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Ostomy surgery is a procedure where bodily waste is rerouted from its usual path to pass through a stoma on the abdomen into a ‘pouch’ or ‘ostomy bag’ outside the body. This treatment can be used by your doctor for a variety of disorders and diseases: congenital disabilities, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, incontinence, cancer, gastroparesis, and more. A surgeon may also place an ostomy because of abdominal or pelvic trauma. An ostomy can be temporary or permanent.
Having an ostomy can be a great option for many, but it also takes some care to maintain! Dr. Julie Sanchez, a pediatric and general surgeon, shares her general tips and practices for taking care of your ostomy.
It is important to take good care of your skin, especially during the first few weeks of getting your new ostomy.
It is essential to make sure your skin barrier fits properly around the stoma and stays securely in place, especially during physical activities. An ostomy belt can be useful in this setting.
Be patient when removing your appliance to avoid potential skin-stripping, which could lead to irritation, pain, leaks, and infection. If you notice that the skin is sensitive, please notify your stoma nurse or healthcare provider before applying ointments or creams. A belt can also assist in taking some of the pressure off the stoma site.
Think of your “pouch” as a window to your digestive system.
People with a colostomy (stoma in the large intestine) are more prone to constipation than those with an ileostomy. Constipation can be due to dairy, low fiber, refined sugars, processed foods, or decreased water intake. Medications that slow transient time can also cause constipation.
Intestinal blockage can be a life-threatening condition. It can occur with food blockage, or from scar tissue such as adhesions. Symptoms of blockage include:
If you develop any signs or symptoms of intestinal blockage, you must seek immediate medical attention!
Do you have any personal tips or suggestions for ostomy care? Do you have questions about your ostomy care? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.