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Function and types

What is a stoma?

The Greek word stoma translates literally to mouth and refers to an artificially created opening in the body to a holly organ. Such a surgical opening is often found on the abdomen to remove body waste (feces or urine). In many cases, the creation of a stoma is the last solution that can alleviate illness, obstruction or pain. Stomas are also called ostomies and there are different types.

You have just learned that you need a stoma? Rest assured that it is likely the solution for your medical condition. 

Different types of stomas

Permanent or temporary ostomy

Stoma on the digestive tract

What is a colostomy or an ileostomy?

colostomy and ileostomy illustration
transverse, descending, ascending and sigmoid colostomy illustration
Why is it sometimes necessary to create an intestinal stoma?

A colostomy may be required because of:

  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Familial polyposis
  • Trauma
  • Congenital defects
  • Vascular accident
  • Sigmoidit


An ileostomy may be required because of:

  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn's disease
  • Familial polyposis coli
  • Congenital defects

Stoma on the urinary tract

What is a urostomy?

urostomy illustration
ileal condui and ureterostomy illustration

A urostomy may be required because of:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Congenital defects such as spina bifida
  • Chronic inflammation of the bladder
man with blue shirt holding his hand on his stoma bag