Straight Talking About Stomas

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.

Bloggers Experience

In January 2009 at age 21, I was busy preparing for my university exams, and working in my part time job. However I noticed that I wasn’t feeling quite like myself, always tired, no energy and constant dark circles under my eyes… More 
My name is Gemma, I’m 30 years old and I have an end colostomy… It feels like a confession when I say it like that! Like some secret that should remain hidden… More 
Not long after my 30th birthday, the first symptoms appeared: blood in the toilet bowl! I thought I’d better see my GP. Some inner health plus, stool samples and antibiotics later with no improvement, it was off to a specialist… More 
Hello, my name is Lorraine and I am 37 years old. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when I was 18 years old. For me a flare was usually brought on by stress and in 2010 I had a very severe flare up due to major life changes which resulted in emergency… More 
On the 17th March 2008 I underwent a total panprocolectomy which gave me a permanent stoma. For those not aware, this meant that most of my intestines, my entire colon, rectum and anus were removed… More 
My name is Caitlin McGinnis and I am 27 years old.  I currently reside in Nashville, TN in the USA.  My ostomy story begins at the age of 22 when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis… More 

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