What is a COLOSTOMY
A colostomy is part of you. Your bowel needs to be diverted away from its usual route and out onto your abdomen.
This will mean that your bowel motion and any wind will pass into the stoma bag. The consistency of the bowel motion can vary,
and you can still become constipated or have diarrhoea.
However, you should still be able to pass urine in the normal way. Because of this type of surgery, bladder and sexual problems
can be a risk, althoughor surgeon will take care to try a avoid these problems.
What will it look like and feel?
Your colostomy will usually be on the left-hand side of your abdomen. It looks a bit like the inside of your mouth and is soft to touch.
Its normal colour is pinkish-red, and it should be moist. It may be flat to your abdomen or may stand out slightly.
Your surgeon or specialist nurse will explain whether this will be an end or loop colostomy, as shown in the diagram below,
and will explain the differences, it is usually referred to as a stoma and that’s what well call it from now on.
At first the stoma will be swollen and will take a couple of months to reduce in size.
Will I always have the Stoma?
Whether your colostomy is permanent or temporary will depend on why you need the operation.
Your surgeon will tell you which it is. If your surgeon plans to re-join your bowel back together again, you will need another operation
at a later date . This means you will need to learn how to manage your stoma and you will go home wearing a stoma bag.
You will need to discuss the facts with your surgeon and specialist nurse.
Where will my Stoma be?
The stoma is usually on the left-hand side of your abdomen. It also needs to be part of your abdomen that isn’t lost in folds of skin
when you sit down or stand up. Before your operation the specialist nurse will usually mark where the stoma should be as a
guide to the surgeon.
How do I care for my Stoma?
You will need to wear a stoma bag to collect your bowel motion. There are a wide variety of stoma bags to choose from and
also different methods for managing them which your specialist nurse will discuss with you. The stoma bag sticks to your abdomen
and you must change it regularly.
Your specialist nurse will explain how to look after your stoma and how to change your bag.
You can leave your stoma bag on or take it off when you bath or shower it’s up to you.
Water cannot get into the bag or the stoma.
When you leave hospital your specialist nurse should give you some of the stoma bags of your choice.
You will need to get a prescription for more stoma bags and your specialist nurse will be able to give you advice on this.
Your GP will give you a prescription which you can then give to your specialist supplier who will supply the stoma bags.
You can choose where you get your bags from and which make of stoma bags you use. You need to feel comfortable as possible
when you’re wearing the bags, so choose the ones that suit you best.
When you get the opportunity attend an open day and see the full range of suppliers and bags available.
For any medical advice also ask your specialist nurse or GP.