You had an injury or disease in your digestive system and needed an operation called an ileostomy. The operation changed 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 the stoma and empty the pouch many times a day.
Stool that comes from your ileostomy is thin or thick liquid. It is not solid like the stool that came from your rectum. You must take care of the skin around the stoma.
You can still do normal activities, such as traveling, playing sports, swimming, doing things with your family, and working. You will learn how to take care of your stoma and pouch as part of your daily routine. Your ileostomy will not shorten your life.
An ileostomy is a surgically made opening on the skin of the belly. An ileostomy replaces the rectum as the place where waste of the digestive system (stool) leaves the body.
Usually the colon (large intestine) absorbs most of the water that you eat and drink. With an ileostomy in place, the colon is no longer being used. This means that the stool from your ileostomy has far more liquid than a typical bowel movement from the rectum.
The stool now comes out from the ileostomy and empties into a pouch that is attached to the skin around your stoma. The pouch is made to fit your body well. You must wear it all the time.
The waste that collects will be liquid or pasty, depending on what you eat, what medicines you take, and other things. Waste collects constantly, so you will need to empty the pouch 5 - 8 times a day.
The standard ileostomy is the most common kind of ileostomy that is done.
Most times, the stoma is placed in the right lower part of the belly on a flat surface of normal, smooth skin.
A continent ileostomy is a different type of ileostomy. With a continent ileostomy, a pouch that collects waste is made from part of the small intestine. This pouch stays inside your body, and it connects to your stoma through a valve that your surgeon creates. The valve prevents the stool from constantly draining out, so that you usually do not need to wear a pouch.
Waste is drained by putting a tube (catheter) through the stoma a few times each day.
Continent ileostomies are not done very often anymore. They can cause many problems that need medical treatment, and sometimes they need to be redone.
Ileostomy - types; Standard ileostomy; Brooke ileostomy; Continent ileostomy; Abdominal pouch; End ileostomy; Ostomy
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, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 113.
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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