Straight Talking About Stomas

Stoma Basics

Clinical Advisor

From A Bigger Life

The prospect of surgery can be a scary thing, but it helps to know what to expect so you aren’t worrying and stressing too much. When you learn you may need a stoma, it’s natural to have a lot of questions and concerns. You will want to know, what a stoma is, what it looks and feels like and how you will adapt to living with your new stoma.

A stoma is when your surgeon brings a piece of your bowel onto your tummy, they will fold it back and attach it onto your skin, creating an opening outside your body. After surgery, you will pass poo/urine through your stoma instead and will not be able to control when this occurs. To help with this a pouch is worn outside of your tummy to collect the waste.

It is red and shiny in colour. There are no nerve endings in a stoma, so you will feel no pain from it. If you run your tongue inside your cheek, that is what your stoma will feel like, red, healthy, shiny and warm.
There are many reasons why you may need to have a stoma formed.
Faecal or bowel stomas (colostomy and ileostomy) need to be created if you have been diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer, diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis), faecal incontinence or as a result of an accident.

A urinary stoma (urostomy / ileal conduit) is usually created if you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer or benign conditions such as chronic inflammation, incontinence or birth defects.


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