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What is a stoma? What is a stoma? Understanding exactly what a stoma is and how it is created is an important first step in getting to grips with how it might affect your daily life. Understanding what a stoma is
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What is a stoma?

A stoma is the result of an operation that is meant to remove disease and relieve symptoms. It is an artificial opening that allows faeces or urine either from the intestine or from the urinary tract to pass.

The stoma is created of an end of the intestine, which is brought to the surface of your abdomen to form the stoma (opening). 


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Three types of stoma Three types of stoma There are three types of stoma, each created for different purposes. Keep reading to find out where they are typically placed and what they are for. Stoma types
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Three types of stoma

The three types of stoma are: Colostomy, Ileostomy and Urostomy.

 

Colostomy

ColostomyIn a colostomy operation, part of your colon is brought to the surface of your abdomen to form the stoma. A colostomy is usually created on the left-hand side of your abdomen. Stools in this part of the intestine are solid and, because a stoma has no muscle to control defecation, will need to be collected using a stoma pouch.

There are two different types of colostomy surgery: End colostomy and loop colostomy.

End colostomy
If parts of your large bowel (colon) or rectum have been removed, the remaining large bowel is brought to the surface of the abdomen to form a stoma. An end colostomy can be temporary or permanent. The temporary solution is relevant in situations where the diseased part of the bowel has been removed and the remaining part of the bowel needs to rest before the ends are joined together. The permanent solution is chosen in situations where it is too risky or not possible to re-join the two parts of the intestine.

Loop colostomy
In a loop colostomy, your bowel is lifted above skin level and held in place with a stoma rod. A cut is made on the exposed bowel loop, and the ends are then rolled down and sewn onto the skin. In this way, a loop stoma actually consists of two stomas (double-barrelled stoma) that are joined together. The loop colostomy is typically a temporary measure performed in acute situations. It can also be carried out to protect a surgical join in the bowel.

Ileostomy

IleostomyIn an ileostomy operation, a part of your small bowel called the ileum is brought to the surface of your abdomen to form the stoma. An ileostomy is typically made in cases where the end part of the small bowel is diseased, and is usually made on the right-hand side of your abdomen.

Stools in this part of the intestine are generally fluid and, because a stoma has no muscle to control defecation, will need to be collected in a pouch.

There are two different types of ileostomy surgery:

End ileostomy
An end ileostomy is made when part of your large bowel (colon) is removed (or simply needs to rest) and the end of your small bowel is brought to the surface of the abdomen to form a stoma. An end ileostomy can be temporary or permanent.

The temporary solution is relevant in situations where the diseased part of the bowel has been removed and the remaining part needs to rest before the ends are joined together. The permanent solution is chosen in situations where it is too risky or not possible to re-join the two parts of the intestine.

Loop ileostomy
In a loop ileostomy, a loop of the small bowel is lifted above skin level and held in place with a stoma rod. A cut is made on the exposed bowel loop, and the ends are then rolled down and sewn onto the skin. In this way, a loop ileostomy actually consists of two stomas that are joined together.

The loop ileostomy is typically temporary and performed to protect a surgical join in the bowel. If temporary, it will be closed or reversed in a later operation.

Urostomy


UrostomyIf your bladder or urinary system is damaged or diseased and you are unable to pass urine normally, you will need a urinary diversion. This is called a urostomy, an ileal conduit or a Bricker bladder.

An isolated part of the intestine is brought onto the surface of the right-hand side of your abdomen and the other end is sewn up. The ureters are detached from the bladder and reattached to the isolated section of the intestine. Because this section of the intestine is too small to function as a reservoir, and there is no muscle or valve to control urination, you will need a urostomy pouch to collect t

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Wondering how your stoma might affect daily life? Wondering how your stoma might affect daily life? It will take time to adjust to life with a stoma. But there’s no reason why it should stop you doing most of the things you already do, from sports to socializing. Daily life with a stoma
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Wondering how your stoma might affect daily life?

After your stoma operation you will need some time to recover. This is perfectly normal, and the time needed will vary from person to person. Your stoma will change in the first weeks following surgery, in terms of both size and output. Also, you might lose or gain weight in these weeks.

Get started with a pouch
Having a stoma means you have no control over when you defecate or, in the case of a urostomy, when you urinate. This means that you always need to wear a pouch to collect your output.

Healthy skin
In order for your pouch to adhere properly, it is very important to keep the skin around your stoma healthy. When the pouch is attached correctly, there is no risk of smell from your stoma and less risk of skin irritation. Before you leave hospital, you will be trained in how to choose and manage your stoma pouch and how to take care of your skin.

What about food and drink?
In general you can eat and drink as normal. Try to see how your stoma reacts to different foods. Your stoma care nurse, surgeon or physician will advise if you need to take special precautions.

In general, your stoma is no hindrance to working, socializing, playing sports, travelling or other hobbies. Your general state of health – physically as well as mentally – will play a big role in determining your quality of life as you move forward.

Talk about it
Talk about itNothing is more helpful than someone who really understands what you are going through. You are certainly not alone – the number of people with a stoma worldwide is 1.9 million. Your local patient organisation is one way of meeting peers to get handy tips, inspiration and personal support.

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