Colostomy Care

Treatment for Colostomy care
  • A colostomy is an opening in the belly made by a doctor as the simple way for bowel movements(stool) to leave the body. To create a colostomy, your doctor will do a procedure to make a small opening in your belly. Then he or she will connect your large intestine to this opening .

    A colostomy is usually called a “stoma,” which is a medical word which implies “opening.” After a colostomy is made, your bowel movements will come out through the stoma into a bag that is connected to your skin.

  • You will probably have about 4 to 8 bowel movements daily. Your bowel movements may be looser than they used to be (not as solid).

A special doctor/nurse will teach you ways to manage your colostomy. He or she will instruct you:

  • When and how to empty the bag that collects your bowel movements
  • When and how to put on a new bag to collect your bowel movements
  • When and how to put on a new bag to collect your bowel movements

There are different types of colostomy bags that people can use. With some kinds of bags, you empty, clean, and reuse them. With other types, you throw them out after each use.

If you have a certain type of colostomy, you might be ready to manage it with a process called “irrigation.” This is a way to make your bowel movements regular. It involves squirting water into your stoma on a regular basis to cause a bowel movement to happen.

Different problems can happen with a colostomy, either right away or years later. Let your doctor know if you have any of the following symptoms or problems:

  • Your stoma is swollen or larger than usual.
  • Your stoma is smaller than usual.
  • You have a rash or sores around your stoma.
  • The inside of the stoma sticks out through the opening.
  • You have diarrhoea.
  • You have sudden belly pain, cramps, or nausea.
  • You are dehydrated. Dehydration is when the body loses too much water. Symptoms of dehydration include not making as much urine or having dark yellow urine, or feeling thirsty, tired, dizzy, or confused.
  • You haven’t had any gas or bowel movements for 4 to 6 hours (during the day). These symptoms could mean that your stoma is blocked.

You should be able to live an active and normal life with your colostomy. But many people worry about the following things:

  • Clothes – You do not require to wear special clothes. Other people won’t be able to see your bag under your clothes.
  • Baths and showers – You can take a bath or shower with or without your bag on.
  • Sports – You will probably be able to play most sports. You might want to wear a special belt to protect your bag and keep it in place. Doctors usually recommend that people with a colostomy not play certain contact sports (such as football) or lift weights.
  • Swimming – You can swim with your bag on. Make sure to empty your bag before you swim.
  • Sex – You can have sex. But you might want to wear a special cover to protect (and hide) your bag during sex.
  • Travel – When you travel, be sure to bring extra supplies to manage your colostomy. If you fly, take your supplies in your carry-on bags

It is normal to feel sad, upset, or worried when you have a colostomy. If you have these feelings, try to get help. You can talk with a family member, friend, or counselor. You might also find it helpful to go to a support group for people who have a colostomy.

Dr. Harsh J Shah