I am now just over 4 weeks post ileostomy reversal and things are going ok. I’m handling food but staying within the low residue diet, my scar has healed nicely on the outside; I’m not in any pain and I’m only using the toilet 3-4 times a day, my bum screams ‘hallelujah’! The only big problem is in the afternoons my stomach seems to inflate like a balloon and I have the worse gas I’ve ever experienced. This problem has forced me to use the internet as a resource. I don’t really like doing this for some things just because of the accuracy of the information you are receiving, but for things like herbal remedies, there is a plethora of information at your fingertips.
The first thing I tried was peppermint tea; most of us within the IBD world have used this remedy one time or another. You can buy it from any food retailer. After drinking this all afternoon I concluded that in my case right now, it doesn’t work well enough. (Also chamomile, ginger and lemon tea are supposed to help)
A family friend passed on some wisdom about chewing Fennel Seeds. After a little research I saw that this was an old age remedy and you can crush the seeds in a pestle and mortar and spoon this into boiling water to drink, (see photo above) the oil is what helps, so drink it as soon as you can without burning your mouth. I tried this technique for 3 days and it definitely helped in getting the gas out, but the uncomfortable bloating and has pain was still there.
I felt like I needed to talk to a professional so I contacted one of the colorectal nurses at the hospital. The bloating is in fact normal after an operation like this; see it as your bowel having a bit of a hissy fit for having to get back to work after a 12 month sabbatical. It’s going to take a long time to get back into the swing of things!
The outcome of that conversation was to take over the counter wind tablets, Windeeze or that equivalent and also take a Probiotics drink or yoghurt which I already do. I tried the tablets for a few days, taking the highest dosage when I needed them and they do something for sure, but not enough.
The next thing was to try exercising, this should help make my bowel move and help with digestion, the trouble is trying to get off the settee when you just want to curl up and be miserable. Yesterday I managed to drag myself off the sofa and onto my yoga mat for the first time since the op. It was just after my 4th small meal so I can already feel the food stacking up. This is my now number 1 remedy. My stomach didn’t fill up like before, I could walk with a straight back, I didn’t experience stomach pains or ache, it was a big relief (literally) to find something that works.
If you are new to yoga, or just don’t fancy all that, there are some simple positions you can lie in which will help relieve the pain and bloating. Give them a search and you will generally see the same ones crop up, reclined twist, cat-cow, knees to chest; I even do them whilst watching TV or whilst I am in bed!
I hope some of these remedies work for you and if you have your own tips please feel free share below! X