It's natural to have a lot of questions before ostomy surgery. Having an operation is hard physically and can be an emotional experience. Being well prepared can help you to know what to expect.
This section covers questions many people have on ostomy surgery as well as providing information on support and community.
A stoma is the result of an operation to remove disease such as cancer, Crohn's disease or diverticulitis - or from a bowel obstruction or injury to the digestive or urinary system. It is an artificial opening that allows faeces or urine either from the intestine or from the urinary tract to pass.
There are three main types of stoma related to the digestive and urinary system - these are: ileostomy, urostomy, and colostomy.
In a colostomy operation, part of your colon is brought to the surface of your abdomen (belly) to form the stoma.Read more
In an ileostomy operation, part of your small bowel (ileum) is brought to the surface of your abdomen to form the stoma.Read more
If your bladder or urinary system is damaged or diseased and you are unable to pass urine normally, you may need a urinary diversion. This is called a urostomy, an ileal conduit or a Bricker bladder.Read more
When a colostomy is performed, part of your large intestine (called colon) is brought to the surface of your abdomen forming the stoma. The stoma allows the stool to pass through. A colostomy is usually created on the left-hand side of your abdomen. Stools in this part of the intestines are typically firm. Having a stoma means that control of defecation is lost and you will therefore need a stoma bag to collect the stool
There are two different types of colostomy surgery: End colostomy and loop colostomy.
When an ileostomy is performed, part of your small intestine (called ileum) is brought to the surface of your abdomen forming the stoma. The stoma allows the stool to pass through. An ileostomy is usually created on the right-hand side of your abdomen. Stools in this part of the intestine are typically loose to watery. Having a stoma means that control of defecation is lost and you will therefore need a stoma bag to collect the stool
There are two different types of ileostomy surgery: End ileostomy and loop ileostomy.
If your bladder or urinary system is damaged or diseased and you are unable to pass urine normally, you will need a urinary diversion to replace the function of the bladder. This is called a urostomy, an ileal conduit or a Bricker bladder.
When a urostomy is performed an isolated part of the intestine is brought onto the surface of the right-hand side of your abdomen to act as an outlet for urine. The ureters are detached from the bladder and reattached to the isolated section of the intestine. Because this section of the intestine is too small to function as a reservoir, and there is no muscle or valve to control urination, you will need a urostomy pouch to collect the urine.
An ostomy pouch is necessary to securely and conveniently collect the output from your stoma.Read More
A stoma is usually moist and pinkish-red, and will stick out slightly from your abdomen.Read more
It will take time to adjust to life with a stoma. But there’s no reason why it should stop you doing the things you already do, from sports to socializing.Read more
No matter what type of ostomy you have, all the output from the stoma must be collected in a secure and convenient way. That’s where your ostomy pouch comes in. These are designed to adhere to the skin on your abdomen around your stoma and collect the output.
The design of your ostomy pouch will depend on whether you have a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy. Your stoma care nurse will show you which one is right for you, but the overwhelming majority of pouches are secure and discreet. Nobody will know you’re wearing one unless you decide to tell them.
Although it can be difficult at first to accept the fact that you will have to wear an ostomy pouch on your stomach, you should soon start to realise that it’s possible to live much as you did before.
How often you change or empty your pouch depends on the type of stoma you have:
After surgery, your stoma may be quite swollen to begin with, but will reduce in size over time – usually after six to eight weeks.
No sensation, no pain
A stoma is red in colour. This is because it is a mucous membrane, just like the mucous membrane inside your mouth. There is no sensation in the stoma, so it is not at all painful to touch. The stoma can bleed a little when being cleaned, especially in the beginning, but this is quite normal, and should stop shortly afterwards.
After your stoma operation you will need some time to recover. This is perfectly normal, and the time needed will vary from person to person. Your stoma will change in the first weeks following surgery, in terms of both size and output. Also, you might lose or gain weight in these weeks.
Get started with a pouch
Having a stoma means you have no control over when you defecate or, in the case of a urostomy, when you urinate. This means that you always need to wear a pouch to collect your output.
In order for your pouch to adhere properly, it is very important to keep the skin around your stoma healthy. When the pouch is attached correctly, there is no risk of smell from your stoma and less risk of skin irritation. Before you leave hospital, you will be trained in how to choose and manage your stoma pouch and how to take care of your skin.
What about food and drink?
In general you can eat and drink as normal. Try to see how your stoma reacts to different foods. Your stoma care nurse, surgeon or physician will advise if you need to take special precautions.
In general, your stoma is no hindrance to working, socializing, playing sports, travelling or other hobbies. Your general state of health – physically as well as mentally – will play a big role in determining your quality of life as you move forward.
Talk about it
Nothing is more helpful than someone who really understands what you are going through. You are certainly not alone – the number of people with a stoma worldwide is 1.9 million. Your hospital where you get operated is one of the meeting peers to get handy tips, inspiration and personal support.
In addition to product information, you’ll find helpful tips in this section about keeping your skin healthy, dealing with stoma bag problems, and other important information for after surgery.Read more
Clothes are a part of my identity, so I worried about what I could wear after my operation. Today, I still dress the way I want.
I was so glad to get back to work, it meant a lot to me. At first I worried about my ostomy appliance, but now I’m just focused on the job.
I lost 35 kilos when I was ill. But I have put it all back on. I feel determined, I’m training regularly and I’m now a specialist personal trainer.
Our Care programs, designed for people living with an ostomy, offer straight-forward advice, personalized support and inspiration. Care is available when you need it. Our dedicated regional language speaking CARE team of advisors and specialists are here to help you live a better life by helping you do more of the things you love, so you can be you!1800 102 0550 Enroll Now MyOstomy App