A stoma is where the bowel is passed through the abdominal wall to create an opening through which faeces can come out of the body. A bag is placed over the opening to collect the faeces.
This is created by the surgeon as either:
- a temporary measure to rest the part of the bowel that has been operated to enable it to heal; or
- a permanent measure
There are two types of stoma
1) an ileostomy is where the final part of the small bowel is brought to the surface. It can either be:
- an end ileostomy where the bowel finishes; or
- a loop ileostomy where the bowel continues past the ileostomy to the large bowel.
2) a colostomy is where the large bowel is brought to the surface.
Having a stoma can take a large amount of getting used to so support from the colorectal nurse specialist team is invaluable both whilst in hospital and at home.
The following are useful websites for more information.
Colostomy Association - A small charity concentrating on providing support to people with stomas.
The Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Support group - A network of support groups for people with ileostomies. It is a useful website to explore and to get in touch with other people about living with an ileostomy.
United Ostomy Associations of America - An American organisation with a large amount of information on living with a stoma.
NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ileostomy/pages/introduction.aspx - Information on having an ileostomy.
NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/colostomy/pages/introduction.aspx - Information on having a colostomy.