What is an Ostomy?
- "Ostomy" refers to a surgically created opening on the abdomen from an internal organ. There are several types; the most common ostomies are:
- Ileostomy - an opening from the ileum (part of the small intestine)
- Colostomy - an opening from the colon (large intestine)
- Urostomy - an opening from a part of the urinary system (kidneys, ureters or bladder)
- A stoma is the actual end of the ureter or small/large bowel that can be seen protruding through the abdominal wall.
Who should I tell? What should I say about my surgery?
- You should tell those who need to know, such as healthcare providers, your spouse or significant others and people who are involved in your recuperative care. If you tell anyone else - that is up to you. Tell them as little or as much as you would like them to know.
- As your strength returns, you can go back to your regular activities. Most people can return to their previous line of work. An ostomy should not limit your participation in sports or any social activities. Do take caution in activities that really stress the abdominal walls. Make sure you lift properly to lower your chances of a potential hernia. Please click HERE to see more information on exercise.
- People after colostomy and ileostomy surgery should return to their normal diets after a period of adjustment. Reintroduce foods into your diet a little at a time and monitor the effect of each food on the ostomy function. Chew, chew, chew your food well and drink plenty of fluids. There are foods that may cause blockages - especially for ileostomates. It is important to remember that not every food blocks every ostomate. Please click HERE to see more information on food and drink tips for each ostomy type at the bottom of the page you are taken to.
- Whatever you wore before surgery, you can wear afterward with very few exceptions. Most pouching systems made today are virtually unnoticeable, even when wearing the most stylish form-fitting clothing for men or for women. Please click HERE to see more information on clothing for men and women.
- Modern pouching systems are completely odorless.
- Sexual functioning should not be impaired after a normal period of recovery. Women with ostomies become pregnant and have babies all the time. Please click HERE to see more information on sex and intimacy.
- Women with ostomies become pregnant and have babies all the time. Follow the link under sex and intimacy for more information.