Phantom Rectum: Oh The Joys

Have any of you heard the term “phantom rectum?” I mean, who hasn’t right? ; ) According to … Phantom Rectum: A “phan­tom rec­tal” sen­sa­tion is when the body feels as if it needs to evacuate—even though the rec­tum is no longer con­nected to the bowel. This is a nor­mal, if dis­con­cert­ing, occur­rence sim­i­lar to the “phan­tom limb” sen­sa­tion reported by amputees. Some patients are able to relieve the sen­sa­tion by sit­ting on a toi­let and going through the motions of evacuation.

I have been feeling this so often and it is beyond annoying. As someone who doesn’t have an anus either, I am lucky that I at least don’t have to worry about possible mucus coming out while I am feeling this. For those people who are not officially “closed up” down there, discharge could occur when you are trying to alleviate the discomfort.

This is clearly not a topic of conversation that comes up a lot;  Not that I need to really discuss it with anyone other than those of you in the amazingly supportive IBD and ostomy communities. But still. It is just another thing to have to deal with. When I am home, it isn’t as big of a deal. I go into the bathroom, act like I am going to go the “normal” way and the sensation does eventually go away. It will usually return (timing depends) but at least I have some relief. It is just really uncomfortable too. And sometimes it even hurts a little. I know if this is the worst thing I have to deal with (knock on wood!) then I have it pretty damn good but I just wish I knew what caused it. Why certain times and not others? Is it triggered by anything? All I know is that this is a “normal” part of ostomy surgery so it isn’t worrisome.

gotta keep on going no matter what!

gotta keep on going no matter what!

If any of you know the answers to these questions, please comment so others who are dealing with this can have a better understanding too. If you aren’t comfortable commenting on the blog, feel free to email me at and I will share it anonymously for you.

  • carried123

    I just want to comment and say thank you for being so open and writing this post – I haven’t had surgery but have suffered from Ulcerative Colitis since 2008 so I can somehow understand how you must be feeling although not the ‘sensation’ your describing. It must be so awful! Hang in there and I do hope that someone can give you the answers you desire. Have you tweeted the NHS or IBD Doctors? x

    • Marisa Lauren

      Thanks girl! Surgery is a good option if you don’t respond to meds so don’t wanna scare you or anything. I have been in touch with IBD docs who are willing to help which is good :)