You had an injury or disease in your digestive system and needed an operation called an ileostomy. The operation changes the way your body gets rid of waste (stool, feces, or poop).
Now you have an opening called a stoma in your belly. Waste will pass through the stoma into a pouch that collects it. You will need to take care of your stoma and empty the pouch many times a day.
Your stoma is the lining of your intestine. It will be pink or red, moist, and a little shiny. Stomas are usually round or oval.
Most stomas stick out a little over the skin, but some are flat. Your stoma may bleed a little when you clean it. The skin around your stoma should be dry.
Carefully look at your stoma and the skin around it every time you change your pouch or barrier.
If the skin around your stoma is red or wet, your pouch may not be sealed well on your stoma. If this happens:
If your stoma is leaking, your skin will get inflamed (sore).
Sometimes the adhesive, skin barrier, paste, tape, or pouch may damage the skin. This may happen when you first start using a stoma, or it may happen after you have been using it for months, or even years.
If there is hair on the skin around your stoma, your pouch may not stick.
If your stoma becomes longer than usual (sticks out from the skin more), try a cold compress, like ice wrapped in a towel, to make it go in.
Do not put anything into the stoma, including a suppository, thermometer, or enema.
Call your doctor or nurse if:
Standard ileostomy - stoma care; Brooke ileostomy - stoma care; Continent ileostomy - stoma care; Abdominal pouch - stoma care; End ileostomy - stoma care; Ostomy - stoma care
American Cancer Institute. Ileostomy guide. Last Revised: 03/17/2011. Accessed 07/08/2012.
Cima RR. Pemberton JH. Ileostomy, colostomy, and pouches. In: Feldman M. Friedman LS, Brandt LJ. Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 113.
Fry RD, Mahmoud N, Maron DJ, Ross HM, Rombeau J. Colon and rectum. In: Townsend Jr. CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 50.
Updated by: Joshua Kunin, MD, Consulting Colorectal Surgeon, Zichron Yaakov, Israel. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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