A stoma is an artificial opening in the abdomen to collect waste (either faeces or urine). Under this process you will no longer use a toilet when you open your bowels or urinate, as any waste products will pass into and be collected in a reservoir bag or pouch, on the outside of your body.The size and shape of the stoma will also depend on the type of operation.
There are several different types of pouch available to fit over your stoma. They are all designed to fit discretely under your clothing, be easy to change, and not leak or smell.It is a good idea to get into a routine for changing the pouch. If you have an ileostomy or colostomy, you may find that at certain times of the day the pouch is more active than at others such as shortly after a meal. Rather than change it then, choose a time when it is relatively inactive, such as first thing in the morning. You won't be able to control when you have bowel movements but the pouch usually has to be changed twice per day (but this can depend on the type of pouch you use).
You may be advised to eat slowly and not talk and eat at the same time, to prevent swallowing too much air, which could cause wind.
A number of different protective pastes, membranes and powders are availableto care for your skin around stoma.
It is best to carry pouch spares in your hand luggage when you travel. If you are planning a long journey, it is best to irrigate your pouch just before you leave, and again when you arrive.
You can expect to return to your normal daily activities after you have fully recovered from your stoma operation.