Living With Irritable Bowel Syndrome And A Colostomy

Jay Hyrons

Many people see me as an adventurer and they’re right. There is nothing I like better than travelling to far off, distant shores. I have realised recently though how much stoma life has knocked my confidence in daily living.

Since I started doing motivational speaking it has become apparent that my life revolves around this hole in my abdomen much more than I realised. 

It also has become apparent that when you are trying to inspire others, honesty is a must.

How can we inspire someone else if we appear to be flawless, beaming with confidence and discussing a lifestyle they feel they can’t possibly achieve? The answer is we don’t. We inspire people through honesty and being open about our difficulties, trials and tribulations. By being human.

One of the first rules of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is, ‘If one person can do something, then anyone can’. 

For example, one of my favourite analogies is that, ‘No one can climb Mount Everest in a pair of trainers.’ But it is true that if one person can, anyone can and motivating people comes from honesty, not from making yourself detached from others.

All my life I have had bowel problems, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). I’ve been through the excruciating pain of inflammatory bowel disease and a bowel perforation and, yet, I can assure you that IBS is actually way more painful than many people realise. 

The pain I can live with, the thing that affects me these days is fear.

With a stoma there is no control (and I take my hat off to those living with ileostomies who have even less than I do with my colostomy, I think you’re all awesome). Most people see me as a gutsy broad and though I am, incontinence has been hell to learn to live with. That’s because of the IBS you see; there’s no consistency to my output no matter what I eat.

For sure it’s true that with a colostomy you can eat almost anything, though lots of veggies (particularly certain types) will give you windy-pops. However, it’s only recently that I’ve realised how much I run my diary around my stoma because of the IBS. Doctors appointments, speaking, the gym, going out. 

It has worked up until now. I spend most mornings writing either my blog or my book. With IBS it’s important not to rush around when your bowel is trying to work as it will stop if you do. On those days when I must go out, it will of course work again later when it’s less convenient. Those things aren’t the problem though.

Having IBS means my bowel works at totally different speeds. 

One minute it’s slow, like a slug, another it’s rhythmic and normal, and the next like a fountain! This means that leaks happen, and I haven’t quite got my confidence with them yet, has anyone? I rave about my Aura Flushable, it makes me feel as safe as anything could. On those bad days however, even superglue wouldn’t keep a bag on, and I don’t have the courage yet to ‘wing it’.

Public speaking is something I enjoy, but especially so at a Patient Meeting. I know that if there was a problem it would be the one place where people would understand. 

The next goal for me is to build the courage to live my life the way I want and not at the mercy of this most unwelcome hole in my stomach.

I watched a video a while ago, it was an experiment where people were filmed trying to poo in front of their partners. Everyone found it hard to do. I have always liked to do my ablutions in private! I remember when my grandson was little and he would go to the corner of the room to fill his nappy, yet some babies quite happily grunt away anywhere. I guess we are all different, for me not having any control over who I do a pop or a poo in front of is a tough one.

Let’s see how I get on!

“The next goal for me is to build the courage to live my life the way I want and not at the mercy of this hole in my stomach…” - @justjayhyrons

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by Jay Hyrons

Jay Hyrons

About the author

Hi I'm Jay. My stoma was unexpected and very much unwanted, in fact it still is. I am a qualified Clinical Personal Fitness Trainer and a former National Champion Bodybuilder. After eight abdominal surgeries I am still Hernia free. You can see the video made in partnership with CliniMed here Core Exercises to help prevent Hernias and you can get other fitness tips on my YouTube or follow me on Instagram.

Recent Comments

  • Vicky Holland

    Hello Jay, I know how you feel since I had my illeostomy my life has turned upside down, for fear of leaking bags etc! I also like yourself have other illnesses so it doesn’t help, but this is very hard. They say you will get all the help you need after surgery to be honest unless I phone my Stoma nurse I don’t hear from them and feel quite alone! Let’s be honest it’s a massive change in a persons life my husband I feel is still suffering not because I won’t let him see my Stoma that I don’t mind he even changes it me, god I’d be lost without him I’ve been in and out of hospital these last 3 years so he’s done everything for me! It’s the intimacy that I feel sorry for and all he says is I love you isn’t that enough! Then in a joke he says I’m a patient man as well! What a Stoma life!!!

  • Keyo

    Hi. I enjoyed reading your article and can relate. I noticed your brief bio says you have some other conditions including a spinal problem. Were you born that way?

    I'm 37 and was born with a few conditions that resulted in me having a colostomy. I also have scoliosis. (Just wondering really because I don't come across too many people like me or similar to me as far as medical conditions go).

    I was searching about IBS and Colostomy when I came across this blog post.

  • Jay Morgan Hyrons

    Hello Vicky

    Apologies for the tardy reply. I am so sorry that you have had such a rough time it's so hard isn't it?!

    Please feel free to follow me on this blog where you will see more tips as we go along and also I have a Facebook Page here is the link

    Health Tips and quotes can be found there

    Are you a member of the GetYourBellyOut group on Facebook theres loads of support there also,

    My best wishes


  • Jay Morgan Hyrons

    Hi Keyo

    No my spinal problems are inherited! Sorry to hear that you have scoliosis I know it can cause a lot of pain!

    I have cervical stenosis amongst other things and its not easy to live with. Please feel follow me on here and You Tube where I will be shortly posting exercise and fitness tips.

    Keep as positive as you can!

    Best wishes


  • Marion

    I am 71. I have a colostomy. My poop will not go down into a bag so as soon as I do my business I have to fine a washroom to clean up. It gathers around the top of the convex bag. Also some days I am constipated and other days. ..not often it is diarrhea. I spend so much time on the toilet as when I go I will do some and then a while later more etc. Some days I have to do this several times. Some days I sit there 30 minutes trying to empty my poop. It is running my life! Suggestions?

  • Marion

    After 2 surgeries and 7 hospital stays and massive infection I have been home a year minus infection for which I am very grateful. I have awful problems with my stoma..from constipation to diarrhea.. no matter what bag I use my poop will not fall into my bag. The poop gathers around the convex plate and I have to clean it asap.

  • Marion

    As above.things seem to be worsening.....lately diarrhea is more frequent...had a terrible leak today while driving somewhere..this has never happened before..what a mess to try to clean up ...I need help....could this also be IBS?

  • Janette

    I have the same problem I have had multiple spinal surgery and multiple stomach surgery which ended up in a colostomy which I thought would help my life and it's ruined it. I have been told now I have IBS and Narcotic Bowel Syndrome but I certainly don't agree. I have had many accidents myself. You do feel on your own especially when everyone around me are ok and they have no idea. I live mainly on Ensure Plus which are nutritional drinks as food causes me more pain.

  • Shirley Watkins

    Hi everyone I have an ileostomy and have had it 7 years on my birthday I got my ileostomy thru medical negligence I went in to have a catheter put in and they somehow missed my bladder and inflated the catheter into my bowel with catastrophic results

  • Moira

    I've had a stoma for 14 months now and, at first, everything was great! Then about 3 weeks ago I started to fluctuate between terrible diahorrea and constipation and also a nasty smelly discharge! I'm 72 and feel very uncomfortable wearing sanitary towels!

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