You have had an operation to create an ileostomy or colostomy. Your ileostomy or colostomy changes the way your body gets rid of waste (stool, feces, or “poop”).
You now have an opening in your belly called a stoma. 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.
Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor or nurse to help you take care of your ileostomy or colostomy.
Will I be able to wear the same clothes as before?
What will the stool look like that comes from the ileostomy or colostomy? How many times a day will I need to empty it? Should I expect an odor or smell?
Will I be able to travel?
How do I change the pouch?
Can I take showers? Can I take a bath? Do I need to wear the pouch when I bathe?
Can I still play sports? Can I go back to work?
Do I need to change the medicines I am taking? Will birth control pills still work?
What changes do I need to make in my diet?
What can I do if my stools are too loose? Are there foods that will make my stools more firm?
What can I do if my stools are too hard? Are there foods that will make my stools looser or more watery? Do I need to drink more liquids?
What should I do if nothing is coming out of the stoma into the pouch?
What should my stoma look like when it is healthy?
When should I call the doctor?
Ostomy - what to ask your doctor; What to ask your doctor about ileostomy or colostomy; Colostomy - what to ask your doctor
Updated by: George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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