11. Food Blockage (As Related to an Ileostomy)

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Patient is able to identify potential complications, preventive measures for, and management of, food blockage (as related to an ileostomy).


A food blockage is an accumulation of undigested food particles in the intestine, which are not able to pass through the ileostomy.

There are specific signs and symptoms of a food blockage which patients need to be taught:

  • stool may change from semi-liquid to liquid
  • amount of stool may increase
  • ileostomy may function almost continuously
  • stool may have a noticeable odour
  • abdominal cramping or pain
  • abdomen may feel bloated
  • nausea/vomiting may be present
  • if blockage complete – no stool will be passed


If signs of a food blockage are present, the patient should be taught to:

  • walk, or assume a knee-chest position
  • massage the abdominal area
  • take a warm bath or shower
  • drink warm fluids
  • avoid food


If symptoms do not subside within a few hours, the patient should be encouraged to go to their local Emergency Department.

Food blockages are often resolved with IV hydration, nothing by mouth, and time. A bland, low fibre diet with increased fluids is encouraged for a few days following a blockage.

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