When a part of your intestine doesn't work as it should, a doctor can do surgery to make an opening in your belly and bring a part of your intestine to the surface of your skin. This opening is called an ostomy. There are two types. A colostomy is an ostomy of the colon. An ileostomy is an ostomy of the small intestine.
With an ostomy, waste no longer leaves your body from your anus. It leaves your body through the part of your intestine at the ostomy opening. This part of the intestine is called the stoma.
There's no muscle around the stoma. So you can't control when waste or gas leaves your body. Now your waste automatically goes from the stoma into a plastic bag (pouch) around the stoma. This pouch will block the smell of the waste. It can't be seen when you are wearing clothes.
You can learn to take care of your ostomy. Good care can make living with a stoma easier. It can help keep a good seal between the skin and the pouch. This can prevent your skin from getting irritated.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kenneth Bark, MD - General Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery
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