4 Not-So-Common Reasons For Ostomy Surgery

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You may know someone diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or colorectal cancer who required a temporary or permanent ostomy as part of their treatment, however there are other illnesses in which ostomy surgery may be needed.

Here are four not-so-common reasons why some people require ostomy surgery:

1. Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is an inherited condition in which numerous adenomatous polyps form mainly in the epithelium of the large intestine. While these polyps start out benign, malignant transformation into colon cancer occurs when left untreated. According to an article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, "Surgical management of familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is complex and requires both sound judgment and technical skills. Because colorectal cancer risk approaches 100%, prophylactic colorectal surgery remains a cornerstone of management."

Patient advocate and blogger, Jenny Jones writes about her diagnosis with FAP, ileostomy and reversal straight pull-through surgery on Life's a Polyp.

2. Colonic Inertia

Colonic Inertia (also known as slow-transit constipation) is a motility disorder that affects the large intestine (colon) and results in the abnormal passage of stool. It is a rare condition in which the colon ceases to function normally. A study from the NCBI shows, “Patients with severe constipation due to colonic inertia who remain symptomatic after extensive medical therapy or partial colonic resection have occasionally been treated with ileostomy as a last resort.”

3. Chronic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction

Intestinal pseudo-obstruction is a clinical syndrome caused by severe impairment in the ability of the intestines to push food through. It is characterized by the signs and symptoms that resemble those caused by a blockage, or obstruction, of the intestines. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) explains, “…when a health care provider examines the intestines, no blockage exists. Instead, the symptoms are due to nerve or muscle problems that affect the movement of food, fluid, and air through the intestines.”

Sara Gebert was diagnosed with Chronic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction (CIPO) and Gastroparesis which required her to have ileostomy surgery in December, 2014. To raise awareness for CIPO she created Sara’s Army, a nonprofit organization created to fund her own medical treatments as well as research towards a cure for this disease.

Sara Gebert

Sara Gebert with an ileostomy, jejunal feeding tube and gastrostomy tube.

4. Hirschsprung Disease

Hirschsprung disease (HD), also called congenital megacolon or congenital aganglionic megacolon, occurs when part or all of the large intestine or antecedent parts of the gastrointestinal tract have no ganglion cells and therefore cannot function. It is a disease of the large intestine that causes severe constipation or intestinal obstruction. According the NIDDK, “People with HD are born with it and are usually diagnosed when they are infants.” As a result, “some children with HD can’t pass stool at all, which can result in the complete blockage of the intestines, a condition called intestinal obstruction.”

Thousands of people fell in love with 2-year-old Jameus after a post from his mom, Dallas Lynn went viral on Facebook. The family documents his journey to raise awareness for Hirschsprung's Disease.