Bowel Ostomy: Things To Know

Ostomy surgery refers to a surgical process that connects an internal organ to the outside of the body. The word ostomy is generally used for an intestinal diversion that brings a part of the bowel to the abdominal wall, forming an opening in the belly. This opening is known as the stoma. This diversion expels waste materials out of the body without allowing them to pass through the diseased part of the digestive tract.

There are two types of bowel ostomy.

  • Colostomy, which brings a part of the colon to the abdominal wall
  • Ileostomy, which brings the end of the small intestine or ileum to the abdominal wall

Both these ostomies can be permanent or temporary, depending on the type or severity of the underlying reason.

Reasons you may need an ostomy

The purpose of the intestines is to move the food mixture towards the rectum and anus. The entire length of the digestive pathway consists of tissues that extract nutrients from that mixture. Once all of the nutrients are absorbed, the leftover is food waste. Any interruption in the GI tract’s pathway can cause problems that might be addressable through an ostomy. The surgeon will disconnect the diseased part of the bowel from the healthy section and pull the end of the healthy bowel through a small incision in the belly to create a stoma.

Reasons that may lead you to require an ostomy may include the following.

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Bowel cancer
  • Trauma
  • Obstruction
  • Severe infection

The surgeon will give you a temporary ostomy if the diseased part of your bowel needs to rest for some time. You may need a permanent ostomy if the diseased section of your bowel is incurable, and the surgeon has no option other than removing it.

What to expect from an ostomy procedure

Your doctor will run a few tests to make sure that your body is ready to endure the surgical procedure. Those tests include the following.

  • Physical test
  • Urine and blood tests
  • Imaging tests

You will need to talk to your doctor regarding the medication that you currently take. The doctor will see if those medications can be a cause of concern during or after surgery. The doctor will ask you to stop taking those medicines a week before surgery.

Before surgery, the surgeon will give you general anesthesia to put you to sleep. You will feel nothing during the procedure.

The ostomy that you get will be either a loop ostomy or an end ostomy. A loop ostomy is when the surgeon pulls a loop of the bowel out through the cut in the belly and creates an opening on the top of the loop to construct a stoma. A loop ostomy has two openings. One opening expels wastes out of the body, while the other one is connected to the rested or inactive part of the colon. A loop ileostomy is generally temporary.

An end ostomy is when the surgeon rests or removes the diseased part of the bowel by separating the healthy section of the bowel from the diseased one. This ostomy can be temporary or permanent.

Living with an ostomy

With an ostomy, you are going to have to wear an ostomy bag the entire time. This bag will collect waste materials that you can get rid of by emptying or discarding the pouch. An ostomy doesn’t stop you from living a healthy and active life, but you will need to adapt to an ostomy care regimen, which can be difficult at first, but it gets easier with time. You may want to discuss these matters with your doctor or ostomy care nurse.

Treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease Through Ileostomy Surgery

An ostomy created by bringing a part of the ileum out through a cut on the belly is known as an ileostomy. The end of the ileum sticks out on the abdominal skin to form a stoma. Intestinal wastes, instead of proceeding to the diseased section of the bowel, pass out of the stoma. You are going to need to wear an ostomy bag over the stoma to collect waste materials.

An ileostomy can be temporary or permanent, depending on the type or severity of the underlying disorder. The surgeon will opt to give you a permanent ileostomy if your bowel has no chance to recover after surgery. A temporary ileostomy, on the other hand, allows the diseased section of the bowel to recover by resting until the surgeon decides to reconnect the GI tract. After the ileostomy reversal, you get the ability to move your bowels naturally.

Why would you need ileostomy surgery for IBD?

Damage to the large intestine due to inflammatory bowel disease may lead your doctor to choose to remove or rest it. Your body will then need an alternative way to expel waste materials. This alternative way is an ileostomy.

The creation of an ileostomy is generally a part of the surgical procedure called a proctocolectomy or colectomy.

The surgical process

Ileostomy surgery can be keyhole surgery or open surgery. If the surgeon must remove a part of your colon, he or she will do it before creating the stoma.

The two types of ileostomies are loop ileostomy and end ileostomy.

  • A loop ileostomy brings a loop of the ileum out through the cut in the belly. The surgeon will open up the loop and attach its edges to the surrounding skin. Waste materials, instead of passing to the diseased section, will leave the body through the stoma. It puts the other bowel section, which is accessible through the second opening, to rest. This ileostomy is almost always reversible.
  • An end ileostomy brings the end of the ileum through an incision in the belly to create a stoma. The surgeon will create this stoma after removing or resting the colon. End ileostomies are generally permanent, even though they can be temporary in some cases.

Before surgery, you will meet an ostomy nurse who will explain to you what it means to have an ileostomy. He or she will describe the lifestyle change you will need to bring, including the equipment that you will need to use to manage stool evacuations. You may also discuss the placement of the stoma.

Recovering from surgery

The immediate impact of ileostomy surgery can be quite unpleasant. You will be able to adapt to it over time. During your hospital stay, the medical staff and nurses will take care of your stoma. An ostomy nurse will teach you how to take care of your stoma by using the right equipment, which includes an ostomy appliance and other products to take care of the skin around the stoma.

The overall recovery of the bowel after surgery may take 6-8 weeks. During this phase, you will need to stick to a strict diet plan and a strictly limited physical activity regimen. Once your bowel recovers, you can eat pretty much every type of food you want and engage in intense physical activities aside from the ones that involve heavy lifting.

You will need to be particularly careful about your stoma and the skin around it. Make sure that you are not having any complications in these areas, or it can leave a significantly unpleasant impact on your lifestyle.

How to Conceal Your Ostomy Pouching System?

Every ostomate wants to hide the pouching system, especially in public places, offices, and gatherings. They have a fear that people will see their ostomy appliances under clothes, this thought makes them embarrass and low-confident. Ostomates find ways to conceal their pouching system under their dresses.

Well, concealing the ostomy bags under the clothes is a common concern of all the ostomates. Here are little ideas that can help you in hiding your ostomy pouching system under your dress.

The Style of the Ostomy Pouching System

Always wear a style of the stoma bag that is not visible and hard. Some rigid plastics used in the pouching system; thus, other people can notice that there is something under your attire. Moreover, the type of pouching system also matters a lot. The two-piece pouching system is noticeable to others because of the separate bag and skain barrier. They need more space to cover. Thus, they can pop up and visible by the people. In a one-piece pouching system, both the flanges and the pouch are connected. They appear as a single set, you can adjust the outer side of the bag through the fingers. Thus, it will not pop out and invisible to the people. Moreover, there are a few new products in the market that allow privacy and unnoticeable characteristics, including Coloplast’s Assura AC (Adhesive Coupling), Hollister’s New Image, and ConvaTec’s Esteem Synergy. But, they are not appropriate for the ostomates who use the convex pouching system for their stoma. However, for this purpose, you can also seek help from your ET nurse, they know better techniques and styles of the ostomy appliance that will help in hiding the bags.

Selection of Clothes

Another essential element to conceal the ostomy pouching system is your vigilant selection of clothes. If you want to hide your stoma bag underdress, then choose loose attires. Wear some dark colors until you get used to the pouching system and managing it. Moreover, the fabric matters a lot. Try to wear thin, silky, georgette, net, and linen stuff. Use cotton and satin fabrics. Moreover, you can wear a stoma belt over the ostomy pouching system. This also hides the bags. It appears like a simple waist belt. An ostomate can wear this belt under clothes. This balances the shape of the abdomen, it controls the leakage and hides the appliance. This is a very useful idea for the ostomates who wants to conceal the ostomy pouching system, having leakage problem, and issues in managing the stoma and its appliances. Choose printed, colorful, and loose tops for your public gatherings.

Selection of Swimsuits

Well, swimming is a vital part of many youngsters. It is some people’s job and some person’s hobbies. Nobody wants to give up swimming after having a stoma. But, the ultimate concern is hiding the ostomy pouching system under clothes. No ostomates want to get it noticed by the people. In this case, you need to select a beachwear that is appropriate for your beach parties and swimming. Thus, pick up a dark swimsuit. You can select vibrant and printed swimming wears. Try to avoid bikinis. If you are fond of bikinis, then you can wear a stoma belt to hide the pouching system. Well, in the case of full beachwear, you can also use the belt-line to conceal the pouches. Do not go for the thin or visible fabric. Buy cotton stuff in your swimming wears. Stoma-belts can help you a lot in concealing the pouches and ostomy appliances.

These are a few recommendations for the ostomates. Well, the person can select the right way of concealing the stoma bag and appliance on the convenience and comfortability level. Moreover, ask your ET nurse before selecting a fabric, color, and stuff.