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What is an ostomy and other questions about ostomates

An ostomy is a surgically created opening in the body for the discharge of body waste products; usually the bowel is brought to the abdomen and used as a duct. There are three main types of ostomy: colostomy, an opening of the colon (large intestine); ileostomy, an opening in the small intestine; and urostomy, which diverts urine away from the bladder. Many conditions, including colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, bladder cancer, and spinal cord injuries, can necessitate ostomy surgery.

Are There Any Activity Restrictions For Ostomates?

Many ostomates travel, work, swim, hike, play sports, and have a very active lifestyle. When a stoma is created the abdominal muscles are cut which can cause a weak abdomen to develop. Lifting heavy loads can cause a hernia that may cause problems maintaining a seal with the ostomy appliances. An ostomate should work with their physical therapist to determine which exercises would be best.

Are There Any Special Precautions Regarding Diet And Oral Medications For Ostomates?

Colostomates or urostomates usually have no dietary restrictions, and medications are absorbed normally. There are some changes in food and medication absorption if a patient has an ileostomy. An ostomate is encouraged to work with their pharmacist and dietician to determine the best diet and medications for the type of stoma they have.

With An Ostomy, What Are The Most Common Complications To Watch For?

Some if the more common complications of having a stoma are skin problems, herniation, prolapse or retraction of the stoma, allergic reactions, and leakage or odor. Sometimes ileostomates have problems with food blockages or dehydration. At our support group these problems, and how to deal with them, are discussed.

Have There Been Any Recent Advances In Ostomy Appliances And Products? If I Am Using An Outdated Appliance, Is It Possible For Me To Upgrade?

There are many products available to help ostomates live a full life. It can be difficult finding the right equipment since every stoma is different, and a person’s abdominal contours can change over the course of their life. Vendors are invited to the Sonora Ostomy Support Group to demonstrate the newest products. In addition, at the outpatient ostomy clinic, ostomates will have their abdomen and stoma evaluated and will be given samples to try.

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