If it is necessary to spare the intestine from its normal digestive work while it heals, a temporary opening of the intestine onto the abdomen (colostomy) may be done. A temporary colostomy will be closed and repaired later. If a large portion of the bowel is removed, the colostomy may be permanent. The large intestine (colon) absorbs most of the fluid from foods. When the colon is bypassed by a colostomy in the right colon, the colostomy output is generally liquid stool (feces). If the colon is bypassed in the left colon, the colostomy output is generally more solid stool. The constant or frequent drainage of liquid stool can cause the skin around the colostomy to become inflamed. Careful skin care and a well-fitting colostomy bag can reduce this irritation.
Updated by: John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Chester, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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