Ileostomy output may depend on the person. However, an individual with a daily output of more than 700 milliliters (mL) may be more likely to experience electrolyte imbalances or nutritional deficiencies.

An ileostomy is a special opening surgically that doctors make in a person’s abdominal wall. It connects to another surgically-made opening at the beginning of the small bowel called the ileum.

Surgeons typically perform an ileostomy after surgically removing the colon because of disease. With an ileostomy, the stool comes out of the ileum into a bag outside the body instead of the anus.

Several factors can influence ileostomy output.

This article discusses ileostomy output, typical versus high output, and factors that affect output volume.

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Ileostomy output refers to the consistency and amount of stool coming out of an ileostomy.

Health experts expect stool consistency involving an ileostomy to be loose.

Looser stools occur because water reabsorption from digested food occurs in the large intestine. An ileostomy bypasses the large intestine, producing stool with a higher water content.

Diet and medications can also influence ileostomy output.

The typical output from an ileostomy varies between individuals.

However, an ileostomy output typically ranges between 200 and 700 milliliters (mL) daily in adults.

People with high ileostomy outputs may be at higher risk of electrolyte disorders and nutrient deficiencies.

The typical ileostomy output in infants and children may vary but typically falls within 10–15 mL per kilogram of body weight.

After surgery, a person may need intravenous (IV) fluids through a vein because their ileostomy output can be higher than usual within the first few hours of the procedure. As the small bowels adapt, a person can start drinking fluids again.

High ileostomy output is a fluid output of more than 1 L daily. High ileostomy output can occur due to:

  • partial bowel obstruction
  • sepsis or other infection
  • certain drugs, such as metoclopramide or diuretics
  • suddenly stopping steroids or opiates
  • diabetes

In some cases, doctors may not know the cause of high ileostomy output.

People with high ileostomy output require close monitoring because of the risk of severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

Possible options for managing high ileostomy output include:

  • IV fluid replacement
  • antimotility drugs, such as loperamide, to help reduce bowel movements
  • restriction of fluids such as tea, fruit juice, and coffee

It may also be helpful for a person to receive nutritional advice from a dietitian.

Dietary adjustments and medications may help reduce ileostomy output.

Low residue or low fiber foods, such as refined grains, pulp-free juices, fruit without peels, and certain soft-cooked vegetables, can help decrease the size and frequency of bowel movements.

It may be necessary to wait several weeks after surgery to resume usual dietary habits.

Antimotility medications, such as loperamide, may help reduce ileostomy output. However, one small 2017 study found significant differences between participants regarding loperamide effectiveness.

Without treatment, people with high ileostomy output are at risk of malnutrition, severe dehydration, and electrolyte disorders.

Signs of high ileostomy output may include:

  • large secretions
  • unexplained weight loss
  • persistent dehydration

Ileostomy output refers to the consistency of the stool that comes out of an ileostomy.

Doctors typically put an ileostomy in place after the surgical removal of the colon.

Ileostomy output varies for each person, but it typically ranges between 200 and 700 ml daily in adults. A high ileostomy is when the output exceeds 1 L per day, putting a person at risk of severe dehydration and malnutrition.

Managing high ileostomy output may require dietary changes and help from a multidisciplinary healthcare team, including doctors and dietitians.