Ostomy learning to manage your stoma
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Remember the information provided here must never be used as an alternative to, or replacement for, advice given by a qualified medical professional.
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If you are diagnosed with a human digestive system or urinary system disease, you may require a surgical procedure called an ostomy. A urostomy is an ostomy of the urinary tract, a colostomy is an ostomy of the large intestine and an ileostomy is an ostomy of the small intestine.
A surgeon makes a hole in the abdomen and a portion of the small or large intestine or urinary tract is brought to the surface of the skin. This opening is also called an ostomy. The stoma is the actual end of the ureter (urinary tract), ileum (small intestine) or colon (large intestine) protruding through the abdominal wall after surgery. A bag fits over the stoma to collect urine in the case of a urostomy or faeces (stool) in the case of a colostomy or ileostomy.
Undoubtedly, it can take a while to get used to living with a stoma. However be assured that as you learn to manage your stoma, the effect it has on your day to day life should lessen. With time, things like going to work or socialising with friends and family will get easier. It is normal to feel worried about how you will look, and how others may react and you will experience practical worries about the bag being noticeable, or smelling. Remember that that stoma bags are very well designed, they should not smell and they cannot be seen through your clothes.
Your stoma nurse can help by giving advice and support. And remember your Right Medicine pharmacist can give you further guidance about your individual stoma care needs.