What is a stoma?

What is a stoma? What is a stoma? Understanding exactly what a stoma is and how it is created is an important first step in coming to grips with how it might affect your daily life. Understanding what an ostomy is
Close

What is a stoma?

A stoma is the result of an operation that is meant to remove disease and relieve symptoms. It is an artificial opening that allows feces or urine either from the intestine or from the urinary tract to pass.

The stoma is created from the end of the intestine, which is brought to the surface of your abdomen to form the stoma (opening). 


Download relevant stoma guides:

Close
What does a stoma look and feel like? What does a stoma look and feel like? A stoma is usually moist and pinkish-red, and will stick out slightly from your abdomen. Stoma look and feel
Close

What does a stoma look and feel like?

After surgery, your stoma may be quite swollen to begin with, but will reduce in size over time – usually after six to eight weeks.

A stoma is pinkish-red in color. This is because it is a mucous membrane, just like the mucous membrane inside your mouth. There is no sensation in the stoma, so it is not painful to touch. The stoma can bleed a little when being cleaned, especially in the beginning, but this is quite normal, and should stop shortly afterwards.

 

If you are an individual with an ostomy, try our BodyCheck tool to ensure optimal fit between your body and your pouching system.

Close
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
Close

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.

Close
Three types of ostomies Three types of ostomies There are three types of ostomies, each created for different purposes. Keep reading to find out where they are typically placed and what they are for. Ostomy types
Close

Three types of ostomies

The three types of stoma are: Colostomy, Ileostomy and Urostomy.

 

Colostomy

ColostomyIn a colostomy operation, part of your colon is brought to the surface of your abdomen to form the stoma. A colostomy is usually created on the left-hand side of your abdomen. Stools in this part of the intestine are solid and, because a stoma has no muscle to control defecation, will need to be collected using a pouching system.

There are two different types of colostomy surgery: End colostomy and loop colostomy.

End colostomy
If parts of your colon or rectum have been removed, the remaining large intestine is brought to the surface of the abdomen to form a stoma. An end colostomy can be temporary or permanent. The temporary solution is relevant in situations where the diseased part of the bowel has been removed and the remaining part of the bowel needs to rest before the ends are joined together again. The permanent solution is chosen in situations where it is too risky or not possible to re-join the two parts of the intestine.

Loop colostomy
In a loop colostomy, part of your colon is lifted above skin level and held in place with a stoma rod. A cut is made on the exposed bowel loop, and the ends are then rolled down and sewn onto the skin. In this way, a loop stoma actually consists of two stomas (double-barreled stoma) that are joined together. The loop colostomy is typically a temporary measure performed in acute situations.

Ileostomy

IleostomyIn an ileostomy operation, a part of your small intestine called the ileum is brought to the surface of your abdomen to form the stoma. An ileostomy is typically created in cases where the end part of the small intestine is diseased or the large intestine is diseased, and is usually made on the right-hand side of your abdomen.

Stools in this part of the intestine are generally fluid and, because a stoma has no muscle to control defecation, will need to be collected in a pouching system.

There are two different types of ileostomy surgery:

End ileostomy
An end ileostomy is made when part of your colon is removed (or simply needs to rest) and the end of your small intestine is brought to the surface of the abdomen to form a stoma. An end ileostomy can be temporary or permanent.

The temporary solution is relevant in situations where the diseased part of the bowel has been removed and the remaining part needs to rest before the ends are joined back together. The permanent solution is chosen in situations where it is too risky or not possible to re-join the two parts of the intestine.

Loop ileostomy
In a loop ileostomy, a loop of the small intestine is lifted above skin level and held in place with a stoma rod. A cut is made on the exposed bowel loop, and the ends are then rolled down and sewn onto the skin. In this way, a loop ileostomy actually consists of two stomas that are joined together.

The loop ileostomy is typically temporary and is created to make it easier for the surgeon to re-connect the bowel at a later date. If re-connection is an option your surgeon can then rejoin the two pieces of bowel in a future operation.

Urostomy


UrostomyIf your bladder or urinary system is damaged or diseased and you are unable to pass urine normally, you will need a urinary diversion. This is called a urostomy or ileal conduit.

An isolated part of the intestine is brought onto the surface of the right-hand side of your abdomen and the other end is sewn up. The ureters are detached from the bladder and reattached to the isolated section of the intestine. Because this section of the intestine is too small to function as a reservoir, and there is no muscle or valve to control urination, you will need a urostomy pouching system to collect the urine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Request free samples of Coloplast ostomy products to fit your individual needs

Close

Ostomy support every step of the way

Fill out the form below to join Coloplast® Care today!

Is this a cell phone or a land line?*



Close

Order your free samples

Thank you for your order

Your order is complete!

View desktop version