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.