All About Ileostomies


Did you know that approximately 1 in every 500 people in the UK has a stoma1 with 36% having an ileostomy?2 That’s around 64,000 people. April is Ileostomy Awareness Month, so we’ve put together some advice, resources and product recommendations for anyone with an ileostomy.

First things first, what is an ileostomy? If you’re an ileostomate you’ll already know but for everyone else here’s a quick explanation.

An ileostomy is when a stoma is created from the small intestine, also called the ileum. Someone with an ileostomy will need to wear a bag over their stoma to collect waste as their small intestine no longer connects to the large intestine and rectum. The output from an ileostomy tends to be quite loose because a lot of the water that we consume by eating and drinking is absorbed by the colon or large intestine which follows the small intestine. Someone with an ileostomy will often use a stoma bag designed especially for this type of output, with a drainable outlet at the bottom so the contents of the pouch can be emptied into the toilet. They are often referred to as drainable bags.

Stoma bags are designed to be worn 24/7 and many have advanced features such as the Aura Plus range which has medical-grade Manuka honey in the hydrocolloid flange which may help to promote healthy skin around the stoma. However sometimes people can experience sore skin caused by output leaking from the stoma onto the skin. Leakage can happen because the hole in the stoma bag is the wrong size. This is easily solved by remeasuring the stoma and making sure the hole in the stoma bag is cut to the correct size. Leakage can also be caused by the area around the stoma being uneven or if the stoma is recessed or retracted and so doesn’t stick out. Using a stoma bag with a soft convex flange like Aura Plus Soft Convex can help bring the stoma out further into the pouch making leaks less likely. You can also use a flange extender like HydroFrame to provide extra security.

Sometimes the skin can become sore due to the stoma bags being repeatedly removed, as the flange can pull on the skin causing damage. There are silicone medical adhesive removers like CliniPeel available that can make the removal process much easier. Also, before applying the stoma bag, you can use a barrier film, such as CliniShield Advance, which adds an extra layer of protection to the skin.

If you’d like to know more about products for your ileostomy you can book an Appliance Use Review with a Stoma Care Nurse. They’ll be able to advise you on any appliance, product or clinical issues you may be having and can check if your stoma and the surrounding area is healthy.

Having an ileostomy shouldn’t prevent you from exercising and there are exercises that may help reduce the risk of hernias around the site of the stoma, known as parastomal hernias. If you’re looking to get active, we’ve got some free guides that can help. Try our breathing and movements guide or our yoga guide to gently build exercise into your daily routine. If you’re looking for something more advanced, try our gym exercises guide. Remember to check in with your doctor before you start a new exercise routine and don’t push yourself too hard too fast, if something doesn’t feel right, stop.

Staying hydrated while exercising is important and particularly so for ileostomates unless they are advised otherwise by a medical professional. Without a large intestine, less of the water you ingest is absorbed, making it easier to become dehydrated. So, don’t forget your water bottle when you hit the gym. Hydration is also an important part of maintaining a healthy diet. Some people worry that an ileostomy may mean their entire diet has to change. Even though your digestive system has changed your diet may not need to change that much or at all. If you’re looking for more information on diet and hydration for ostomates, try our free diet and nutrition guide.

We hope you enjoy our free guides, and if you’re interested in finding out more about our products you can visit the CliniMed website. If you have an ileostomy or are supporting someone who does, you can find lots of helpful information on the Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Association website.


1 University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, Information about what to eat with an ileostomy [website],,initial%20weeks%20following%20your%20surgery, (accessed 21 March 2024).

2 N. Rolls, L. de Fries Jensen, F. Mthombeni, V. Vardanega, J. Håkan‐Bloch, N. van Hest, and T. Karlsmarik, Healthcare resource use and associated costs for patients with an ileostomy experiencing peristomal skin complications, International Wound Journal, vol. 20, no. 7, 2023,, (accessed 21 March 2024).

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by SecuriCare Team