Stoma Care

What is a stoma

A stoma is an opening located on the abdomen that is connected to either the digestive or urinary system to divert bodily waste into a close fitting device called a stoma bag, which is positioned over the stoma.

In most cases people that have stoma formation surgery have had to have a diseased or damaged part of their small or large intestine removed.

The procedures are referred to as a colostomy or an ileostomy.

What is a colostomy

A colostomy is a procedure in which part of the colon is brought to the surface of the abdomen to form a Stoma. The procedure can either be temporary of permanent.

Types of colostomy

End colostomy

This procedure involves the end of the colon being pulled through the surgical opening in the stomach and stitched to the skin to form a stoma. This procedure is irreversible and people undergoing it will have a permanent stoma.


De-functioning/Loop Colostomy

A de-functioning/loop colostomy involves a loop of colon being pulled through the surgical opening and stitched in place to create a stoma.

This has two openings one which is connected to the functioning part of the bowel and the other ,which is connected to the inactive part of the colon. 

A de-functioning/loop colostomy prevents waste travelling through the section of colon located below the stoma.


What is an Ileostomy

An ileostomy is a surgical procedure that involves part of the small intestine being brought through the abdomen to form a stoma. An ileostomy is usually located on the right side of the abdomen and can be either permanent or temporary depending on the type of ileostomy. The 2 main types of ileostomy are end and loop.

End ileostomy

An end ileostomy is created when part of the colon or all of the colon is removed and the end of the small intestine is brought to the surface of the abdomen to form a stoma. An end ileostomy can be temporary or permanent depending on the underlying medical cause for the surgery which includes Trauma, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative colitis and Bowel Cancer.

Loop ileostomy

A loop ileostomy involves the ileum being looped and brought through the surface of the abdomen. The ileum is then opened and stitched to create a stoma. A loop ileostomy is usually temporary and is formed to allow the colon to heal. Once the diseased part of the colon has healed the ileostomy procedure can be reversed.

After surgery

After both ileostomy and colostomy procedures a drain-able stoma bag will be put over the stoma site. The stoma and the stoma bag will be monitored and nursing staff will empty the stoma bag for you until you feel confident enough to carry out stoma care independently. In the beginning both the output for an ileostomy and colostomy may be watery in consistency however this will change over time, as an ileostomy output will become more paste like and a colostomy output will appear more formed. People with both colostomies and ileostomies will experience flatulence which is completely normal.

Diet and Nutrition

It is important that you try to eat snacks and small meals at regular intervals.

More information can be found on our diet and nutrition page on the right or click here to access the page.