Stoma care

This site is dedicated to stoma care.
Stoma care

        Stoma care is the first thing that a stoma patient learns even before the surgical procedure itself. Why the rush, you might wonder. Well, simply because if you are not able to handle the stoma care and everything it implies, than the operation becomes useless and tiresome. Therefore, in the same conversation where your attending physician explains why a stoma is necessary and how it can save your life, he or she will also give details about the stoma care. Some patients are simply horrified about everything that they hear and cannot even consider it. Others take some time to think it over and eventually agree. However, the myth about how stoma care is gruesome and nearly impossible to live with day by day is just that. A myth. Modern day stoma bags allow the wearer to continue living a normal and fulfilling life.

       But before all this, maybe you should ask yourself what a stoma really is? First, the stoma procedure applies to a rather restrictive category of patients. Basically, only patients that suffer from some pretty life - threatening conditions are presented with this option. There are three main types of stoma, indicating the three areas in which a stoma operation could be the solution: ileostomy, colostomy and urostomy. The ileostomy stoma is introduced when the patient is suffering from Chron's disease, ulcerative colitis or any sort of upper digestive tract cancer. The colostomy stoma is used when colon or anus cancer is wreaking havoc on the patients' body, while the urostomy stoma comes in handy when the bladder has a problem.

       As a physical procedure, the stoma procedure implies the following steps: the surgeon makes an incision in your abdomen in the appropriate spot. He or she then looks for the damaged parts of your digestive tract or urinary tract and eliminates them. When that is done, the surgical team will create an opening in your abdomen, aptly called a stoma (from the Greek word meaning "mouth"). The remaining part of your intestines or your bladder will be connected to this stoma, allowing for the wastes to leave your body without them passing through the large intestine, the anus or the bladder, accordingly to each type of stoma. The obvious conclusion about the stoma surgery would be that it is a by - pass operation. Perfectly true.

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       You might be surprised by the following statement, but it is entirely real: the stoma care begins before the surgery itself. The first step towards stoma care is the psychological counseling: the patient must be made aware that the stoma will change his or her life for the better and it will probably prolong his or her life with decades. Also, the sufferer must understand that their life will continue as planned, that the fact that they have a stoma is not a hindrance.

       The second step in the stoma care program is the pre - surgery treatment: a special diet, some physical exercises and vitamins and minerals are all included. The diet is meant to make the digestion process easier than usual, the physical exercises are meant to strengthen your body and the vitamins and minerals should energize your organism.

       However, only after the surgery begins the real stoma care. In the first few weeks after the surgery, you will not be allowed to leave the hospital. The physician needs to keep an eye on you and the nurses need to teach you how to take care of your stoma. Several stoma complications can be avoided by remaining hospitalized: infection, fever, bleeding and skin rashes. Of course, the surgeon also monitories the healing process of your surgery and he or she is the only one that can give you a green light to resume your life.

       After being released from the hospital, you will need some help for another few weeks. Afterwards, you can take manage your stoma care all on your own. There are a few things that you must respect, no matter the situation, when talking about the stoma care:

  • Monitor your stoma bag carefully: in the first few months, your digestive system will undergo some changes. It needs them to get used to its new geography. Therefore, you need to monitor your stoma bag carefully, so as to avoid any leakage or bursting.
  • Keep in mind that your stoma does not work like an anus: the stoma does not have regulator muscles, thus you cannot control the flow of the wastes or the moment that your digestive system or urinary system decides to eliminate them. Unfortunately, in the first months after the surgery, you are not aware enough of your body so that you can detect bowel or bladder movement, making the digestive or excretion process a bit of a surprise for the patient.
  • Change the stoma bag as often as it is necessary, but not more often than you should: changing the bag more often than necessary will lead to the loosening of your stoma, to leakage and to skin problems. Also, every time you change to stoma bag, a little quantity of blood will flow out. Not to mention that stoma bags are not exactly cheap and they cannot be reutilized, they are "one - time" items.
  • Watch for any skin damage signs: the skin surrounding the stoma is the perfect barometer. It is highly sensitive to any sort of modifications inside your stoma and to your intestines and it will get red, blistered and itchy. If that happens, you must contact a physician as soon as possible.