What does an Ostomy mean?
An Ostomy means, an opening done surgically, through your abdominal wall, that communicates with a hollow organ within your body.
Why an ostomy?
This procedure will be suggested as there is a block in a hollow organ in the body such as intestine/urinary tube. There are 2 types:
- One that allows waste material from the body to come out – output ostomy – colostomy, Ileostomy, Urostomy, Venting gastrostomy.
- One that allows nutrition to be given to the body – Input Ostomy - Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG), Jejunostomy.
The ostomy can be for a while (temporary) or permanent.
What should I know about Ostomy care?
What is a pouch?
When you have an ostomy, it is protected with a pouch, which also is used to collect the waste products from the body such as stools, urine. There are 2 types of pouch –
- One which can be used only once and discarded.
- One which has 2 parts – one called the wafer – stuck to the skin on tummy, and the pouch – which is connected to the wafer. The contents can be emptied every time it fills.
How do I look after the pouch?
Changing The Pouch:
For the first 48 hours, the pouch you will have will be transparent, as the stoma will change to adjust to its function. Following this, the pouch will be one which is non-transparent. The choice of single use or multiple use pouch is yours. The way to change the pouch will be taught to you, by staff specialised in the management of pouches and stoma.
Emptying The Pouch:
There is always a concern that there will be embarrassing leakages from the pouch. The important thing to remember is that while this cannot be avoided on an odd occasion, this is easily managed.
Important Facts To Remember:
- Ileostomy and ascending colostomy – bowel movement is watery and can fill the bag more frequently
- All other colostomy – formed stools. Usually once to twice a day filling noted.
What To Do:
- Empty the pouch when 3/4th full with bowel movement
- If filled with gas (flatus), empty the bag
- Always carry a send bag with you if travelling or going out.
Other concerns when having an ostomy:
- There is no concern while having bath.
- There are certain foods that can increase the flatus production. You will have to keep a record of what foods you are sensitive to. You will be able to eat almost all foods.
- Odour from the pouch - pouches now come with filters of activated charcoal in them, and this takes care of the odour.
- Drink plenty of water.
- While travelling by public transport, ensure the ostomy bag is protected
- Always take extra clothing with you.
- Do not wear tight clothing
- Return to sexual activity is a positive experience if your outlook of body image is positive. There are suggestions on how to make it a positive experience, that our team can help with.
- Avoid lifting heavy weights, doing robust exercises or aggressive games or contact sports.
- Apart for the first few months after the surgery, you can resume most of your daily chores and activities.
- Always discuss concerns with your doctor/ ostomy team.
Please contact your doctor or ostomy nurse immediately if you experience any of these:
- Abdominal pain/ distention/ persistent vomiting
- Constipation/ diarrhoea
- Any skin irritation at the site of wafer/ leakage
- Any change in appearance of the stoma
If there are any concerns please contact: Multispecialty Clinic – Pain, Palliative and Rehabilitation Department Aster CMI Hospital, Benagluru