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.
Standard ileostomy - stoma care; Brooke ileostomy - stoma care; Continent ileostomy - stoma care; Abdominal pouch - stoma care; End ileostomy - stoma care; Ostomy - stoma care
The feces that come out of the stoma can be very irritating to the skin. So it is important to take special care of the stoma to avoid damage to the skin.
After surgery, the stoma will be swollen. It will shrink over the next several weeks.
The skin around your stoma should look like it did before surgery. The best way to protect your skin is by:
Stoma appliances are either 2-piece or 1-piece sets. A 2-piece set consists of a baseplate (or wafer) and pouch. A baseplate is the part that sticks to the skin and protects it against irritation from feces. The second piece is the pouch that feces empties into. The pouch attaches to the baseplate, similar to a Tupperware cover. In a 1-piece set, the baseplate and appliance is all one piece. The baseplate usually needs to be changed only once or twice a week.
To care for your skin:
If you have hair on the skin around your stoma, your pouch may not stick. Removing the hair may help.
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.
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 this happens:
If your stoma is leaking, your skin will get sore.
Be sure to treat any skin redness or skin changes right away, when the problem is still small. Do not allow the sore area to become larger or more irritated before asking your doctor about it.
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.
You should never stick anything into your stoma, unless your doctor tells you to.
Call your doctor or nurse if:
Call your doctor if the skin around your stoma:
Also call if you:
Burch J. Caring for peristomal skin: what every nurse should know. Br J Nurs. 2010;19(3):166, 168, 170.
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. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 52.
Updated by: Joshua Kunin, MD, Consulting Colorectal Surgeon, Zichron Yaakov, Israel. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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