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Recovering from stoma surgery – how long will it take?

28th March 2018

The information contained in this blog post is based on the average person’s recovery from stoma surgery. For more detailed recovery information based on your unique condition, please consult a healthcare professional. This advice is only intended as a general outline.

If you are awaiting stoma surgery or recently post op, you might be wondering how long it will be until you are fully recovered. Of course, this can vary from person to person, but on average it should follow a pattern similar to this one:

Hospital (3 – 10 days)

Most stoma patients are able to leave hospital after just a few days, although you should be prepared to spend up to 10 days. During this time you may be kept on a drip to ensure you remain well hydrated. You might also have a catheter and oxygen mask to drain urine and help you breathe.

You will likely be taught how to care for your stoma during this time, most importantly how to change and empty your bag. Also, keeping the skin around your stoma clean and healthy to prevent infection.

Home on rest (6 – 8 weeks)

Once you leave hospital you will likely still be on bed rest and unable to do anything too strenuous. During this time you will hopefully feel your strength beginning to return as you recuperate, which should see you become slightly more active.

You may begin to do some light exercise during this time, such as short walks to help rebuild your strength. After 8 weeks you should be able to resume many of your normal activities.

Full recovery (Approx 3 months)

You will start to feel better and resume your daily life after 8 weeks with a bit of luck. But a full recovery usually takes around 3 months as the abdominal muscles need to completely heal. Avoid any heavy lifting (a good rule of thumb is anything heavier than a kettle) or overly strenuous activities during this time.

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