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Colostomy Creation


Colostomy creation is often done with surgery to remove parts of your colon that are injured or diseased. The surgery 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 and into a pouch that is attached to your abdomen.

Digestive Tract


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately 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.

Contact your ostomy specialist or healthcare provider if:

  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • You have a temperature of 101ºF (38.3ºC) or higher.
  • 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.


  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • 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.

Self-care after surgery:

  • Do not lift more than 10 pounds for 4 weeks or as directed. Do not bend or twist. This will help your surgery area heal and decrease your risk for a hernia.
  • Prevent blood clots and pneumonia. Walk around the inside of your house at least every 2 hours.
  • Check your stoma every day. Check for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, and drainage.
  • Do not drive until your healthcare provider says it is okay.

Work with an ostomy specialist:

An ostomy specialist can provide more information on how to care for your colostomy. He or she will help select the right size and type of pouch for your colostomy to prevent problems. You may need a different size pouch after your stoma heals. He or she will also know how and where to get the supplies you need, and which supplies are best.

Wound and stoma care:

Look at the skin around your stoma each time you change your pouch. Your stoma should be pink or red and moist. You may have a small amount of bleeding when you clean your stoma. This is normal. Your stoma will get smaller and become its normal size in about 8 weeks.

  • Make sure the skin barrier opening fits well. The skin barrier is the part of the pouch that sticks to the skin of your abdomen. It should be no more than ⅛ of an inch larger than your stoma. If the opening is too large, bowel movement can leak onto your skin and cause irritation. Measure the size of your stoma with the guide that comes with your colostomy supplies. Make sure you cut the skin barrier smaller as your stoma gets smaller.
  • Soothe irritated skin. If your skin is red, it may mean that the skin barrier was on too long. It is important to find the cause of your skin irritation. Ask your healthcare provider if you need help finding the cause of your skin irritation.
  • Care for your posterior wound. Wash the area with soap and water daily. Use bandages or pads to collect any drainage. Change them daily or if the bandage or pad gets dirty or wet.

Nutrition after colostomy creation:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats. Do not eat foods that give you cramps or diarrhea.
  • Limit foods that may cause gas and odor. These include vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Beans, eggs, and fish may also cause gas and odor. Eat slowly and do not use a straw to drink liquids. Yogurt, buttermilk, and fresh parsley may help control odor and gas.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. This may help reduce constipation.

For more information:

  • National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)
    2 Information Way
    Bethesda , MD 20892-3570
    Phone: 1- 800 - 891-5389
    Web Address:
  • United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc.
    P.O. Box 512
    Northfield , MN 55057-0512
    Phone: 1- 800 - 826-0826
    Web Address:

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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.

Further information

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