Introduction to Stoma Care

Having a stoma operation and then adapting to life with a stoma is not easy. The right preparation, the right advice, and the right products and support can help. Coloplast is one of the world's leading manufacturers of stoma care products. Our "listen and respond" approach to product innovation enables us to produce ostomy appliances and accessories that set the bar in stoma care - helping ostomates around the world to live life to the full.

What is a stoma?

What is a stoma?

Understanding exactly what a stoma is and how it is created is an important first step in getting to grips with how it might affect your daily life. Understanding what a stoma is
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What is a stoma?

A stoma is the result of an operation that is meant to remove disease and relieve symptoms. It is an artificial opening that allows faeces or urine either from the intestine or from the urinary tract to pass.

The stoma is created of an end of the intestine, which is brought to the surface of your abdomen to form the stoma (opening). 

There are three types of stomas related to the digestive and urinary system - these are: Colostomy, Ileostomy and Urostomy.

Three different types of stomas

Colostomy

Colostomy

When a colostomy is performed, part of your large intestine (called colon) is brought to the surface of your abdomen forming the stoma. The stoma allows the stool to pass through. A colostomy is usually created on the left-hand side of your abdomen. Stools in this part of the intestines are typically firm. Having a stoma means that control of defecation is lost and you will therefore need a stoma bag to collect the stool 

There are two different types of colostomy surgery: End colostomy and loop colostomy. 

Ileostomy

Ileostomy

When an ileostomy is performed, part of your small intestine (called ileum) is brought to the surface of your abdomen forming the stoma. The stoma allows the stool to pass through. An ileostomy is usually created on the right-hand side of your abdomen. Stools in this part of the intestine are typically loose to watery. Having a stoma means that control of defecation is lost and you will therefore need a stoma bag to collect the stool 

There are two different types of ileostomy surgery: End ileostomy and loop ileostomy. 

Urostomy

Urostomy

If your bladder or urinary system is damaged or diseased and you are unable to pass urine normally, you will need a urinary diversion to replace the function of the bladder. This is called a urostomy, an ileal conduit or a Bricker bladder.

When a urostomy is performed an isolated part of the intestine is brought onto the surface of the right-hand side of your abdomen to act as an outlet for urine. The ureters are detached from the bladder and reattached to the isolated section of the intestine. Because this section of the intestine is too small to function as a reservoir, and there is no muscle or valve to control urination, you will need a urostomy pouch to collect the urine.

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Why do I need to wear an ostomy pouch?

Why do I need to wear an ostomy pouch?

An ostomy pouch is necessary to securely and conveniently collect the output from your stoma. Practical information about wearing an ostomy pouch
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Why do I need to wear an ostomy pouch?

No matter what type of ostomy you have, all the output from the stoma must be collected in a secure and convenient way. That’s where your ostomy pouch comes in. These are designed to adhere to the skin on your abdomen around your stoma and collect the output.

Secure and discreet

The design of your ostomy pouch will depend on whether you have a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy. Your stoma care nurse will show you which one is right for you, but the overwhelming majority of pouches are secure and discreet. Nobody will know you’re wearing one unless you decide to tell them.

Although it can be difficult at first to accept the fact that you will have to wear an ostomy pouch on your stomach, you should soon start to realise that it’s possible to live much as you did before.

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How your stoma might affect daily life

How your stoma might affect daily life

It will take time to adjust to life with a stoma. But there’s no reason why it should stop you doing the things you already do, from sports to socialising. Daily life with a stoma
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Wondering how your stoma might affect daily life?

After your stoma operation you will need some time to recover. This is perfectly normal, and the time needed will vary from person to person. Your stoma will change in the first weeks following surgery, in terms of both size and output. Also, you might lose or gain weight in these weeks.

Getting started with a pouch

Having a stoma means you have no control over when you defecate or, in the case of a urostomy, when you urinate. This means that you always need to wear a pouch to collect your output.

Healthy skin

In order for your pouch to adhere properly, it is very important to keep the skin around your stoma healthy. When the pouch is attached correctly, there is no risk of smell from your stoma and less risk of skin irritation. Before you leave hospital, you will be trained in how to choose and manage your stoma pouch and how to take care of your skin.

What about food and drink?

In general you can eat and drink as normal. Try to see how your stoma reacts to different foods. Your stoma care nurse or surgeon will advise if you need to take special precautions.
In general, your stoma is no hindrance to working, socialising, playing sports, travelling or other hobbies. Your general state of health – physically as well as mentally – will play a big role in determining your quality of life as you move forward.

Talk about it

Talk about itNothing is more helpful than someone who really understands what you are going through. You are certainly not alone – the number of people with a stoma worldwide is 1.9 million. Local patient organisations and online support groups offer support through meetings and online chats, to get handy tips, inspiration and personal support.

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Product families

SenSura® – Ostomy care solutions for everyone

SenSura® – Ostomy care solutions for everyone

SenSura is the core range of ostomy bags from Coloplast. A unique double-layer adhesive makes SenSura bags completely secure, comfortable to wear and very easy to use. SenSura products
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SenSura® – Ostomy care solutions for everyone

SenSura® is the core range of ostomy appliances from Coloplast. A unique double-layer adhesive makes SenSura pouches secure, as well as keeping skin healthy.


To develop the SenSura range, we worked closely with healthcare professionals and people living with a stoma. Listening to their experiences, we aimed to develop a product that meets the need for all-round security and greater wearing comfort for people with a stoma.

 

Double layered adhesive

SenSura® – Double-layer adhesive, for security and skin care
The unique SenSura adhesive has two layers, designed to deliver the security needed to live everyday with confidence:

  • Protection layer - protects the skin from stoma output

  • Skin care layer - keeps skin healthy by absorbing excess moisture

SenSura 1-piece

SenSura 1-piece
All –in-one appliance for maximum security and discretion. 

 

SenSura Click two-piece

SenSura Click two-piece
Mechanical coupling with extra reassurance. Audible click confirms secure locking of pouch to baseplate. 

 

SenSura Flex two-piece

SenSura Flex two-piece 
Adhesive coupling system providing benefits of a one-piece. Unique combination of security and flexibility.


 

SenSura post-operative appliances


SenSura post-operative appliances
A range of appliances for the post-operative phase, supporting a smooth and confident transition to self-managed care. 


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Brava® ostomy accessories

Brava® ostomy accessories

Our new Brava® range of accessories features products that are designed to reduce leakage and protect the skin. They also help to achieve customized solutions for different body shapes and needs. Brava products
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Brava® ostomy accessories

Brava® Mouldable ring

Brava® Mouldable ring

A mouldable ring is used to create a tight seal between the stoma and the appliance, thereby protecting the skin against stoma output.

The Brava Mouldable Ring features a strengthened formulation that delivers longer-lasting protection against leakage, because it is designed to be the most durable ring enabling it to maintain a tighter fit. It is easy to use can be moulded to fit your body shape.

 

 

Brava Elastic Tape

Brava® Elastic Tape

Tape is used to hold the base plate in place for extra security and longer wear time. The Brava Elastic Tape is designed to keep your base plate securely in place while still allowing you freedom of movement.

It achieves this thanks to its elasticity. So even if you’re stretching for something on the top shelf or bending down to tie your shoe, you can rest assured that the tape will move with your body and keep your appliance firmly in place. This can mean greater security and longer wearing time of your appliance.

 

Brava® Belt

Brava® Belt

A belt is used to give extra support to the base plate to keep the appliance in place. A belt can be very useful if your abdomen is uneven or rounded.

The Brava Belt is made of soft and comfortable material, and is discrete to wear. It is skin friendly, easy to apply and the belt comes in both a standard and XL size, which are adjustable so you can fit it for your body. 

 

Brava® Strip Paste


Brava® Strip Paste

Strip paste is used to fill deeper cavities and folds, creating an even skin surface. An even surface allows the base plate to stick securely to the skin.

The Brava Strip Paste can absorb moisture and improve the peristomal skin area. Tear off the length of strip you need and mould it into shape. The paste must be applied on clean, dry skin. 

 

Brava® Adhesive Remover Spray and Wipe


Brava® Adhesive Remover Spray and Wipe

Adhesive remover spray is used to make the removal of your appliance easier. The Brava Adhesive Remover Spray is gentle and the can is able to be completely emptied. It doesn’t sting and dries within seconds so it does not affect further adhesion, leaving you ready to apply a new base plate 

Adhesive remover wipes are used to gently remove adhesive residues on the skin. The Brava Adhesive Remover can remove residue on the skin and dries within seconds. The wipe is practical when travelling because of its size.

 

Brava® Skin Barrier Spray and Wipe

Brava® Skin Barrier Spray and Wipe

Skin barrier spray provides a protective layer of film on the skin to protect it from output. The Brava Skin Barrier Spray is sting-free and can reduce skin problems associated with body waste and adhesives. It dries within seconds and does not build up residues on the skin, leaving you ready to apply a new adhesive.

Skin barrier wipe provides a protective barrier of film on the skin to protect it from output. The Brava Skin Barrier Wipe is sting-free and can reduce skin problems associated with body waste and adhesives. It dries within seconds and does not build up residues on the skin, leaving you ready to apply a new adhesive. The wipe is practical when travelling because of its size.

 

Brava® Powder


Brava® Powder

Powder is used to absorb moisture from the skin to allow the bag to adhere properly, especially if your skin is very moist. The Brava Powder keeps the skin dry and reduces skin irritation.

 

Brava® Barrier Cream



Brava® Barrier Cream

Barrier cream is used to protect or sooth irritated skin from output.

The Brava Barrier Cream can help manage sore, dry and irritated skin by providing a barrier and moisturising effect. The barrier is long-lasting and allows tapes and dressing to adhere to make sure that you can wear your appliance. 

 

Brava® Protective Sheets

Brava® Protective Sheets

Protective sheets are used to protect irritated skin from output.

The Brava Protective Sheets provide protection of the peristomal skin, and a ready surface for applying a new appliance.


Brava® Paste

Paste is used to reduce leakage by filling creases and folds in the skin, thereby maintaining a tight fit between the stoma and appliance.

The Brava Paste is skin-friendly, has a skin friendly pH-level and does not stin.

 


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Alterna® Free - secure and skin-friendly ostomy appliances with a range of features for even more convenience

Alterna® Free - secure and skin-friendly ostomy appliances with a range of features for even more convenience

The Alterna Free range of ostomy appliances for colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy features the spiral adhesive. Unique to Alterna, it helps ensure that Alterna is both secure and skin friendly. Read more
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Alterna® Free - secure and skin-friendly ostomy appliances with a range of features for even more convenience

Alterna Free pouches include a range of features for even more convenience.  The efficient filter on open and closed pouches neutralizes odour and minimizes the risk of the pouch ballooning up and causing unnecessary bulges. The Hide-away® outlet closure on open pouches is easy to empty and clean, and has an integrated Velcro® closure that can be easily tucked away – without the need for a closure clamp.  And urostomy pouches that are equipped with Multichambers, giving the pouch a flat and discreet profile with reduced splashing sounds. 

Security

• Adheres securely to the skin around the stoma, yet is painless to remove

• Resistant to erosion, which protects the skin against irritation

 Skin-friendliness

• Absorbs excess moisture from the skin

• Maintains the skin’s normal pH balance

The Alterna Free range of ostomy appliances has solutions for colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy.  

 


Alterna Free 1-piece range

All-in-one appliance for maximum discretion. 

 


 


Alterna Free 2-piece range

Assura 2-piece is a mechanical coupling system that combines the spiral adhesive with an audible ‘click’ to ensure safe locking of the pouch to the baseplate.  

 


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Alterna® - secure and skin-friendly ostomy appliances

Alterna® - secure and skin-friendly ostomy appliances

The Alterna range of ostomy appliances for colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy features the spiral adhesive. Unique to Alterna, it helps ensure that Alterna is both secure and skin friendly. Read more
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Alterna® - secure and skin-friendly ostomy appliances

Security

• Adheres securely to the skin around the stoma, yet is painless to remove

• Resistant to erosion, which protects the skin against irritation

Skin-friendliness

• Absorbs excess moisture from the skin

• Maintains the skin’s normal pH balance

The Alterna range of ostomy appliances has solutions for colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy. 

Alterna 1-piece range

Alterna 1-piece range

All-in-one appliance for maximum discretion.




Alterna 2-piece range

Assura 2-piece is a mechanical coupling system that combines the spiral adhesive with an audible ‘click’ to ensure safe locking of the pouch to the baseplate.


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My Ostomy stories

Having an ostomy shouldn’t be viewed as embarrassing, but as something that has often saved its owner’s life. The reasons for having one are diverse. They can range from cancer, IBD, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s, to diverticulitis and complications with the bowel’s function. And until cures and preventative treatments are found for these conditions, ostomy procedures will continue to be a life-saving solution for many.

myostomy gathers together experiences, hints and tips from ostomates, along with contributions from experts and healthcare professionals. It’s brought to you by Coloplast – one of the world’s leading innovators in ostomy care.

Our team of bloggers will be sharing stories and insights about their own ostomy experiences, in the hope that their stories will be able to show others that they can live their lives to the full after ostomy surgery.

We hope you find the information here both useful and insightful. By sharing experiences, we can help to change perceptions.

Visit myostomy website

User story

Aisha

Wife and mum of two Aisha tells how positive thinking got her through her ostomy surgery.

“I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 1990 at just 19 years old..." Read Aisha's story
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Aisha's story

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 1990 at just 19 years of age. During the next 15 years, I continued to have several hospitalisations and was in a great deal of pain until in 2008 I had an ileostomy. The early days after the operation of getting your head round how you look, how other people see you, having to try and find the right products that work for you can be hard going, but there really is light at the end of the tunnel.

My Stoma Care Nurse helped me deal with each stage of the problems I was encountering and based on those problems, suggested a different product to try. It took time but I got there in the end! I now have a combination of products that really work for me. The biggest advantage for me having an ileostomy is now being able to go for walks free from pain, to be able to give my boys a piggy back without having to give up only after a few seconds because of the excruciating pain – and also to be able to do something as simple as a handstand – something I didn’t think twice about in my teens yet for a good half of my life I was in too much pain to even consider doing such a thing.

A stoma is a tough thing to have to come to terms with but with some positive thinking and by asking for the appropriate help, I have every confidence that everyone in a similar position can get there – like I did.”

 

Aisha, 
Wife and Mum of Two

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