An ostomy is surgery to create an opening (stoma) from an area inside the body to the outside. It treats certain diseases of the digestive or urinary systems. It can be permanent, when an organ must be removed. It can be temporary, when the organ needs time to heal. The organ could be the small intestine, colon, rectum, or bladder. With an ostomy, there must be a new way for wastes to leave the body.
There are many different types of ostomy. Some examples are
- Ileostomy - the bottom of the small intestine (ileum) is attached to the stoma. This bypasses the colon, rectum and anus.
- Colostomy - the colon is attached to the stoma. This bypasses the rectum and the anus.
- Urostomy - the tubes that carry urine to the bladder are attached to the stoma. This bypasses the bladder.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- Ostomy Home Skills Program (American College of Surgeons)
- Ostomy Self-Management: Food and Your Stoma (Greenwich Hospital) - PDF
- Ostomy Self-Management: Ostomy Care (Greenwich Hospital) - PDF Available in Spanish
- Ostomy: Adapting to Life After Colostomy, Ileostomy or Urostomy (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Ostomy: Home Management and Other Resources (American College of Surgeons) - PDF
- Stomas (or Ostomies) (American Cancer Society)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
Find an Expert
- American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
- Find a Nurse in Your Area (Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society)
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- Children with Ileostomies (for Parents) (American Cancer Society)
- Changing your ostomy pouch Available in Spanish
- Colostomy Available in Spanish
- Ileostomy Available in Spanish
- Ileostomy - caring for your stoma Available in Spanish
- Ileostomy - changing your pouch Available in Spanish
- Ileostomy - discharge Available in Spanish
- Ileostomy and your child Available in Spanish
- Ileostomy and your diet Available in Spanish
- Living with your ileostomy Available in Spanish
- Low-residue fiber diet Available in Spanish
- Total proctocolectomy with ileostomy Available in Spanish
- Types of ileostomy Available in Spanish
- Urostomy - stoma and skin care Available in Spanish