11. Food Blockage (As Related to an Ileostomy)
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.