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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is colostomy creation?
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 and into a pouch that is attached to your abdomen.
Why do I need a colostomy?
Colostomy creation is often done with surgery to remove parts of your colon that are injured or diseased. You may need a colostomy for conditions such as colorectal cancer, diverticulitis, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Trauma to the abdomen may also require a colostomy.
How long will I need a colostomy?
- A temporary colostomy can last from weeks to years. After your colon heals, another surgery closes the stoma and rejoins the sections of your colon. You will have normal bowel movements after the colostomy is closed. Sometimes a temporary colostomy needs to become permanent one.
- A permanent colostomy will last a lifetime. You may need a permanent colostomy if parts of your colon have to be removed. A permanent colostomy is also done when parts of your colon no longer work.
What are the different types of colostomies?
Your healthcare provider will choose a colostomy type based on the reasons for the surgery and your general health. Types of colostomies include:
- Ascending colostomy: The stoma is placed on the right side of your abdomen. Liquid bowel movements pass through the stoma.
- Transverse colostomy: The stoma is placed in your upper abdomen on the middle or right side. Bowel movements that pass through the stoma are loose or soft. Sometimes you will have 2 stomas next to each other. This is called a loop colostomy. One stoma will pass bowel movements and the other one may pass mucus.
- Descending or sigmoid colostomy: The stoma is placed on the lower left side of your abdomen. Firm bowel movements pass through the stoma.
How do I adapt to having a colostomy?
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 ostomy 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 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 caregiver or enterostomal therapist can help if itching, redness, or a rash develops around your stoma.
Where can I find support and more information?
- 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
- 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
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