Living with a stoma

A stoma, what is it and what does it do? A stoma is an artificial opening in the intestine from which feces or urine comes out. You get a stoma if you can no longer urinate or defecate naturally, or if this is not allowed due to, for example, an operation or an illness. There are different types of stomas. The ileostomy, (small intestine). The colostomy, (large intestine), and the urostomy, (urinary tract).

Living with a stoma.

Many people, especially older people, have to deal with it. A stoma. Many people are uncomfortable with this idea. They don’t dare to talk about it with others, and therefore try to hide it from the outside world. Many people who get a stoma feel different, as if there is something on their body that is not theirs. Of course, it takes a lot of getting used to if you just have a stoma, but if after a few days you notice the benefits of living with a stoma, you will be happy that it exists!

A stoma, why?

There are several reasons why you need a stoma. A colostomy, for example. This is a colon stoma, which you get when you can no longer or are no longer allowed to pass the stool through the natural route. If you have an inflammatory disease or cancer, this may also be a reason to (temporarily) get a colostomy. You will also receive a colostomy if a piece of colon needs to be removed. A colostomy is usually located just below the navel, usually on the left side of the abdomen.
The ileostomy is a small intestinal stoma. You also get this if you can no longer or are no longer allowed to pass the stool through the natural route. An ileostomy is usually used when the colon is removed. The stool that comes out of the ileostomy is usually loose stool. This is because the stool is no longer thickened in the colon because it has been removed. The ileostomy is usually placed at the end of the small intestine.
And then we have the urostomy , or urostomy. You will have to deal with a urostomy if you can no longer pass urine naturally because the bladder has been removed. With the urostomy, 2 ureters with a piece of small intestine are attached to the abdominal wall.

The collection material.

The stool or urine from the stoma comes into a bag. This should be changed approximately every 1 to 2 days. People who still live at home do this themselves, usually in the bathroom. They will receive an explanation about this from a caregiver/nurse. They tell you how to keep it clean and how to put a new bag on the stoma.
There are different types of collection bags that you can choose from. You can choose between a one-piece system and a two-piece system.
A one-piece collection system consists of a thin skin barrier, to which the bag is already attached. With the exchange it must all be received. So the entire system needs to be replaced. Changing is done 1 to 3 times a day.
With a two-piece collection system, new bags are attached again and again. So you don’t have to replace the entire system, just the bags. There are different systems, you often have to click, stick or clamp the bags . The skin barrier may remain in place for 3 days, and the pouches are changed daily.

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