COLOSTOMY

Colostomy - Surgical Opening in the Large Bowel

A colostomy is a surgical opening in the large bowel bringing it to the surface of the abdomen (Figure 2). The opening is usually made just below the navel to the left side and is called a stoma. It can be as small as 21/2mm or as large as 4mm, round or oval in shape, shiny, wet and dark pink in colour, similar to the inside lining of your mouth and occasionally bleeds a little; it will gradually shrink after surgery until it assumes a permanent size some weeks later. Although stomas are rich in blood vessels they do not transmit pain or other sensations and require little care. The stoma should be gently cleansed with plain soap and water at each appliance change. Water will not enter a stoma so it is not necessary to cover it during bathing or showering. Probems that can arise include prolapse, stenosis or narrowing and hernia, all of which will need to be discussed with your stoma nurse.

Colostomy - Normal

The reason you are a colostomate is generally because of cancer of the bowel, injury or accident or some bowel malfunction. It must be remembered that as a colostomate you can no longer dictate to the bowel, the bowel will work when it wishes. Instead of perhaps previously having one bowel movement a day, you will possibly ind that there are now several smaller ones, indeed some colostomates find that eating and bowel activity are closely linked. In this, as in all aspects of life with a colostomy, each individual will settle to their own unique pattern. There are no rules, as this website attempts to show, only guidelines and helpful hints.

Colostomy - Normal