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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A colostomy creation is surgery that brings part of your colon (bowel) to the surface of your abdomen. This creates a small opening in your abdomen called a stoma. Bowel movements pass through the stoma into a pouch that is attached to your abdomen.
- Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
- Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
- Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
- Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider or specialist as directed:
Your healthcare provider will check your stoma and surgical wounds. He will ask about any problems with your stoma, the ostomy bag, or equipment changes. He may fit you for a new ostomy bag after swelling around your stoma goes down. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Ask your healthcare provider when you can eat solid foods.
Rest and activity:
- Limit your activity as directed: You may have limits on lifting heavy items or driving.
- Rest when you need to while you heal after surgery. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.
Care for your surgical wounds as directed. Keep the wounds clean and dry.
You will need physical and emotional support to deal with the lifestyle changes that happen when you have a colostomy. Your healthcare provider can help you with the following:
- Meet with an enterostomal therapist: These therapists can tell you what it is like to live with a colostomy. They may help you meet with other people who have colostomies. Enterostomal therapists can help you choose equipment that best fits your stoma.
- Practice changing your ostomy bag and equipment: Ostomy bags are usually emptied up to 2 times a day. The bag is then changed every 3 to 7 days. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about colostomy care.
- Take care of your skin: You do not need special soaps to clean the skin around your stoma. You can trim hair around the stoma with an electric razor or scissors with rounded tips. Avoid oils or ointments that may prevent the ostomy bag from sticking to your skin. Your healthcare provider or enterostomal therapist can help if itching, redness, or a rash develops around your stoma.
For more information:
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)
2 Information Way
Bethesda , MD 20892-3570
Phone: 1- 800 - 891-5389
Web Address: www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov
- United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc.
P.O. Box 512
Northfield , MN 55057-0512
Phone: 1- 800 - 826-0826
Web Address: http://www.ostomy.org
Contact your specialist or healthcare provider if:
- You have nausea or vomiting.
- You have a fever.
- More bowel movement is draining from your stoma than normal. Your bowel movement may look watery or smell very bad.
- The skin around your stoma is red, sore, itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
- Your stoma opening has narrowed or you have drainage from around your stoma.
- Your stoma has moved farther inside or outside of your abdomen. You see bulges under the skin around your stoma.
- You have questions or concerns about your stoma, surgery, medicine, or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You are urinating very little or not at all.
- No bowel movement is passing through your stoma.
- You have pus or a foul-smelling odor coming from your surgery wound or stoma.
- You vomit blood, are bleeding from your stoma, or see blood in your bowel movement. Your bowel movement may look like tar.
- Your abdomen feels hard and tender.
- Your stoma looks gray, purple, dark brown or black.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain. You cough up blood.
- You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
- You cough up blood.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.