Download Your guide to living with a colostomy PDF

TitleYour guide to living with a colostomy
LanguageEnglish
File Size1.7 MB
Total Pages17
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Essential advice for before and after operation · User

Your guide to living with a colostomy

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Your colostomy
Having any operation can be an
emotional experience but being
well prepared can help you to
know what to expect. Whether
your operation was planned or
an emergency, this booklet has
been specially written to answer
some of the questions often
asked about having a colostomy
and can also act as a quick ref‑
erence guide for later on.

…we’re here to help
The first thing you can be assured
of is that you will have lots of sup‑
port. Your care team includes your
surgeon, your specialist stoma
nurse and many other healthcare
professionals. We are all here to
give you, your family and carers,
help and advice both before and
after your operation, while you are
in hospital and when you go home.

Inevitably there will be some
issues that this booklet doesn’t
address or that you would like
more information about. Similarly,
the information is general and
some of it may not apply to you.
So in addition to this booklet,
we’ve developed a useful guide
to help you through the first year
following your operation. If you
haven’t been given this by your
nursing team, please call

[INSERT LOCAL DETAILS]
for a complimentary copy.
And don’t forget, it’s natural to
have lots of questions so, no
matter how small it may seem,
if you have any concerns please
ask a member of your care team.
They will be more than happy to
help.

Your operation
Understanding your digestive system 2
What is a colostomy? 4
What difference will having a colostomy make? 4
What will the stoma look and feel like? 5
Why do I need a colostomy? 5
Why do I need to wear a bag? 8
How does a colostomy bag work? 8
How can my specialist stoma nurse help? 8

In hospital
How will I feel after my operation? 10
What should I know? 10
When will my stoma begin to work? 12
What happens when the bag needs emptying? 12
Will I always have to wear a bag that needs emptying? 12
How do I change my bag? 12
How often do I need to empty or change my bag? 14
What sort of bag should I choose? 14
Stoma bags 15
How should I dispose of used bags? 15
Changing checklist 18
What else should I know? 19

Going home
How do I obtain supplies? 22
Do I need to eat a special diet? 22
Will I still be able to travel? 24
Should I still exercise? 24
What about sex? 25
Who can I turn to for support? 25

Sources of help and advice
Useful resources 26

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In hospital In hospital

When will my stoma
begin to work?
Your stoma will begin to work
shortly after your operation, usually
within a few days. At first the out‑
put will be a watery liquid and may
be strong smelling as your bowel
hasn’t been working for a while.
Occasionally your bowel motions
may be mixed with blood. Howev‑
er, please be reassured that the
consistency will thicken slightly
and the smell will settle as you re‑
sume a more balanced diet. Initial‑
ly, it is also likely that a certain
amount of noisy wind (or flatus) will
come from the stoma – again this
is perfectly normal.

It is not uncommon for patients
who still have a lower bowel/
rectum to feel the need to go to
the toilet as they did before. This is
normal and should reduce with
time. If your anus is still present
there may be some mucus
discharge from it. Again this is
expected but it may help to sit on
the toilet to help pass the mucus.

What happens when the
bag needs emptying?
In the first few days after your
operation you’ll wear a clear bag,
like that shown in the picture but
you can then move onto an

opaque bag. The faeces are often
quite watery when the stoma first
starts to work after the operation.
Your nursing staff will help with
emptying the bag, and other
tasks, until you are ready and have
learnt how to do it for yourself.

Will I always have to
wear a bag that needs
emptying?
No. Most people who have had a
colostomy wear a closed or non‑
drainable bag as the output from
the stoma is similar in consistency
to the output you had before the
operation. As you recover and
start to eat more normally the
faeces will usually become more
formed and at this stage you may
wish to discuss with your
specialist stoma nurse the types of
closed bags you can use.


How do I change my
bag?
It’s a good idea to begin to estab‑
lish a routine for changing your
bag and to try and keep this as
simple as possible. As you get
used to your stoma you will find
that at certain times of the day it’s
more active than others, for exam‑
ple shortly after a meal.


12

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In hospital In hospital

Don’t choose this time to
change the bag but select a time
when it’s relatively inactive –
perhaps first thing in the morning.
Before starting to change the bag
make sure you have everything to
hand that you will need. Just like
everything else in life, a little bit of
forward planning can help a lot –
you may find our ‘Changing
checklist’ on page 13 a useful
reminder.

How often do I need
to empty or change
my bag?
This will vary from person to per‑
son. The stoma bag only needs
to be changed when required –
usually between one and three
times per day depending on the
amount of faeces and how often
you open your bowel.

What sort of bag
should I choose?
Generally, with a colostomy you
will need to use a closed bag,
however if the output from your
stoma is particularly liquid a
drainable bag may be more
appropriate.

There are many different types of
closed and drainable bags avail‑
able and your specialist stoma
nurse will be able to help you
choose the most appropriate
one for you.
For example, you may wish to
move away from the clear bag fit‑
ted immediately after your opera‑
tion to an opaque version that
could also be smaller.
Also if you have had an end colo‑
stomy it may be possible to try to
manage your stoma with a colo‑
stomy plug or irrigation. If you are
interested in this, please talk to
your specialist stoma nurse.

Inspection window Opaque bags

Stoma Bags
There are two main sorts of
system
Both types of system will be kind
to your skin, lightweight, leak‑
proof and odour proof which
means that they will be virtually
undetectable to anyone else so
you can carry on with life as
normal. Bags are available in a
variety of sizes to suit your
specific needs.

One-piece system
This consists of the collection
bag with an integrated adhesive
plate attached which firmly fits
around your stoma.

Two-piece system
This has the collection bag sepa‑
rate from the adhesive plate and
the two halves are securely
clipped or sealed together. This
means that you don’t have to re‑
move the adhesive plate from

around the stoma every time you
change the bag.

How should I dispose
of used bags?
If you are using a drainable bag,
it’s recommended that you emp‑
ty the bag before removing your
bag. Then seal the bag inside a
disposal bag and place in the
dustbin.

DO NOT flush it down the toilet,
as it will cause a blockage.
Some local authorities provide a
collection service for used bags.
Your specialist stoma nurse will
be able to tell you more about
this for your particular location.
If you are using public disabled
toilets they should have disposal
facilities. You can also use nappy
changing bins or sanitary bins if
available.

One‑piece Two‑piece
Adhesive coupling

Two‑piece
Mechanical coupling

1514

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Sources of help and advice Sources of help and advice

Your local specialist stoma nurse is

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Your local support groups are

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Notes

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2928

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Coloplast develops products and services that make life easier for people with very personal and private medical
conditions. Working closely with the people who use our products, we create solutions that are sensitive to their
special needs. We call this intimate healthcare. Our business includes ostomy care, urology and continence care
and wound and skin care. We operate globally and employ more than 7,000 people.

The Coloplast logo is a registered trademark of Coloplast A/S. © [YYYY‑MM.]
All rights reserved Coloplast A/S, 3050 Humlebæk, Denmark.

Coloplast A/S
Holtedam 1

3050 Humlebæk
Denmark

www.coloplast.com

The Coloplast story began back in 1954.
Elise Sørensen is a nurse. Her sister Thora
has just had an ostomy operation and is afraid
to go out, fearing that her stoma might leak in
public. Listening to her sister’s problems, Elise
creates the world’s first adhesive ostomy bag.
A bag that does not leak, giving Thora – and
thousands of people like her – the chance to
return to their normal life.

A simple solution with great significance.

Today, our business includes ostomy care,
urology and continence care and wound and
skin care. But our way of doing business still
follows Elise’s example: we listen, we learn
and we respond with products and services
that make life easier for people with intimate
healthcare needs.

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