What is a colostomy?
A colostomy is a surgical operation in which a piece of the colon is diverted to an artificial opening in the abdominal wall so as to bypass a damaged part of the colon.
What does a colostomy do?
The colon and rectum beyond the colostomy are disconnected or removed. The anus is no longer the exit for stool, but it will still pass.
THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
When you eat, the food passes from your mouth through your esophagus. The stomach then breaks down food into small pieces that move into the small intestine. The material then moves into the large intestine called the colon. Your stool passes from the colon into the rectum and it passes through the anus. With your operation it will bring either the small or large intestine to the surface of the abdomen.
TYPES OF COLOSTOMIES:TRANSVERSE
Transverse colostomy: allows the stool to leave the body before it reaches the descending colon. There are 2 types of transverse colostomies: the loop transverse colostomy and the double-barrel transverse colostomy.
Problems that can lead to a transverse colostomy include:
Inflammatory bowel disease
TYPES OF TRANSVERSE COLOSTOMY
Loop transverse colostomy- this type of colostomy has 2 openings. One opening is where the stool comes out of, while the other puts out mucus.
Double barrel transverse colostomy- two separate stomas are created. Each opening is brought to the surface as a separate stoma, they may or may not be separated by skin.
TYPES OF COLOSTOMIES: ASCENDING COLOSTOMY
The ascending colostomy is placed on the right side of the belly. Only a short portion of colon remains active. This means that the output is liquid and contains many digestive enzymes. A drainable pouch must be worn at all times, and the skin must be protected from the output.
TYPES OF COLOSTOMIES: DESCENDING AND SIGMOID COLOSTOMIES
The descending colostomy is placed on t he lower left side of the stomach. A sigmoid colostomy is made in the sigmoid colon and located a few inches lower than the descending colostomy. There’s more working colon, therefor it may put out solid stool.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR COLOSTOMY BAG
Taking care of your colostomy may seem difficult at first. Once you practice it will become easier. The only difference with a colostomy is having the stool come out of an opening made in your abdomen. Here are a few tips to follow, you can discuss this with your doctor as well.
Hygiene- before cleaning your colostomy bag wash your hands. This will prevent the spread of microorganisms.
Testing- you may have to test different products to see how your skin reacts to them.
Supplies- make sure you gather all the supplies you will use to clean your colostomy bag. Supplies such as ostomy bag, clip, scissors, waterproof pad, wet cloth, etc.
Skin- make sure the skin around the stoma is clean. You can do this with water and then pat dry before putting on the cover, skin barrier, or pouch.
Privacy- it may be frustrating to change your colostomy bag but don’t get overwhelmed. Simply place a waterproof pad under the pouch. The pad will prevent the spilling of effluent.
Self love- be happy, with flaws and everything. No one is perfect!