Stoma

This site is dedicated to stoma care.
Stoma

        Contrary to popular belief, having a stoma is not exactly a condemnation to solitude and the end of your day to day life. Actually, a stoma can and will give most patients a new lease on life to use as they please. The reason behind the stoma surgery is pretty simple: if the patient suffers from any sort of complicated and, most likely, life - threatening digestive or urinary tract disease, then a stoma could be a life - saver. The stoma surgical procedure might seem straightforward and simple, but the truth is that it is anything but that. For one, imagine that the surgeon must take out every single sick cell in your digestive or urinary tract. If he or she misses something, then the cancer will be back with a vengeance. This is why the physician usually cuts about five centimeters more than he or she should.

        Just to be on the safe side. After the elimination of the dangerous bits, the surgical team will create a hole in the patients' abdomen, link the remaining healthy intestine or bladder part to said hole and cap it with a bag. That hole is called the stoma (from the Greek word meaning "mouth") and the bag is also known as a stoma pouch.

       The surgery could a bit traumatic for some patients. Beyond the obvious trauma of the sickness they have suffered from before the operation, most people cannot imagine having to live with a pouch, placed on the outside of their body, which collects their wastes. They would consider it disturbing and definitely not a life worth having. The truth is much less dramatic than that: there are about five million people who have been living with stoma pouches for decades now. If all those persons could do it, so can you, no matter how dire the circumstances.

       Once the surgery is done with, you will be kept under close supervision, in the hospital, for a few weeks. This gives the attending physician the time needed to check if everything went all right and if the cancer is truly gone. It also allows your stoma nurse to teach you everything you need to know about the aftercare. You should be aware of the fact that the stoma aftercare is one of the trickiest out there, but that the results are well worth the effort. It does not matter what kind of stoma you have, you must learn how to deal with it for many years to come.

       Basically, there are five types of stoma, but only three of them are used commonly and only two are known by the general public. However, all five of them must be described in order to fully understand the stoma operation:

  • Colostomy: in this case, the problem of the patient lays in his or hers lower digestive tract. Usually, people with colon or anus cancer will undergo the colostomy operation. The stoma is created on their lower abdomen, just shy of the original anus site. The colostomy is, basically, a by - pass surgery: the wastes are eliminated, but they do not pass through the anus.
  • Ileostomy: now, if the entire colon is damaged and has to be removed, the ileostomy procedure is the only way to go. It allows the smaller intestine to connect directly to an artificial opening in your abdomen, a stoma. By allowing the wastes to leave the body before passing through the colon, the patient can function properly even without that part of their anatomy.
  • Urostomy: this is a more difficult surgical procedure in a series of really delicate surgical procedures. In this case, the patient will have a man - made path between their kidneys and a stoma bag, eliminating the bladders' function entirely.
  • Jejunostomy: a variation of ileostomy, this one allows feeding the patient at the same time as offering an alternative pathway for the wastes.
  • Gastronomy: this one might seem a bit odd, because of its name. But the truth is that the gastronomy is an operation that opens a hole directly into the stomach of the patient, allowing for a better artificial feeding process.