Why your stoma may change in shape and size

Stoma Management

Hear from Sarah our Clinical Advisor

From A Bigger Life

First 6-8 weeks
Whenever you have a stoma newly formed the first thing you notice is that it will be quite swollen. The shape and size of your stoma can change and will change over the course of the first 6 – 8 weeks after your surgery. The reason for that is whenever the surgeon is forming the stoma he has to handle your bowel. Whenever the surgeon handles the bowel, it causes it to swell. So, it takes about 6-8 weeks for it to shrink and reduce in shape and size.

It’s important in those early weeks to measure your stoma once a week, and then to cut out the actual accurate size on your pouch to make sure that the fit is accurate. Beyond the first 6-8 weeks it’s not unusual for your stoma to change shape and size occasionally and there’s a few reasons for that.

For ladies, if you become pregnant your stoma well also increase in size as your pregnancy increases during the length and time of your pregnancy. It’s important that during the nine months that you’re pregnant to measure the stoma maybe increase the size of what you’re having to cut out of your pouch. During pregnancy, it’s quite possible that you need to think about changing the appliance that you are using. It will be important to keep in touch with your stoma care nurse during that period.

Everyday life
The actual movement of the stoma in normal everyday life, whenever you take your pouch off, it’s very natural to see it shrinking back in again and just a normal peristaltic movement but what you should see is that the stoma naturally makes it way back out again.

Parastomal hernia
Another reason why the stoma might change shape and size is perhaps if you have developed a parastomal hernia and that causes the mucosa, the outside of your peristomal skin, the actual part of your stoma down onto the parastomal skin to stretch as well. That’s another indication when you should look at the product that you are using, make sure it’s the right shape and size to ensure that you’ve got the most accurate fit.

Why your stoma may change in shape and size Infographic

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