wks this time. GI doc says that what no blocks in my small intestine. I do not have enough large intestine to kink–so he says. My problem is caused by excessive gas build up that I am not able to expell, etc. My problem is the result of undiagnosed celiac disease. I think that I have always had this because I hurt in my side when I was a kid. Of course as you age the more than pain increases. I have been to ER and admitted to the hospital so many times over the years that I have no idea but probably at least 50 times.

    My husband finally discover cause of my problem by reading on the internet—NO A DOCTOR–just my wonderful husband. So now I have found that I cannot eat wheat, milk products and to a lesser degree sugar. When I get just a pin head size of wheat or milk I start swelling, gaining up to 10 lbs over night. My whole body swells.

    Immediate relief I use heating pad and icy hot rubbed on stomach but my pain radiates to my back–in my hip and back. So this helps somewhat. I also have a pain management doctor and am on time realeased opiates medication with additional meds for breakthru pain. The ironic thing was I went to my GI doc after we had discovered what caused my problem. Expressed my somewhat anger about GI docs not finding my problem over past 40 yrs to nurse, which she relayed to doc. I was not blaming this doc–only gone to him since 2000 surgery. His reponse when he came in room was that I did fit the crieteria for celiac disease. I was shcoked, apparently the doc had not read the lastest criteria. Supposedly I am supposed to look malnourished, underweight, etc. Well I was when I first started my round of doctors back when I was 30 yrs old, 5’6 & weight 115 lbs. Now I am about 20 lbs overweight, look like the picture of health and even dress up when going to doc on my good days. If you want to see me on a bad day you need to be the ER doc where I go with no make, hair in a mess from having been in bed for 2 days in exruiating pain that feels exactly like a charlie horse in your leg except I can rub this out, walk it out. Nothing I can do but cry. So everyone try leaving off all wheat, no even a pin head sized amount, leave off all milk products and see if you improve. Even knowing all of this, being as careful as can be I still get cross contaimination cooking in my own kitchen because these alternate foods are very expensive so still good routine foods for hubby. If you use spatula to turn his wheat pancake and then use on your toast you are off to the races. So when I hear these people saying that they have cut back on gluten and don’t see any progress I almost get angry. If you want to really test this and if you are in enough pain believe me you will do whatever it takes. DON’T EAT A PINHEAD SIZE ITEM THAT MIGHT EVEN HAVE WHEAT OR MILK. You either want to get better real bad or you don’t. This is not an iffy situation–it is all or nothing. We no longer eat out, can not longer travel and if I still worked I would pack my lunch. Inconvenient–you bet. Is it worth all the extra hassle–you bet it is. I am still learning. Recently was still having days when I hurt. Hubby told me to cut out the Sprite–carbonation can cause gas. I cut out the Sprite. Went 4 whole days with no pain. An all time record for me to be without pain. Try the wheat/milk policy for about 2 weeks and see. You can always go back if it doesn’t work. I have not been diagnosed by an official method because I would have to go back on gluten for it to show up to be diagnosed. No way am I going to go thru that kind of pain just to prove to the doctor. I know what causes it and that is all that matters.

  18. This website is informative and usefull. I have had a J-Pouch since 1999.
    The first I heard of intestinal blockages was when I had my first in 2001. I have had several since with two of them resulting in trips to the emergency room. What I have learned is that course foods don’t stay in the digestational tract long enough to break down and can cause a blockage. Mineral oil and a heating pad is my home treatment unless I absolutely have to go through the hospital exercise of the NG tube, x-rays and a 24 hour stay.

  19. I too am grateful to find this site. I had total proctocolectomy and have had an S-pouch for about 7 years. I have a blockage maybe once a year, so I really connect with those of you speaking of the intense pain, and being awake for so many hours, and the intense frustration. Thanks for ideas about heating pad and bath–will buy a heating pad soon. I’m hoping what I have tonight is not a blockage. I feel funny wishing I have the stomach flu, but I’d be happy if I only had that, as the source of distress, and not a blockage. Good luck to all, and thank you for posting–it is a profound experience to see that there are others out there. Take care.

  20. My Husband is in the hospital right now with what used to be a full blockage, but now has progressed to a partial. He has had a j pouch for the last 20 years. A few times he had to be hospitalized with pumping of the stomach etc etc. This time seems to be so much worse, with the bloating and pain and only water coming out. He has tried everything that has been mentioned above and some, but still it is not recifying the problem. He is so worried about surgery and losing his j pouch and getting an illiostomy, it depresses him so much, lwe have gone that route in the very very beginning before the j pouch and there are problems with that too. The doctors don’t know what else to do either, He is on heavy doses of morfine right now cause of the pain, and scheduled for a barium on Monday. Maybe it is a kink…? He has already suffered well too much and depression is starting to sink in. It a mess!. He has been in the hospital for 3 days now.. how much longer do we wait before it gets too serious? No one seems to know how to handle these j pouches etc.

  21. Hi I am new here….I had a total colectomy with a j pouch 6 years ago and hae dealt with lots and lots of blockages. I was hospitalized for the first 4 but after that I have learned what I can do to get them through on my own….hot bath, no food or liquid, and massage with a massager. I even make myself throw up if it’s not moving and that usually releases the pressure to get it moved through. I am now unable to eat any solids at all without getting blocked. I have had a small bowel follow through and they saw nothing. I am going in to have a CT scan in a couple of days and pray they see something that is causing all these blockages. The site where I had my ileostomy bag and then reconnected is where I feel the pain….I can feel the food pulsating through my intestines. Does this happen to anyone else and if so what have you done to try to fix it?

    • I am so sorry to hear about your on going problems. I had to surgeries for blockages in 10 months, and the pain on one side would not go away. The doctor’s suggestions were not helpful so I started checking blogs and realized how easily the intestines get kinked. Elimination is very important. If I feel I’m not eliminating properly I will take milk of magnesia which clears me out. Most important and what has been most effective is doing yoga. Not crazy yoga, but hatha yoga. The pain went away after a week and has help the elimination and air move through. I find videos on youtube or buy dvd’s, but it has been such an incredible help. I hope you find relief soon, your body needs food, and throwing up destroys your esophagus. I wish you well and total healing!

  22. I’m sorry for everyone’s difficulties, I’ve been searching for answers too. I’ve had my J-pouch since I was 24 (am 43 now) and had a few blockages that I delt with at home. A year ago I went to the er and was told the blockage was due to scar tissue from the original surgery. 10 months later I had another blockage with scar tissue on the opposite side due to the surgery 10 months previous. I haven’t been the same since the last one. My pouch won’t eliminate properly and there is a constant pain. The dr says there isn’t anything there and the pain is due to having a large pouch that doesn’t eliminate and to use metamucil. I tried that, didn’t do anything and the pain and swelling is still there. First we all deal with going too often, now I can’t go enough or get the air out. I’m worn out from all the years of battling this! Does anyone know on a daily basis what will help move the bowels? My dr said one patient moves and contorts his body and that works for him. I know I need exercise, I’m too tired most of the time.

    • I had a total Colectomy 13 years ago, 5 surgeries and a year of wearing a bag (I was 32 years old) have been pretty easy to be honest. The original take down did not work and I had to have a bag (that was awful) but the J-pouch has been great. Recently I have been experiencing blockages, will be at the hospital tomorrow to have some tests done but I am dealing with it. In 2006 I was blocked but they could not find anything. Turned out I had a huge cyst on my ovaries and it was wrapping around my J-pouch causing me to be blocked. Removal of the cysts did the trick and I have been fine until about a month ago. I am in the medical field and although trying to clear small obstructions at home is okay if you begin to experience vomiting or small stool passing for more then a 24 hour period it is important you go in.

  23. I have had bloackages since I was 30 years old and I am now 72. I have had 3 exploratory surgeries for intestinal blockages. First surgery the Dr. stated that I was getting a “kink in my colon like a garden hose gets a kink in it” and he latched it down in 3 places with some type of clamp. It did not help at all. Next surgery a different surgeon took out about 20 in. of large intestine. That was in 1978-1980. Continued to have excruiating pain from blockages on weekly basis. The pain feels like a “charley horse in your leg but it is in your intestine”, In 2000 I had a complete blockage of my small intestine that required surgery and surgeon stated that he took out a small portion of my small intestine because it had kinked there so much that the tissue did not look good. I continue to have blockage and my GI doc says it is my small intestine because I do not have enough large intestine to kink. Aboout 2 yrs ago my husband and I figured out that I have celiac disease so I cannot tolerate wheat and also cannot tolerate milk products and recently have realized that I cannot tolerate sugar or any sweetening agent that causes a high spike and that will also cause a blockage but not as complete as the other foods cause.

    As far as intestinal surgeries I have only had the ones listed above. Have had gall bladder, hysterectomy and back surgery but nothing else to intestine. The pain is so severe that I have a pain management specialist and on a lot of pain medication which is the only way that I can continue to live a fairly normal life.

    Been to the ER so many times during my life that I cannot begin to count them. At least 20 per year in the past. Leaving off the foods that I am supposed to have helped tremendously but sometimes it just happens for no reason.

    Bear in mind that my husand & I figured the food thing out ourselves. When I told my GI doc what I had he said that the reason that probably had not been considered in past was because I don’t look malnourished. I am about 30 lb overweight but when I first started going to GI doc I weight 115 lb & and 5’6″–I think that looked a bit malnourished. Current information about celiac disease states that about 35% of patients are overweight which told me that, at least my GI doc was definitely not current on the ciriteria for diagnosing celiac disease. I really don’t think he has diagnosed one case during his whole practice. I have been sent to the best of the best–the “go to” doctor and he never one time checked for celiac even tho he ran every other test known to mankind. I have gone to approximately 15 different GI docs and specialist. Mayo clinic told my PA that they would not see me when he contacted them. Basically, because I had already been to so many Dr. probably they could not do anything for me. I thought that was what Mayo clinic did–was the difficult cases. Guess, they thought I was a crank case. You really have to be carefully when you are in this posiiton because it can get to the point that doctors will not see you. So much for compassion.


  24. Goodness, all I can say is thanks to all of you posting about blockages. I had a j-pouch created 15 years ago when I had a colectomy for UC. Things were great for 11years then I got Crohn’s. Life has been challenging but I make due, somehow. The last two months have been bad. My doc had treated me with anything and everything for a flare up but that isn’t the problem. I feel blocked. I bug him and bug home about this over and over so we did an MRI, I thought for sure they’d see a blockage but nope, nothing. I don’t believe it. I take Immodium! What I consider a lot of it but docs keep telling me it’s not too much. This is the first thing I am cutting out. I’m going to hit the sodium citrate and ennama’s grab a heating pad and relax. I suspect this is going to be like a scene from the Exorcist, me running back and fourth to the bathroom possibly screaming and pushing. Doc wants to do an endoscopy and to dilate my small bowles but I have had this done each year for the last 4 years and honestly, can’t do it. I hate being put under…and the doctor never sees anything and any reliefs I get from being dilated is never long lasting.

  25. I have had an ileostomy for 37 years with very few problems. In the past 6-7 years I have noticed an increase in bowel obstructions. In the past year these have occurred more frequently and finally sought medical advice last fall. The gastroenterologist had me go through an endoscopy and then an ileoscopy (scoping from the stoma up). All results were inconclusive. Was fine for 6 months and then two more obstructions within 6 weeks. X-rays and CT scan show no problem. In discussions with Dr.and surgeon, we are now looking at hydration. I am now consciously drinking more water, some pedialyte daily, etc. A well hydrated, plump intestine may be less likely to kink (or whatever it’s doing). Also wondering if aging may be a factor…I am 63. I am fit and healthy otherwise.
    Wondering if anyone else has experienced similar. These obstructions are very painful and exhausting.

  26. Hi everyone,
    This is Sheila again. Haven’t read any posts lately. Always glad to see I’m not alone. Since I’ve had my j-pouch I’ve gained about 40 pounds, simply because I eat to many sweets. Seems to be the only thing that doesn’t hurt. i really get tired of trying to figure out what to eat. I think gas i have, makes me think I’m hungry, so I eat and eat. Don’t know what it is like not to have a lot of gas and cramping. I go to Curves exercise everyday. That seems to help too. But usually don’t feel like doing much else after. Guess I’m lucky not to have had to go to er like so many of you have. Thank goodness. Everybody hang in there. You will have really good days and bad. I have learned to take as much advantage of the good days.
    Take care

  27. Hi, I have been reading all the posts. I have FAP a genetic gene mutation. Most of my colon has been removed but what is left is a mess. I have blockages all the time…I can’t hardly eat anything but mashed potatoes or drink protein shakes. I have been dealing with for 12 years and it seems to get worse with every surgery I have to have there after. I have had too many to count. But I hate going to the ER all the time and stay for a week. I stop eating or usually by this point I am throwing up. I usually do Fleet suppository or enemas. This usually gets my bowels moving. At this point it is nothing but water. But I have to take my pain medications to help deal with the severe pain it causes. After awhile I am able to drink gatorade without it coming back up. I hope this may help. Is no easy thing to have to deal with. My doctors told me there is no alot more that they can do for me. So I have to try and deal with this. Sometime I wonder if it is worth it. You can’t eat and you stay sick all the time. I have probably had over 20 surgeries in the past 12 years and it sucks.

  28. Hi,
    I am wondering if anyone has experienced what I have the last while. I had a total colectomy and j pouch surgery in 2006; 5 years ago. The last year I have had intermittent pain (not always that severe, but sometimes need to take 2-4 motrin to help). Another symptom is when I go to the bathroom, I sometimes have a pulling sensation around the scar area where my stoma was. Within the last 6 months, I have had bloating, extreme gas and pain above, below, and around my belly button. With this comes nausea, sometimes vomitting, and constipation. Then after the vomitting and nausea stop, I have a bout of very watery diarhea. I am going in a few days to be checked in my pouch and remaining 1 inch of colon I have left for any blockage. Anyone have any input for me?

    • Also, I forgot to mention that it feels like I almost NEVER seem to fully empty my j pouch.
      Thanks for any advice you can give me.

  29. Hello All!
    To start, i found this site in search of some help for my father who has a very similar story to many of you tough, awesome people here. I am so worried about my father who has been through a total of 5 surgeries. About 8 years ago my dad had an stomach wrap (nissen fundoplication) due to his acid reflux problems. A couple years later he started having bowel problems (small bowel). Come to find out he had a blockage in the lower intestine. He had the blockage removed and was doing great until the adhesions/scar tissure came. He has had them removed a couple times but they (adhesions/blockage) keep returning. Because of his wrap he cannot relieve all the gas build up or throw up/vomit he can only dry hieve, It is so sad. He has these episode and they seem so violent when he tries to throw up. On top of that, he has to deal with his blockage which is giving him so many problems. His doctor is affraid to operate because he is already so prone to the adhesions/scar tissue/blockage returning. The doc was also afraid to make things “worse”. I feel so bad for my father although he tries to keep in good spirits and pray, pray, pray for some relief. I will recommend some of the things i have read here to him, and pray something can help him. Does anyone in here have any other ideas, recommendations (doctor wise, personal wise), ANYTHING! He is so tired of being sick and losing weight, not being able to eat, always having to lay down to relieve his horrible pain! He is willing to try just about anything now. If you would like to email me please do so we can chat: adrienlopez103@gmail.com. Any advice of any kind is greatly appreciated. i will do anything i can to help my father!

    Thank You all!!

    • So I have been searching for awhile now and came across this website:


      anyone have any info on this? anyone ever tried it? Its all massages to rid adhesions.. Please leave your feedback on this…Just not to sure about it all..

  30. Thanks for the info about a blockage I soaked in a tub with a aromatherrapy that also warmed the and message my stomach it loosened some solid balls that were formed i was taking isotonic vitamins that you mix with water I found out people can get constapated there not good for people with jpouch

  31. Hi,
    As a result of being diagnosed with polyposis (too many polyps throughout my colon), I had a bowel resection surgery in March of 2008. That surgery caused so many internal adhesions that I had to have a second surgery to cut everything out and I got a j-pouch in April of 2008. I have been struggling with it, but doing pretty well (I still have a full time job). I have learned what foods to avoid and keep to a pretty strict diet of bland, low fiber food. I never had a blockage until 3 days a go – New Year’s Eve 2011. At first, I didn’t know what the matter was – I just thought I had an odd stomach pain, then a steadily worsening stomach ache, then cramping, and then the pain kept coming in waves until I was in tears and very frightened. I called my doctor and he told me I likely had a blockage and I should go to the ER. My friend drove me. On the way to the ER, I “googled” intestinal blockage on my phone and found this site. IT WAS SO HELPFUL TO READ EVERYONE’S comments! Thank you! I started reading this vlog site’s comments to my friend in the car as we drove to the hospital and by the time I finished reading them, the blockage had resolved itself. I am so grateful – I think reading the comments calmed me down so much that I relaxed enough for the blockage to un-kink itself. So, instead of going to the ER, we went home, and I took a hot bath, and my friend got a heating pad for me. I have been resting for 2 days and my guts aren’t exactly back to totally normal – but then they are never “normal” and I feel a lot better. Thank you everyone, especially Dennis for your calm, helpful advice.

  32. i know how you all feel. I’ve had my j-pouch 16 yrs next month. I have really bad days, some times for a week with no sleep. Then, on the other hand it will feel better for several days. I’ve learned what causes most of my problems with the awful gas and diaharia. Just something I’m used to now. i have not had to go the ER yet. Hopefully never will. When it hurts a lot. I drink anything hot, like hot chocolate, coffee, tea or a cup of hot water with honey and lemon. This works pretty well. I’m so glad there other people besides me that know what we are dealing with everyday. Have a wonderful holiday to all
    Sheila in Alabama

    • hello Sheila,

      I told my father about this idea with the hot water. I will let you all know if it has help him. i hope such a simple idea can help aid some of the pain. Thanks for all your ideas!

  33. I have had my jpouch for 17 years. Many minor blockages that went away with a little help from a mild laxative. Just visited the ER on my 25th wedding anniversary with severe vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating. I had not gone for three days. Thought for sure it would release on its own, but not this time. Had CT scan, flex sig, endoscopy, small bowel follow thru. Showed dilation of small bowel above my jpouch resulting in very slow bowel movements if any at all. Also had anal stricture. The surgeon stretched my pouch opening and that didn’t help except to allow tiny bms. Diagnosed a functional blockage which means my bowel is not working correctly, but not due to adhesions. Next, he is going to inject botox into my rectal muscles to get them to relax to see if that will eliminate the bowel dilation so I can poop properly again. Hope it works! At least I’ll have a wrinkle free rectum. Happy Holidays!

  34. I have a j-pouch fro 21 years. The last three I’ve had a blockage was in the hopital for that. I had test to show that there is a thining in the iliostomy area. I’m now suffering sloww bowel movements not as many blotting (bad for the last three years) stomach pressure.
    Went on meds for the pouchitis that worked then it came back in 5 days or so we thought. On meds again not getting better must be the blockage. I’m not eatting much trying to liquids in…it’s hard when you feel so full yet have some hunger. I have a test next monday to see where blockage is and xray the thinning area. Surgery maybe in my near future. My question to you all is do any of you suffer with dizziness, lightheadedness, confussion? Do any of you have issues with keeping hydrated? Thanks
    I’m trying not to freak out but I do cry at times over this.

  35. I have had the j pouch now for about close to a year now…i was sick with flu like problems and the symptoms they said i was having was pouchitis..so im taking cypro right now for it..but when i was sick i had watery bowl movements for 3 to 4 days strait..and when i started feeling better i started eating regular again but i noticed that i have not been goin as frequent as i used to before i got sick with pouchitis…i hope something didnt fail or is failing. i dont really feel pain, i think i feel discomfort but i might just be thinking to much about it..but for the amount of food im taking in i should be expelling it more than i am at the moment..only having about 2-3 small movements…so im freaking out because where the F is the food going then? Im stressed out bad, i hate living like this..anyone has any info on what it could be email me..but most likely i will be going to hospital in a day or two because im freaking out.

  36. I have had serious pain on my left side just below my rib cage and I believe this to have been caused immediately after having a colonscopy 6 months ago. My doctor was getting defensive when I questioned him, so after me giving it thought, I decided to find one of those machines where you hang upside down, w/ the thought of allowing my intestines to straighten themselves out and then fall into place as I became upright. I hung upside down for 10-15 minutes and in addition to my back feeling better, the pain in my somach has subsided. I would strongly suggest giving this a try. I feel great and the cure was free.

  37. Hi, I’ve been reading everyone’s post. So glad to hear I’m not alone. Some one that doesn’t have this problem can’t really understand.
    My stomach stays bloated all the time. i don’t think i have every had a blockage. Never had to go the emergency room. If I have trouble going, I will drink unsweetened hot chocolate. Any kind of hot liquid seems to help and of course the good old heating pad. Don’t know what I would do without it. i take bentyl, tradadone and zanax at night. That helps me sleep through the night. hope this might help someone else.

  38. Went to hospital and they did ct scan where it showed narrowing of top of J pouch opening. They did emergency suction with NG tube up nose and down my stomach…most uncomfortable thing i ever experienced…i gagged and cried for like 7 hours while it did help eventually it was torture to keep in my nose/throat/stomach. I pulled it out 3 times actually, so irritating and hard to talk with. Choking feeling -really horrible feeling.

    Tip: don’t let your blockages get this far… by eating on top of any kind of pain in stomach you are running risk-let your food digest carefully sitting and never laying down immediately after eating a meal.
    If you are not pooping the frequency you were yesterday that should be a big warning sign… know your body and how many times you usually go…my blockage felt like i completely forgot how to poop. It felt like a softball stuck on top of my pouch right above belly button. Stomach was very distended from air/acid pressure. That should be a clear idication that you are not constipated but either partially or completely blocked for whatever reason, kink in bowel etc…also Never eat your food too fast and dont eat too much at one time. Stay away from red meat and fruit seeds if you have a jpouch. This is what they pumped out of my stomach. It is not fun getting the contraction pain and vomitting from small bowel obstructions. If you throw up 1 time and you see green bile then immediately go to hospital ER… do not attempt to resolve this on your own past 24 hours mentioned here. As little as 3 days of not going to the bathroom when you have no colon can lead to a fatal rupture!!!
    Also, enemas do not work for any obstructions and could make things work so whoever said use enemas please don’t do that.
    Very serious if you do not get an NG tube in to relieve the air and acid in your stomach, the more acid build up in stomach can put a tremendous amount of stress on the bowel. Take care j pouchers and thank your lucky stars if you never got a blockage yet! notice i said yet, it pretty common for j pouchers to get these blockages.

  39. I’ve got the most painful and longest blockage right now, im debating whether or not to go to the hospital ive lost so much sleep in agonizing pain. I’ve tried everything mentioned on this page, from enemas, to magnezium citrate liquid to pills, to heating pads, to hot baths/showers to moving and bending in to the most akward positions, to massaging, to bear hugs from my wife to pain medicine to everything except go to the hospital. I don’t know what to do my surgeon is out of town for the next 5 days. This feels like a growing tumor inside my stomach, I hope it is not because my sister died from a stomach cancer. Pray for me all, and never i mean never let anyone you love take the dangerous drug accutane.

  40. Hi,

    Posted February 21, 2011 12:28 PM
    I am new to the site.
    I have had an S- pouch for 23 years. I have not had a lot of problems until August of last year. I keep getting partial blockages. I have been in ER and tested at the Cleveland clinic. The two test I had did not show a blockage, but I know it is a blockage from my symptoms ect. I use to be able to eat whatever I wanted, but now go on a low fiber and soft diet. It will open up, but then get worse again. I feel like I have a basketball in my abdomine, especially while I am sitting. The other doctor said just go on liquids when this happens. I feel alone because no one can tell me what is wrong.
    Has anyone else experienced this? I did have a bad blockage after one of my surgery’s and the test did not show a blockage then, but that is what they treated me for and then I was fine.
    does anyone know if there is any other test to check from a blockage other than xray and CT scan?

    • Hi Kelly,

      Sorry to hear about all your problems. I’m not sure what to tell you. Your doctors should be able to help you, but if you continue to have problems, keep bugging them until you get answers. As far as I knew the x-rays and CT scans were supposed to be pretty good in finding blockages. I haven’t heard of any other tests, but then again, there’s lots I don’t know about the treatment of this disease.

      I hope you feel better soon. You’ve had such a good track record with your pouch so far that it’d be best not to ruin it!

      Take care,

  41. First off I want to start off by saying that I am not a doctor… I have had a j-pouch since 2008 and many times I have had major blockage and ended up in the hospital for 2 and 3 days at a time (hated it)… I stopped taking Imodium, that seemed to help and started chewing my food not inhaling it and I also started paying more attention of what foods blocked the path… Since then nothing to bad for about a year now… On the rare occasions when blockages do occur it is not difficult for me to recognize when one is coming on… This is what works for me, but the key is to catch it early… Usually at the first onslaught of PAIN
    1. Use 1 fleet enema…
    2. Drink 1 small bottle of Magnesium Citrate (flavored) makes it easier to tolerate.
    3. Heating pad on painful area.
    4. Find a quiet place to lay (on back) and breathe through the nose out the mouth.. RELAX
    5. Wait for the enema and Magnesium Citrate to take effect… And believe me they will,the enema will take effect first and after while the Citrate will take over and for me that is when the relief truly happens:)
    Again, I am not a doctor and this procedure is something that I came up with on my own… So please be careful if you choose to try this… Or ask your Physician first if this is OK for you to try…


    • You’ll have to talk to your doctor about flare up medication. People with Crohn’s disease often still take IBD medication as they still have the disease, but people with ulcerative colitis often don’t take IBD medication because their disease was basically eliminated when the colon was removed. The pouch can still get infected, called pouchitis, and you take antibiotics for that, not immunosuppressants. Again, talk to your doctor to make sure.

      For soreness, my doctor recommended creams with zinc in them. The zinc does something to actually heal the skin.

    • Try using Calmoseptine Ointmint. You can get it at Walmart for $7.99 a tube. (4oz.) On-line will cost you $10.00. I put a small dabb of the cream/ointment around and inside my anus and it stops the burning and itching. And by doing this at every movement, it coats/layers onto the skin for protection everytime you have to use the restroom. It saves me alot of unnessary uncomfortable moments. I carry a tube with me everywhere I go.

      • Sorry, I mean’t to say you can the the Calmoseptine Ointment at WALGREENS

  43. Thank you for sharing!!! I am so thankful that my husband is not alone in his problems. We are at wits end. His surgery was 8 years ago & his problems seem to be escalating.

  44. I haven’t tried meat tenderizer. I will give it a try. I am hurting right now. Wish there was a quick fix. Does anyone have a suggestion?

  45. 5 weeks ago my husband had an iliostomy and had a rough time, intestine wouldn’t work ,in the hospital 3 weeks. In emergency already. Has a narrowing in his intestine plus not behaving and eating stuff he shouldn’t. Anyway our nurse told him when he has a blockage to drink hot/warm tea and put a measuring teaspoon not one you use to stir, of meat tenderizer in it and of course drink it. It worked the first time and am hoping it works today.

  46. I HAD J-POUCH 13 YEARS AGO AND HAVE HAD SO MANY PROBLEMS. i’ve been scoped so many times. It is not pouchitis. The pain is almost always in the upper left side of the abdomin under my stomach. Sometimes there is so much gas it flutters up in my chest. Right now my belly is so swollen and sore. I was scoped last year my colen rectal doctor. all he gave me was hysocosmine. doesn’t help much

  47. I’ve had j-pouch for 13 years. Have so many problems. I have been scoped so many times. The doctor says it is not pouchitis, which already knew that. I hurt most of the time in the upper left side under my stomach. The gas gets so bad it is unbearable. Wish know what to do.

  48. Thanks Dennis!
    I have had a j-pouch for a little over 8 years. I started having serious blockages about 2 years after my surgery. When it first started, I averaged up to 4 ER visits a year due to blockages – and they were mind numbingly painful. Each time they took x-rays, there was a kink in my intestine. It took a while, but I have learned how to head off the blockages before they become a problem. It is now rare for me to get in a situation where I need to go to the ER. While it may not work for everyone, here is what I find works for me…
    As soon as I start to feel any kind of pain that might even be related to a blockage, I immediately
    1) Stop eating. This includes both liquids and solid foods.
    2) Put a heating pad on my stomach at the highest heat I can tolerate. (I have a spare one at work and always bring one when I travel)

    For some reason, this works well for me. When I asked my surgeon about it, he said it makes sense because both will help relax the the intestine which will help it un-kink. The earlier you can relax the intestine the easier it will un-kink. This is one of the reasons why when you go to the ER and they give you pain meds that it helps to clear the blockage – the intestine can relax.

    The one exception to my two rules: If I sense early on that it is a strong blockage, I might make an exception to take a prescription pain medication which will also help to relax (and provide pain relief!). If I wait too long though, it won’t have a chance to digest before it gets too bad.

    After the blockage, it is also a good idea to stay on a liquid diet for at least 24 hours in order to give the body a little relief in recovering from the trauma. Purple grape juice is good for clearing out and speeding up the intestine flow. Also, I stay away from bananas and rice for a few days because they have a ‘slow down’ effect.

    • Thank you so much for sharing! I have gone through the same thing, and have also found the same things helpful.

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