Caring for a stoma after receiving a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy can seem intimidating and uncomfortable. But your life does not have to change. Once you develop a daily routine, it becomes much more manageable.
A stoma is an opening in the abdomen where a portion of the intestine is brought to the surface of the skin for waste removal. This can be temporary or permanent.
There are three types of surgeries that result in a stoma: A colostomy is an opening from your large intestine, an ileostomy is an opening from your small intestine, and a urostomy is an opening from your ureters.
A stoma bag is necessary for the collection and removal of waste. It can come in one or two piece systems. A two piece system requires a separate base plate which can be left on for a few days at a time. You simply have to change the pouch.
There are many different kinds of stoma pouches available. Drainable bags have an opening at the bottom to drain waste, while closed bags are changed each time they are full. Disposable bags are great for when you are on-the-go.
Keep the stoma and the skin around the stoma healthy is of utmost importance. With practice, securing the ostomy bag correctly will protect the skin around the stoma. Skin must be cleaned and dried every time you change your bag.
Powder can help prevent irritation of the skin due to moisture. Although pastes and seals can prevent leakage between the stoma and baseplate, skin barriers are available just in case. Along with adhesive remover, they protect skin and help when removing the baseplate. For hygiene, you can purchase deodorants.
Experiencing gas and a consequent ballooning of the bag is normal. A two-piece system can quickly release the gas. Your diet does not have to be altered, but it might help to keep a diary of what you are eating. You can track what kinds of foods give you gas or are high in fibre. Finally, drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated.