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Wondering how your stoma might affect daily life? Wondering how your stoma might affect daily life? It will take time to adjust to life with a stoma. But there’s no reason why it should stop you doing most of the things you already do, from sports to socializing. Daily life with a stoma
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Wondering how your stoma might affect daily life?

After your stoma operation you will need some time to recover. This is perfectly normal, and the time needed will vary from person to person. Your stoma will change in the first weeks following surgery, in terms of both size and output. Also, you might lose or gain weight in these weeks.

Get started with a pouch
Having a stoma means you have no control over when you defecate or, in the case of a urostomy, when you urinate. This means that you always need to wear a pouch to collect your output.

Healthy skin
In order for your pouch to adhere properly, it is very important to keep the skin around your stoma healthy. When the pouch is attached correctly, there is no risk of smell from your stoma and less risk of skin irritation. Before you leave hospital, you will be trained in how to choose and manage your stoma pouch and how to take care of your skin.

What about food and drink?
In general you can eat and drink as normal. Try to see how your stoma reacts to different foods. Your stoma care nurse, surgeon or physician will advise if you need to take special precautions.

In general, your stoma is no hindrance to working, socializing, playing sports, travelling or other hobbies. Your general state of health – physically as well as mentally – will play a big role in determining your quality of life as you move forward.

Talk about it
Talk about itNothing is more helpful than someone who really understands what you are going through. You are certainly not alone – the number of people with a stoma worldwide is 1.9 million. Your local patient organization is one way of meeting peers to get handy tips, inspiration and personal support.

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Understanding your digestive and urinary system Understanding your digestive and urinary system A colostomy and ileostomy work within your digestive system, while a urostomy works within your urinary system. A good way to understand how your stoma works is to have a basic knowledge of how food and drink is digested by your body. The digestive system and urinary system
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Understanding your digestive and urinary system

The digestive system

The digestive systemThe stomach
When you eat, the food travels down a long, narrow tube called the food pipe into your stomach. Here, the food is churned into smaller pieces and your digestive juices turn it into liquid.

The small bowels
The journey continues as the contents of your stomach move into the small bowel (ileum), where digestion finishes. Your body absorbs the nutrients it needs for energy, growth and building new cells and channels these into the bloodstream.

The large bowel
When all nutrition has been absorbed, the remains move into the large bowel (colon), where your body absorbs more fluid to make the waste more solid. The muscles in your colon wall then push any waste forward into your rectum, where it passes out of your body through your anus, with the aid of the sphincter muscles, as stool.

 

The urinary system

The urinary systemUrine is made by your kidneys and travels down two tubes called the ureters to your bladder. Urine is produced all the time, but it is stored in your bladder until you get a sense that you need to urinate. The urine then passes out of your body through the urethra.

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Becoming confident with your ostomy Becoming confident with your ostomy Your ET nurse will explain how to take care of your stoma while you’re still in hospital. There’s a lot of information to take in, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek clarification if you need it. Taking care of your stoma
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Becoming confident with your stoma

After your operation, your stoma care nurse will focus on helping you become confident in taking care of your stoma. It will help to have a close relative or spouse with you for this training.

Your nurse will help you with:

  • Learning how to care for your stoma, including what to watch out for
  • Re-ordering stoma pouches and accessories
  • Your rights regarding reimbursement and other economic support relating to your stoma
  • Other practical aspects of living with a stoma, e.g. foods and drink, your social life, travelling and your intimate relationships
  • Who to contact when you have questions
  • Ostomy association support groups in your area

Ask questions
There will be a lot of new information to take in at once; it may even feel a bit overwhelming. Take your time and ask all the questions you need, as many times as you need to. The more you ask and try things out, the better prepared you will be once you are back at home.


Before you leave the hospital, your enterostomal therapy nurse will likely make arrangements for follow-up care to make sure you feel confident caring for your ostomy.

Overcoming challenges
Once you are home, you may experience some challenges caring for your stoma. But remember that your ET nurse, as well as our Consumer Support Specialists, will be more than happy to help you with any issues.

 

To contact our Consumer Support Team, please call 1-866-293-6349 or email ca_conspec@coloplast.com

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