Watery Output

The content of this page applies to people with an ileostomy suffering with watery output.

Loperamide is a drug also known as “Imodium” which acts to slow down the movement of the bowel; It is available in capsules, tablets, melt formulation (dissolves on the tongue) and syrup.

It will thicken your stools and reduce the amount of stools you pass. This means the body has more time in which to absorb fluid and nutrients from the food and drinks you take.

If your stool is too liquid and in large amounts your ileostomy will be:

  • More difficult to manage.
  • Subject to Leakage and skin irritation.
  • Require emptying more often affecting your quality of life and sleep.
  • Cause risk of you becoming dehydrated.

Your Stoma Nurse or your GP will advise you if you need to take Loperamide to control it.

Taking Loperamide

It is best to take loperamide half an hour before a meal, this will help to slow down the usual gut activity that is stimulated by eating.

Most people find that their bowel is most active in the morning, and so loperamide will help most if taken before breakfast, it starts to work within half an hour of taking it and is effective for 8 to 12 hours.
Taking a dose last thing at night may help with early morning control/frequency.

Loperamide is a very safe drug which is not addictive. It can be taken in doses of up to eight tablets (16 milligrams) per day over long periods of time. (This can be increased under a Doctors’ supervision)

The amount of Loperamide you take will depend on the output from your ileostomy, the ideal consistency is a ‘porridge like’ stool, If the stool is very liquid you will probably start off taking 4mg to 6mg per day and increase or decrease the amount until you get the ideal consistency, you should also ensure that you drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day to keep your body hydrated.