Living with an ostomy can be challenging, especially when medical complications creep in.
Today we’ll be discussing common ostomy and stoma worries and how to deal with them, so read on…
Dealing With A Hernia
Hernias are a common concern among ostomates because ostomy surgery affects the abdominal wall. Hernias occur when:
- Abdominal muscles tear or detach.
- Through these breaks in muscular tissue, portions of the gut protrude.
- The stoma may stick out further from the body, and the skin bulges out.
Hernias are common in Ostomy patients for various causes, but the majority arise during the first two years post stoma surgery.
Pouching can be difficult with hernias since the bulge changes size and shape while standing, sitting, or lying down. If you have a hernia, always chat to your healthcare provider for guidance on how best to deal with the issue.
Managing A Prolapse
A prolapse occurs when the bowel protrudes abnormally long through the stoma opening. They can vary in length and are susceptible to infections and damage if left untreated. A prolapsed stoma can make managing the ostomy and pouching more complex, and in certain situations, it can cause blood constriction, causing the prolapsed intestine to degenerate.
To avoid further harm, a prolapsed stoma should be maintained with ostomy supplies that are large enough to accommodate the stoma. A doctor should examine the stoma to ensure no obstruction of output or blood, which could cause constipation or abnormal tissue.
Suffering A Retracted Stoma
A normal stoma protrudes slightly from the skin level, allowing it to fit with ostomy appliances and protecting the skin from stoma output. When the stoma is flush with the skin or below it, it is referred to as retraction. When standing, the stoma may protrude from the skin, but when sitting, it disappears.
Retraction is rather common, with 10–24% of stoma patients experiencing this complication. It’s also more familiar with an ileostomy than colostomy and frequently affects heavier (or obese) patients.
With traditional pouching methods, retracted stomas might cause leakage issues. Because it outputs its contents directly to the skin, a retracted stoma is significantly more prone to leaks.
If not cleaned consistently, this can degrade the adhesives on barriers and create skin discomfort.
There are, however, ways to assist reduce leaking while keeping the skin clean and the barrier intact:
A barrier helps the stoma protrude enough to keep the contents from leaking under the barrier.
An ostomy belt helps support the barrier and the pouching system to prevent leaks by keeping the appliance around the waist.
Some barrier adhesives have an added tackiness that is significantly more waterproof, which can assist prevent leaks from compromising the skin and wafer.
A Word On Blockages
Blockages are most common among those with an ileostomy. Food and contents of the bowel cause them, and they’re usually noticed quickly with cramps combined with no stoma output. Swelling may also occur.
On a personal note, I have had two blockages and I had been advised to take milk of magnesium when I start to feel a blockage coming along.
Dealing With Infections
Adhesives, pouching appliances, and bowel fluids constantly put pressure on the skin surrounding a stoma. It necessitates meticulous cleansing to keep the skin dry, clean, and free of inflammation and irritation.
If left untreated for too long, these can develop into nasty infections that, in severe cases, can lead to suffering that is often preventable by using the right appliances, adhesives, protective skin creams, and cleansers.
Knowing what items you need to avoid skin irritations and infections and utilising them correctly is the best defense. The right ostomy supplies for your lifestyle can make a major difference in how well you care for your ostomy.
Consult your nurse or doctor, as well as the many excellent ostomy resources available online, for more information on proper appliance use and to learn about items that have worked successfully for others.
How VERA SA Can Help
Do you have a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy?
VERA SA provides stock of ostomy underwear and guarantees the lowest prices, professional assistance, and speedy delivery. Our men’s and ladies’ underwear boast a hidden stoma pouch that prevents rubbing, irritation, or inflammation and reduces the possibility of detachment or leaks, keeping you feeling carefree all day.
Vera SA is a proud partner of CANSA and The South African Society of Ostomates.
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Have you ever had an injury to your stoma? Have any more tips or stories to help others prevent them from occurring? Please leave your comments below!