Caring For A Colostomy After Surgery

Colostomy care mainly involves how to empty, change, or clean your ostomy appliance. It will be imperative for you or your caregiver to learn the basics of ostomy care before leaving the hospital.

When to call a doctor

While at home, you may need to contact your doctor if you face the following problems.

  • You have a persistent fever.
  • A foul odor emits from the colostomy bag you are wearing.
  • Your skin around the stoma is irritated and red.
  • You are vomiting and having an overall discomfort.
  • Your stoma is not passing stool regularly.

Emptying the pouch

  • First of all, wash your hands well.
  • See if your ostomy pouch is one-third to half full. That’s the perfect time when you need to empty it.
  • Let the bottom of the open end of the pouch face the toilet bowl, and remove the clamp. It will allow waste materials to flow out of the bag and fall into the toilet. Place some toilet paper in the toilet bowl before emptying the pouch to avoid splashing.
  • After emptying the pouch, clean its end using toilet paper or a moist paper towel.
  • Put the clamp in place to seal the end of the pouch.

Changing the ostomy appliance

Your healthcare provider will tell you how often you need to change your ostomy pouch depending on the type of colostomy you have. We will share general information here regarding changing a colostomy appliance.

  • The amount of time you need to wear an ostomy pouch depends on the type of colostomy pouch you are using. Some ostomy pouches can remain in place for three to seven days, and some can last for weeks. Your healthcare provider will tell you what type is the most appropriate for you.
  • Wash your hands before the procedure and put on disposable gloves.
  • If you are using one-piece ostomy pouches, you will need to change the entire appliance. Remove the ostomy appliance by pushing the skin at the edges of the skin barrier, and, at the same time, pulling the skin barrier using the other hand. After removing the pouch, clean the skin around the stoma. Before wearing the new pouch, make sure that it has an opening that is 1/8-inch larger than your stoma. A too-large opening will let the stomal output get in contact with the skin at the base of the stoma, resulting in skin irritation. You may want to use skin barrier products to protect your peristomal skin and ensure a tighter seal.
  • If you are using two-piece ostomy pouches, you will have to detach the pouch from the faceplate. It will make it easier for you to remove the faceplate or flange. To remove the flange, push the skin around the skin barrier using one hand, and pull the skin barrier using the other hand. Do it gently to prevent any injury to the skin. Clean the skin around the stoma using warm water. You may want to use an adhesive remover if the previous skin barrier has left a residue. Place a new skin barrier with an opening of the size and shape of your stoma. You may have to use skin barrier products to ensure a tighter seal.

While changing the ostomy appliance, look at the stoma and the skin around it. Check for any signs of complications. If there are any, contact your healthcare provider to get timely treatment.

Colostomy Surgery Postoperative Care

Colostomy creation is a part of the surgical treatment aimed at removing diseased parts of the colon. During surgery, the surgeon will bring a part of the colon to the surface of the belly to create an opening called a stoma. The stoma allows the bowel movements to pass out without proceeding to the rectum and anus.

The postoperative situation can be a bit hard, so you have to take a few measures to ensure a smooth adaptation to this situation. The postoperative recovery lasts about six months. During this phase, the gastrointestinal tract gains strength to be fully fit again. You will have to remain careful and extra vigilant in this duration to avoid any complications that might result in larger problems.

When to seek immediate care

  • You are not urinating well.
  • There is no bowel movement.
  • There is foul-smelling drainage from the surgery site.
  • There is excessive bleeding from the stoma.
  • Your abdomen feels hard.
  • The stoma has turned gray or black.

Postoperative self-care

  • Make sure that you are not lifting anything weighing more than ten pounds for the first four weeks.
  • Walk around in your house to prevent pneumonia and blood clots.
  • Check the stoma and the skin around it for irritation, infections, and other complications.

Stay in touch with an ostomy specialist

You can get information regarding how to care for your colostomy from an ostomy specialist. That individual will help you select an ostomy pouch that is right according to your requirements. An expert will also suggest you the products that you can use during your ostomy care regimen.

Caring for stoma and the skin around it

You should inspect your stoma and the skin around it every time you change your pouch. The stoma should be red and moist. You may notice a small amount of bleeding while cleaning the stoma, but it is not something worrisome. The stoma will be large due to swelling after surgery, but this swelling will subside during the recovery phase. It will settle down to a permanent shape and size after six weeks.

A crucial part of stoma care is to make sure that the skin barrier of the ostomy appliance you use fits around your stoma well. It means that you need to create an opening that is right according to the shape and size of your stoma. You may not need to use a cut-to-fit skin barrier if your stoma does will with precut skin barriers.

You will need to protect your skin around the stoma from irritation and other complications at all costs. The best way is to change the skin barrier every 3-5 days. You may also have to look at other reasons if this part of the skin develops irritation.

Your doctor or ostomy care nurse should be the first point of contact in case you notice any complication or problem. They will suggest to you what you need to do in any particular situation.

Ileostomy Diet: Thing To Know

After ileostomy surgery, you will need to make changes to your diet for at least six weeks. The purpose of these diet changes is to allow your intestines to recover from the impact of surgery. The problems that occur during this recovery phase may include odor, gas, blockage, and diarrhea. After the recovery of your bowel, you can get back to your favorite diet.

Foods to eat after surgery

You may not be able to eat anything immediately after surgery, but when you need to have a food intake, your surgeon will instruct you to stick to a liquid diet. After a couple of days, you may eat low-fiber foods. You will be able to increase the amount of fiber in your daily diet as the recovery progresses. The foods that you may eat include the following.

  • You may have grains in your diet. It will include cream of wheat, dry cereal, white bread, and crackers.
  • You can also include some fruits and vegetables in your diet. Canned vegetables, which are generally well-cooked, are ideal in this regard. Ripe bananas and soft melon are also the right foods to eat.
  • Most of the dairy products are safe to use during the recovery phase after ileostomy surgery.
  • You will need protein, but you will have to avoid beef. Instead, you can go for other protein sources such as eggs, fish, and poultry.

Foods that you may need to avoid

Foods that are generally hard to digest are not suitable for consumption during the recovery phase. These are mostly foods that can cause gas, odor, or blockage.

Foods that you will need to avoid may include the following.

  • High-fiber foods: These are hard to digest, and can result in several problems. These foods include whole grains, raw fruits and veggies, dried beans, and dried fruits.
  • Foods that result in a blockage: A blockage in the bowel can be quite painful. Foods that can contribute to the blockage of the intestines include fruit with skins, dried fruits, coconut, pineapple, corn, cucumber, peas, salad greens, spinach, sausage, fibrous meat, and nuts.
  • Odor or gas-producing foods: Excessive gas production and odor can be both uncomfortable and embarrassing. With your ileostomy in its recovery phase, you may have to avoid foods including apples, bananas, grapes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, corn, green pepper, turnips, cheese, peanuts, dried beans, fish, and carbonated drinks.
  • Foods that cause diarrhea: Your ileostomy already produces loose stool, so having diarrhea can make the condition worse. Again, you will have to pay attention to what you eat. You may have to avoid apricots, peaches, prunes, fruit juices, fried meat, undercooked poultry, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, corn peas, turnip greens, bran, whole wheat, licorice, spicy foods, caffeine, and foods high in sugar and fats.

Further diet guidelines

Aside from what you eat, you also have to pay attention to how to eat to prevent problems. You may have to increase liquid intake with added salts to make up for the loss of fluids and electrolytes. While eating foods, take small bites, and chew them well to make it easy for your GI tract to work. Instead of having a few large meals during the day, take smaller, several meals. Avoid any activity that may result in the swallowing of air.

You can discuss your diet with your doctor or ostomy care nurse. Make sure to follow their guidelines. In case any problem occurs, contact your healthcare provider for immediate medical attention.

Discharge Care After Ileostomy Creation

An opening made in the abdomen to pass out stool from the small intestine, bypassing the entire colon, is known as an ileostomy. The surgeon creates this opening during a surgical procedure, which involves resection of the large intestine due to a disease in it. An ileostomy can be permanent or temporary, depending on the underlying condition. Medical conditions that may lead a person to require an ileostomy may include Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and cancer in the colon or rectum.

Seek immediate medical care if the following conditions occur after surgery.

  • Your legs and arms feel warm, painful, and tender. See if there is swelling.
  • You are vomiting persistently.
  • Your stoma has turned gray or black.
  • The stoma output is not passing out through the stoma.

You may need to contact your surgeon if you have the following conditions.

  • You have a fever with a temperature of around 101ºF (38.3ºC) or higher.
  • There is swelling in the surgery site, and it is releasing a foul-smelling material.
  • The bowel contents passing out through the stoma are more than usual.
  • Your stoma has become narrower, has protruded abnormally, or has sunk under the abdominal skin level.

Postoperative self-care

After surgery, you will need to follow some general instructions to avoid any complications. Those instructions may include the following.

  • Avoid lifting anything weighing more than ten pounds for four weeks after surgery. You may also have to avoid bending and twisting.
  • Make sure that the blood circulates well around and across the surgery site. For this purpose, walk around in your home every 2 hours.
  • Check your stoma for any infection, swelling, or drainage.
  • Avoid driving until your doctor approves it.

Seek help from an ostomy specialist

It can be challenging for a new ostomate to learn how to care for the ileostomy. An ostomy specialist can provide much-needed assistance in this regard. You can get help from an expert when you need to select the right convaTec Ostomy supplies. You may need a different type of ostomy pouch at every stage of recovery. That’s where only an ostomy specialist can help you in the best possible way.

Stoma care

Make sure to follow the most crucial steps involves in caring for your stoma and the skin around it. Those steps could include the following.

  • Wash your stoma and the skin around it using warm water. You may use soap, but make sure that it is free of any chemicals, perfumes, and oils. After rinsing the skin around the stoma, pat it dry. A dry and clean skin area will allow the skin barrier to adhere to it properly.
  • Drain the waste materials out of the ostomy bag when it is one-third to half full.
  • Discuss with your doctor or ostomy care nurse regarding how often to change your ostomy pouch.
  • If there a chance of leakage, use skin sealant as directed by the nurse.
  • Always carry extra supplies when traveling.

The best approach is to stay in contact with your doctor or nurse. Follow their instructions regarding stoma care, diet, and daily physical routine.