ostomy care

Things To Know About A Colostomy

An operation to create an opening of the colon onto the surface of the abdomen is known as a colostomy. After surgery, you will no longer be able to pass out stools through your rectum and anus. Instead, the waste materials will pass out of the stoma. Since a stoma doesn’t have any sphincter muscles, you will have to wear an ostomy bag over it to collect your stools. This bag will adhere to the skin around your stoma.

Why you may have a colostomy

Your doctor may opt to give you a temporary colostomy to remove a part of your colon. The stoma will give the rest of the bowel to recover from the impact of surgery. The surgeon will fix another surgical appointment to join two ends of the bowel. This surgery is known as reversal surgery. After this procedure, you will be able to move your bowels normally.

You may need to have a permanent colostomy if your surgeon decides to remove a large part of the colon, and that it is impossible to connect two ends of the bowel.

What does a colostomy look like?

The shape of the stoma is generally round or oval. Its outer surface is much like the inside of the mouth due to the mucous membrane. Since there is no nerve supply to this part of the bowel, you will not feel anything in it. So, you will have to be careful not to end up injuring your stoma. Damage to it is not painful but can result in other complications.

The stoma will be swollen during the first few weeks after surgery. However, it will get smaller and flatter over time.

The stoma nurse

Your stoma care nurse will help you with the stoma care in the best possible way. During your hospital stay, a stoma care nurse will visit you every day to teach you everything about how to take care of your ostomy. He or she will also tell about the most appropriate type of ostomy bag for your stoma. They will explain to you in detail how to take care of the stoma and the skin around it and how to change an ostomy bag.

The nurse will also provide you some ostomy bags before you go home. The hospital staff will also give you information about suppliers who will deliver ostomy bags to your doorstep.

Looking after your stoma

It will take a bit of time for you to learn how to take care of your stoma. It can be quite worrisome at first. It may take some time for you to adapt to life with a stoma. Once you cope with it, things will get fairly easier.

The best approach is to organize your ostomy supplies in such a way that you will change or empty an ostomy bag quite easily. Make sure that everything is kept together. Keep track of everything and make sure that you are not running out of anything.

If you have any issue managing your ostomy bag, be sure to discuss your problem with a qualified ostomy care nurse.

ostomy life

Balancing Fluids and Electrolytes for an Ostomate

Electrolytes and fluids are the two most essential chemicals for the human body. Balanced fluids and electrolytes are responsible to control the acidity, blood acidity, oxygen distribution, and health of muscles and nerves in a person.

Electrolytes

Electrolytes transmit electricity to the blood and body. These are mineral solutions. They have a key role in regulating the fluids’ amount in the human body.

These are the minerals ions that are necessary for dissolving the chemicals in the body fluids. They maintain the activities of the human body.

Therefore, balanced electrolytes are necessary for a body to become active. A low level of electrolyte in a human’s blood can make a person weak or sick. He/she could use proper medications if their body does not have a balanced level of electrolytes.

To maintain the balance of electrolytes, physicians put a patient on the medications by mouth or intravenously. For a human body, an appropriate level of potassium and sodium is essential. After the colostomy surgery (removal of a part of the colon), a body has a high risk of imbalanced electrolytes. For patients, excessive perspiration, diarrhea, and vomiting can increase the risk. Moreover, an ostomate who has short bowel syndrome can have low electrolytes. Therefore, every ostomy patient should maintain the balance of electrolytes through fluids and foods. The simple solution is to maintain the level of salt in your meals. Do not exclude the sodium, but do not use it too much.

Fluids

Dehydration is another big problem for ostomates. Therefore, every ostomy patient should maintain the level of fluid to continue the functions of the human body. The adequate excretion, blood circulation, functioning of the stomach need a high amount of liquids. Moreover, every patient must keep the stoma hydrated to get rid of injection and bleeding.

When an ostomy body does not have a balanced level of electrolytes and fluids, it can cause kidney infections. An ostomate patient’s kidney can have a high chance of injury, in the case of imbalanced fluids and electrolytes.

The large intestine is highly responsible for intaking and absorbing the electrolytes and nutrients. Therefore, after the removal of the colon, a body suffers the most to balancing the electrolysis and fluids. Such patients are vulnerable to catch the disease regarding the imbalanced level of nutrients. They feel weakness, vomiting, nausea, high fever, sweating, and diarrhea. Thus, a patient is more prone to dehydration.

Balancing the Electrolytes and Fluids

Therefore, for ostomy patients, it is necessary to follow a strict diet routine. They must eat proper foods that contain electrolytes and nutrients. Moreover, they should intake an appropriate amount of fluids. However, they should avoid liquids that cause gas and odor. Like beer, soda, and carbonated drinks. An ostomate should drink milk, fresh juices, and water. Moreover, they should consume the eatables that have a high level of potassium and sodium to balance the number of electrolytes in one’s blood. For ostomy patients, it is necessary not to avoid a single sign of illness. If they feel dizziness or weakness, they should immediately drink a sports or electrolyte drink. This will maintain the hydration level of the body. At home, you can make an insist drink that contains water a pinch of salt, and soda. An ostomate patient should drink seven to eight liters of fluids per day.

Electrolytes and Fluids Related Issues

After the extraction of the large intestine, a body faces the major issues in absorbing the fluids and nutrients. Moreover, it sucks up the water and minerals from the material coming through the small intestine. After the removal of the colon, the patient fell into dehydration because there is no more colon in his body to perform the function. Thus, it creates problems while performing some physical activities like sports, swimming, and gym.

ostomy life

Yardwork with an Ostomy

Some things never change.  The sun still shines, the wind still blows, and the wind still blows dandelions all over my law.  Yes, yard work always needs to be done and if you have a stoma, it still needs to be done.   I was worried about being active when I first found out I was going to get an ostomy.  Lots of scary situations ran through my mind and believe it or not the thought of a terrible lawn after years of careful grooming frightened me.  I needed to be able to still get outside and get my grass mowed and my trees mulched.  It does sound a little strange to be worried about the lawn, but it’s an area I take pride in.  One major thing newcomers to ostomy’s need to know is that they can still be active and still lead a normal life. 

First thing I would say is that you should take your yard seriously and the information of your surgeons and ostomy nurses more seriously.  They will tell you to take it slow and I wholeheartedly agree.  Don’t rush into doing more work then you are able to after an ostomy surgery.  You have lots of new gear to try out and to get working correctly.  I found that testing out new ostomy gear was my favorite way to see what worked and testing for free is truly the best. 

So I found out from a veteran in the stoma that ostomy supplies has free samples.  This is really important when starting to work outside, because you don’t know what will work for your activity level.  You don’t want leakage although I have made many a joke about personal fertilizer that has been very much shunned by my wife. The neighbor still loves them though. 

Now you are more prone to hernias than the average person.  This is due to having a stoma and the fact that your abdominal muscles are rather weakened due to the surgery.  So don’t go full on landscaping mode right away. Take the time to work up to taking care of the lawn.  If you have a riding mower great, if you have a push mower, start by splitting up the task.  What you used to do in an hour break up into 4 days.  WHAT? Yes, do a quarter of the yard at a time and see where your body is at.  Make sure your ostomy Supplies gear is working properly or maybe order a different bag or belt.  Take your time and enjoy your beautiful lawn. 

ostomy life

Pets and an Ostomy

When people first learn they are going to get an ostomy surgery things can be difficult.  Lots of things happen all at once.  You meet lots of new people and get to know your ostomy nurse and surgeon really well.  They give you massive amounts of information to learn and are generally really good at teaching you what you need to know in a very friendly way.  They will give you great suppliers to get your ostomy gear from.  I personally like ostomy supplies because they are really informative and easy to work with.  What most people wont go into detail with is how having an ostomy works with having pets. 

Pets have an incredible sense of smell and are generally very acute at picking up that something has changed. Dogs for instance generally have a sense of smell that is 40 times greater than ours! They know that you have a stoma and some are a little too excited about it.  In general many pets get along just find and match your emotions and become a great asset and friend for the situation.  Now I have two dogs and they both reacted very differently.  One pet was almost indifferent and really went along with life as absolutely normal as could be.  He was what I will call a very good boy.  On the other hand one dog was not so good.

My other dog is a yorkie breed.  He is a fast paced dog that is always on the go. That dog breed is also known for being very one track minded or hard headed.  This pet would simply not go away or stop pestering what he smelled.  Even when everything was perfectly sealed and working great thanks to using Hollister OStomy supplies gear the dog would still try to jump all over me when I was on the couch. 

So I ended up having to train him very quickly.  I suggest you start by purchasing a lot of your pets favorite treats.  You simply won’t win and train your dog by being mean or forceful.  At this time in your life it’s not a good idea for you either.  Your abdomen muscles are not what they used to be and you are likely more prone to hernia situations as well.  So use kindness and lots of treats to work with your pets as soon as you get home.  They know something is different so treat them for being good with it!

ostomy life

How ostomy affects the digestive system

Anytime we eat food, we chew it up and swallow. After that, we stop thinking about it. Have you ever thought about what really goes on, though? The digestive system is a big part of the human body. Without it, we would not get the nutrients we need from the foods we eat every day. Recently I have been thinking about how the digestive system works and what happens when we take a bit of food and swallow it. After we take a bit and swallow that piece of food, it travels down the esophagus into your stomach. What happens if you have an ostomy bag, does the way you digest food change? 

After we swallow food and it gets to the stomach is broken down by our stomach acid and passed through the small intestine that sucks any nutrients from it. After that, it is given to the large intestine that also gets any remaining nurturance from it. After it is moved to the colon to be stored, after a few hours up to a day, the indigestible food is excreted from the body via the anus as a stool. On its way out, it passes through the upper colon, where any additional water is sucked out as it nears the anus. 

When an ostomy surgery takes place, depending on the kind that was performed can leave these organs intact or not. Colostomy, the most common bowel surgery, only moves part of the colon or large intestine. That being said generally means there should be no issues for colostomy patients as they are trying to digest their food. The ascending colon goes up the right side of your body. This colon generally contains the most acidic and liquid as well as a large number of digestive enzymes. 

Where the ostomy exit is placed from the surgery determines some factors in the patient’s life. If the stoma is placed on the right side coming from the ascending colon, odds are there will be a lot of skin irritation. The more liquid the waste is, the more irritating the skin under the bag will be. Because of this, it is essential to take great care of that abdomen skin, so no rash or any infection breaks out. There are some manufacturers who do things for ostomy patients and the products they use. Some of these products include ostomy bags and ports with infused lotions and creams. These are great for ostomy patients as they will have peace of mind knowing their skin is being nurtured and remaining healthy by those creams. 

Ostomy patients seem not to have any issues when it comes to digesting their food which is good to hear as they can still live like normal human beings. The only problem that does arise is the digested food then has to sit in a bag fixed to their skin. This is not good for the skin as it needs to be able to breathe, but the pouch prevents it from doing so. The good thing is that the few manufacturers who take care of ostomy products have made items to help ostomy patients live a more comfortable life. This is good to hear that there are some companies looking out for these people. It is no different from how ordinary people eat and digest their food compared to colostomy patients accept for how it is stored.