The surgical removal of the diseased part of the bowel is a common medical practice. It is used as an option to treat several diseases, including bowel cancer. After this removal, the surgeon reroutes the healthy part of the bowel by pulling it out through a cut in the belly to create an opening, also known as a stoma. A stoma created by rerouting a part of the small intestine is called an ileostomy, while the one created as a result of diverting a part of the large intestine or colon is known as a colostomy.
While an ileostomy or colostomy is temporary in most situations, it can be permanent in case of a severe condition or a serious injury. A temporary ostomy stays in place until the diseased part of the bowel recovers and the surgeon decides to reconnect it with the remaining healthy GI tract.
Conditions that may require a colostomy or ileostomy
Some conditions that may necessitate an intestinal ostomy are:
- Bowel inflammation
- Bowel cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- Cancer in the colon or rectum
- Serious injury to the bowel
Issues to consider with an intestinal ostomy
You will have to discuss a few things with your surgeon before surgery to have a clear understanding of everything. Those issues include the following.
- Your medical history
- Medications you take, such as vitamins, minerals, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements
- Any risk of complications after surgery
- Any concerns about your life after surgery
Intestinal ostomy procedure
Both colostomy and ileostomy are the same surgical procedures and share similar characteristics.
- The procedure begins after general anesthesia comes into the effect.
- The surgeon first marks the stoma site.
- He then opens up the abdomen.
- After removing the diseased part of the bowel, the surgeon pulls out the healthy end through a small cut in the belly to create a stoma.
- The medical staff places a plastic bag over the stoma to collect bodily wastes.
- The surgical staff places stitches to sew the large incision.
- You will have to keep an intravenous infusion into your arm for a few days.
- You will have to small tube going into your nose running down into the stomach to suck out stomach contents.
- The medical staff will change wound dressing to keep the area disinfected.
- You will have to get out of bed and move around in the hospital.
- It will take a couple of days for your stoma to start passing out stools. Your nurse will change your ostomy pouch during these few days. The nursing staff will also help you learn how to attach, empty, and remove an ostomy bag.
- You will have to say for 3-7 days in the hospital.
Taking care of the stoma at home
- You will have to choose from a range of ostomy bags and other supplies. A stoma care nurse will help you with that.
- Make sure that the skin around your stoma is clean and dry.
- You can irrigate your ostomy if you pass out firm stools. It will help you gain better control over your bowel movements.
- You will have to be very careful with your diet until your bowel recovers from the impact of surgery. That includes limiting the consumption of foods that cause gas, diarrhea, constipation, and other digestive problems. Once you are recovered, you can eat anything you want. You may have to be mindful of your dietary routine, though.