What is a stoma and How to live with?

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Having a stoma means changes in your life with new challenges

Having a stoma implies different changes in your everyday life. A stoma is a surgical opening on the abdomen through the skin surface for the purpose of removal of body waste (feces or urine). It is not a disease, but often a life saving condition that relieves you from troubles of diseases, obstruction and pain.

It is important that you do not hide yourself. Talk about it, don't be ashame, start to talk with your family and friends. Also, after your surgery, your social and professional life should not be put into brackets. It is necessary and recommended for you to plan and organize activities. 

Different types of stomas

Permanent or temporary ostomy 

There are different types of ostomies depending on the surgery you have undergone, either on the digestive tract (colostomy or ileostomy) or on the urinary tract (urostomy). While a urostomy is always permanent, a colostomy or ileostomy can be both permanent or temporary. A temporary colostomy or ileostomy might be needed when a part of your colon may need time to heal after having been damaged by a trauma or underlying disease. In this case, the continuity of the bowel is not interrupted as the stoma is a continuity of the digestive tract. A temporary stoma will be removed after three to six months. In other cases the ileostomy or colostomy will be permanent.

What is a colostomy or an ileostomy?

Definition of colostomy and ileostomy

colostomy is a surgically created opening on the surface of the abdomen to divert the feces through a hole in the colon and through the abdomen. An ileostomy is constructed from the small intestine, the ileum to bypass the rectum or colon.

Regarding colostomies we distinguish between a right (or ascending) colostomy, a transverse colostomy or a left colostomy including the descending or Sigmoid colostomy. Depending on the stoma position the stool consistency vary from liquid or semi-liquid stool to formed stool (left colostomy).

Why the creation of a intestinal stoma sometimes is necessary?

The main role of a stoma is to eliminate waste from the bowel when a number of situations make it necessary to bypass the rectum, part of the colon or the whole colon. We invite you to watch the video to understand the normal functioning of the intestinal track and possible disfunction leading to a stoma creation.

What is a urostomy?

The kidneys of the urinary tract ensure blood filtration and produce the urine which is then conducted through the ureters to the bladder. The bladder serves as urine  reservoir whose emptying is controlled by the sphincter. Only if the muscles and nerves in the bladder wall are working correctly a full voluntary emptying is possible.

A urostomy is a surgically created opening made to drain urine from the kidneys, after a part of the urinary tract has been damaged (bladder cancer, trauma…). There are two main types of urostomies:

Ileal conduit (left): A so called «ileal conduit» created of part of the small intestine is joined to both ureters, serving as condut tho the stoma created in the abdomen. This ileal conduit has no sensation.

Ureterostomy (right): With this technique, the surgeon brings one or both ureters through a stoma to the surface of the abdomen. The ureterostomy stoma retains sensation.

Reasons why a stoma may be necessary?

Reasons why a stoma may be necessary

  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Familial polyposis
  • Trauma
  • Congenital defects
  • Vascular accident
  • Sigmoidit
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn‘s disease
  • Familial Polyposis Coli
  • Congenital defects
  • Bladder cancer
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Congenital defects such as spina bifida
  • Chronic inflammation of bladder

Choose the right information regarding your stoma type