Bodybuilder Zoe Wright reveals she’s having ostomy bag removed8 min read

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A bodybuilder who was forced to wear an ostomy bag following a near-fatal battle with bowel disease has revealed she is undergoing two operations to remove it.

Zoey Wright, 26, from Cornwall, announced the news on Instagram, where she has 60,000 followers, saying she would be taking a break from competing to recover from the surgeries.  

She then explained on YouTube she had been approved for surgery to remove her temporary ostomy pouch – an artificial bag sitting outside the body. Instead she will be fitted with an internal J pouch, which is made from the intestines.

But she told her fans she would be back ‘bigger and better than before’.

When Zoey was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a painful condition caused by the inflammation of the rectum and colon, four years ago, she vowed she would achieve her dreams of becoming a bodybuilder.

Since beating the disease and being fitted with the ostomy bag in 2014, she went on to win several titles – including Overall World Champion for the largest growing fitness modelling federation in the UK, Pure Elite.

And in her latest impressive achievement, she has been unveiled as the face of USN. 

Zoey Wright, 26, from Cornwall, revealed she would be taking a break from bodybuilding this year to undergo two surgeries to remove her ostomy bag, fitted after she battled bowel disease (seen competing in a bodybuilding competition last year after her 2014 battle)

Zoey Wright, 26, from Cornwall, revealed she would be taking a break from bodybuilding this year to undergo two surgeries to remove her ostomy bag, fitted after she battled bowel disease (seen competing in a bodybuilding competition last year after her 2014 battle)

And last Tuesday Zoe took to Instagram, sharing a snap as she posed in workout underwear with the ostomy bag visible, she wrote: ‘Ok so the reason why I won’t be competing this year. 

‘Very soon I’ll be undergoing two surgeries which will enable me to live my life without my ostomy bag.

‘I’m scared, excited, nervous and incredibly anxious but I know I’m ready for this next chapter in my life.’ 

She continued: ‘Over the years my ostomy has taught me some extremely valuable life lessons which I’ll forever live by I’ll Vlog a YouTube update soon with why I have made this decision. 

On Tuesday Zoe took to Instagram, sharing a snap as she posed in workout underwear with the ostomy bag visible and announcing that she would be taking a break from competing to have two surgeries to remove the bag

On Tuesday Zoe took to Instagram, sharing a snap as she posed in workout underwear with the ostomy bag visible and announcing that she would be taking a break from competing to have two surgeries to remove the bag

On Friday she followed the announcement up with a ten-minute vlog, explaining she had finally been approved to go for to go for J Pouch surgery- a more permanent solution

On Friday she followed the announcement up with a ten-minute vlog, explaining she had finally been approved to go for to go for J Pouch surgery- a more permanent solution

‘But for now I’m enjoying time with my partner, family and friends before the long & gruelling recovery that follows! But don’t you worry guys.. I’ll be back, bigger and better than before.’

A few days later she followed the announcement up with a ten-minute vlog, revealing the reason behind her decision.

Explaining that doctors had removed her large intestine during the first surgery, Zoey added they had left her rectal stump which still has inflammatory disease colitis.

She added it was untreatable so she was unable to remove the last bit of inflammation and receive a permanent ostomy bag.

She continued: ‘The second option that I’m grateful to have is that they will remove the last part and make a small pouch from my intestine and bob’s your uncle I’ve got new plumbing!’

Recalling that she first asked her surgeon to have the J Pouch – which unlike the ostomy bag isn’t visible – just six weeks after getting her current pouch fitted, she explained he had advised her to wait until a year later to give her body a rest.

Adding that she doesn’t regret waiting, she said: ‘How I feel since having my last surgery with the ostomy pouch is incredible and I’m hoping I’ll feel the same after my next surgery with the J Pouch.’

Estimating that she'll have to wait until Christmas for the surgery, she admitted that she was gutted but added emotionally of her husband Connor: 'He will be by my side at the surgery like he has with all of them and I just can't be any more thankful'.

Estimating that she’ll have to wait until Christmas for the surgery, she admitted that she was gutted but added emotionally of her husband Connor: ‘He will be by my side at the surgery like he has with all of them and I just can’t be any more thankful’.

Estimating that she’ll have to wait until Christmas for the surgery, she admitted she was gutted but added: ‘Mine is an elected surgery as there were no cancerous cell so I’m lucky.

‘This will give me time to spend time with my other half Connor and my family and there will be 8-12 weeks between the two surgeries. The first surgery is the creation of the J Pouch and then they will connect everything and remove the temporary ostomy bag.’

She added: ‘I’m going to try to stay at 68kgs which is my heaviest as I will probably lose weight after the stress of the surgery.

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‘I’m looking forward to it- apart from the long gruelling recovering and getting used to the J Pouch’. 

Becoming emotional, she added of her husband Connor: ‘He will be by my side at the surgery like he has with all of them and I just can’t be any more thankful.

‘There will be bad days and that’s fine’, she concluded. 

What is an Ostomy pouch? 

An Ostomy pouch is fitted as a result of a bowel disease.  

Bodily waste is rerouted from its usual path because of malfunctioning parts of the urinary or digestive system.

It passes to a surgically created stoma on the abdomen into a prosthetic known as a ‘pouch’ or ‘ostomy bag’ on the outside of the body.

An ostomy can be temporary or permanent.

 Source: ostomy.org

What is a J Pouch and how does it work?

A J Pouch is a surgically created (J-shaped) internal reservoir made from an individual’s own small intestine as an alternate way to store and pass stool. 

The ileal pouch anal anastomosis (IPAA) surgery is the most common pelvic pouch surgery performed.

This is most typically used to treat those with ulcerative colitis and inherited conditions.

Source: ostomy.org 

After overcoming the disease and agreeing to wear the ostomy bag, Zoey from Cornwall has gone on to win several bodybuilding titles (seen left during her operation in 2014 and right picking up her Pure Elite award in 2017)

After overcoming the disease and agreeing to wear the ostomy bag, Zoey from Cornwall has gone on to win several bodybuilding titles (seen left during her operation in 2014 and right picking up her Pure Elite award in 2017)

Zoey first started to feel poorly in 2012 when she noticed her weight dramatically plummet from 10st to 8st in just four weeks.

Her doctor diagnosed her with ulcerative colitis in September 2012, and told her she would have to have ileostomy surgery – where the small intestine is diverted through an opening in the abdomen.

But Zoey shunned medication and took up bodybuilding, with the help of her partner Conor, who is also into the sport.

In November 2014, Zoey made the decision to have the ileostomy surgery, and when it was successfully completed she vowed to take the route into bodybuilding.

And while she still suffers some pain, regular workouts coupled with a protein-rich diet have helped her successfully win an array of competitions.

And her journey was so successful that in January Zoey announced she was named the face of brand ‘Ultimate Sports Nutrition’ after cinching the international bodybuilding title of Overall World Champion for the largest growing fitness modelling federation in the UK, Pure Elite. 

Speaking to FEMAIL about winning the international title for Pure Elite in November following her life-changing battle, she said: ‘I am stubborn and determined. I was lying in my hospital bed when I decided I was going to get on stage and compete as a bodybuilder.

‘I wanted to do something I’d never done before and something that seemed impossible to achieve.

‘Now I am in love with training and competing and the world title is a celebration of being healthy. I have achieved the impossible.’  

In November 2014, Zoey made the decision to have the ileostomy surgery, and when it was successfully completed she vowed to take the route into bodybuilding. Zoey will now undergoing two surgeries to remove her ostomy bag, fitted after she battled bowel disease (seen sharing her results last year)

In November 2014, Zoey made the decision to have the ileostomy surgery, and when it was successfully completed she vowed to take the route into bodybuilding. Zoey will now undergoing two surgeries to remove her ostomy bag, fitted after she battled bowel disease (seen sharing her results last year)

Her doctor diagnosed her with ulcerative colitis in September 2012, and told her she would have to have ileostomy surgery - where the small intestine is diverted through an opening in the abdomen. Zoey will now undergoing two surgeries to remove her ostomy bag, fitted after she battled bowel disease (seen sharing her results last year)

Her doctor diagnosed her with ulcerative colitis in September 2012, and told her she would have to have ileostomy surgery – where the small intestine is diverted through an opening in the abdomen. Zoey will now undergoing two surgeries to remove her ostomy bag, fitted after she battled bowel disease (seen sharing her results last year)

WHAT IS ULCERATIVE COLITIS?

 WHAT IS ULCERATIVE COLITIS?

Ulcerative colitis is a long-term condition, where the colon (the bowel) and rectum become inflamed. It affects around one in every 420 people living in the UK.

Small ulcers can develop on the colon’s lining, and can bleed and produce pus.

Symptoms include recurring diarrhoea, which may contain blood, mucus or pus, abdominal pain and needing to empty your bowels frequently.

People may also experience fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss.

WHAT CAUSES ULCERATIVE COLITIS?

Ulcerative colitis is thought to be an autoimmune condition which means the immune system – the body’s defence against infection – goes wrong and attacks healthy tissue.

The most popular theory is that the immune system mistakes harmless bacteria inside the colon for a threat and attacks the tissues of the colon, causing it to become inflamed.

Exactly what causes the immune system to behave in this way is unclear. Most experts think it’s a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

(Information via NHS)