Rectal Discharge after Ostomy Surgery

Why do I still have the urge to go to the bathroom?

People with a loop stoma (an ileostomy or colostomy that has two openings), or a type of colostomy called a Hartmann’s Procedure, may pass mucus through their anus while they have their stoma. With these surgeries, all or part of the large intestine is bypassed so stool no longer passes through it.

Mucus in the rectum

Even though it is being bypassed, the lining of the bowel continues to secrete mucus, which is something the intestine does to help stool pass through more easily. Mucus can build up, and create the feeling of needing to pass stool through the anus. The frequency and amount of mucus drainage is very individual, ranging from several times per day to once a month to no mucus drainage at all. The mucus passed from the anus is usually clear or putty-coloured and sometimes it can be brown.

Dealing with rectal discharge

Most people deal with the mucus drainage by sitting on the toilet when they feel the urge and gently bearing down as if to have a bowel movement.

If the amount of discharge is bothersome, talk to your Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy & Continence (NSWOC) or physician about strategies to manage it.