Seeking Medical Assistance-Colostomy

Edited by B. Brewer, UOAA Update 3/12

The most common problem after colostomy surgery is the development of a hernia around the stoma site. This is manifested as a bulge in the skin around the stoma, difficulty irrigating and partial obstruction. Heavy lifting should be avoided immediately after surgery.

You should call the doctor or ostomy nurse when you have difficulty with:

  • Severe cramps lasting more than two or three hours
  • Unusual odor lasting more than a week
  • Unusual change in stoma size and appearance
  • Obstruction at the stoma and/or prolapse of the stoma
  • Excessive bleeding from the stoma opening, or a moderate amount in the pouch
  • Severe injury or cut to the stoma
  • Continuous bleeding at the junction between stoma and skin
  • Watery discharge lasting more than five to six hours
  • Chronic skin irritation
  • Stenosis of the stoma (narrowing)

Your ostomy nurse is helpful in managing complications should they arise.

via Green Bay (WI) GB News Review, Edited by B. Brewer, UOAA Update 3/12

This question about pouch changes is among those most frequently asked, particularly by ileostomates and urostomy patients. Like many other questions, there is no one answer that applies to all ostomates.
An informal survey revealed that some people change their pouching system as much as 3 times a day, and some as infrequently as every 2 to 4 weeks. Obviously, there must be reasons for this great variation. After pointing out that the great majority of ileostomy and urostomy patients change in the range of once daily to once a week, let us explore some of the reasons. People on either side of this spectrum can have a skin problem or skin which is nearly indestructible.

Some of the reasons for the variation in time between changes include:
Stoma length: A short stoma exposes the adhesive material to moisture which may decrease wearing time.
Amount or consistency of effluent: Profuse effluent tends to loosen the seal.
Skin Type: Moist or oily skin tends to decrease adhesion time.
Skin Irritation: Decreases adhesion. The pouch should be changed more frequently to evaluate the success of your attempts to heal the skin.
Experience: Good technique, such as allowing paste to dry well, will increase adhesion. Personal Experience: Preferences, convenience and odor control.

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