A colostomy is a surgical procedure that removes one end of the large intestine from the abdominal wall.

During this procedure, one end of the colon is diverted through an incision in the abdominal wall to create a stoma. A stoma is an opening in the skin where a pouch is attached for collecting feces. People with temporary or long-term colostomies have pouches attached to their sides where feces collect and can be easily disposed of.

Colostomies can be permanent in children with birth defects.

A colostomy can be the result of one of several procedures to correct problems with the lower digestive tract. Other “ostomies” include ileostomy and urostomy. An ileostomy is a diversion of the bottom of the small intestine. A urostomy is a diversion of the tubes that carry urine out of the bladder.

A colostomy is also referred to as a divertic therapy.

Colostomies are performed when the lower bowel is not functioning properly. The same work is done by your intestines after a colostomy, except for two changes.

  • The rectum and colon are connected or removed after the colostomy has been done.
  • The anus is no longer where stools are left.

There are certain illnesses, injuries, or other problems with your bicyle that can require a colostomy.

Illustration by Cristie Wilson

A colostomy can be a short-term or long-term procedure. The colon is where the different types of procedures are located.

Temporary colostomy

Part of the bowel can heal by redirecting stools.

The colostomy can be reversed once healing has occurred, but it can take a few months or a few years.

Permanent colostomy

A colostomy is done when the rectum becomes diseased. The colon can be removed or cut off with a colostomy.

Transverse colostomy

There are two types ofverse colostomies, the more common one and the one that is not.

  • loop along the side of the road.
  • Double-barrel colostomies.

The upper abdomen is where most of the colostomies are done. This type of colostomy allows the stool to leave the body before it reaches the descending colon, and is usually temporary.

A loop transverse colostomy creates two openings in the abdomen: One opening is for stools, the other is only for mucus, which is a normal byproduct of defecation.

A double-barrel transverse colostomy involves dividing the bowel into two complete parts. Each part has its own opening, or stoma, in the abdomen. Just like with a loop transverse, one opening is for stools, and the other is for only mucus.

The stool and mucus are held in a lightweight, drainable pouch that protects the skin from coming into contact with the stool. This pouch can be hidden under clothes.

Ascending colostomy

In an ascending colostomy, the colostomy is placed on the right side of the abdomen, and only a small portion of the colon stays active. The output is liquid because only a small portion of the colon stays active. A pouch has to be worn all the time.

Ileostomies are usually recommended instead of ascending colostomies.

Descending and sigmoid colostomies

The descending colostomy is placed in the descending colon on the lower left side of the abdomen. The output can be controlled.

A sigmoid colostomy is done on the sigmoid colon, and is a few inches lower than a descending colostomy. The sigmoid colostomy allows for a larger part of the colon to still do its job, so the stool output is usually more solid and happens on a regular basis.

A colostomy is a major surgery. There are risks of allergic reactions to anesthesia and excessive bleeding.

A colostomy carries other risks.

  • There is damage to nearby organs.
  • scar tissue in the abdomen can cause obstructions.
  • parastomal hernia, which is when your intestines bulge out through the muscles around the stoma. This can cause a bump in the skin.
  • A build up of food can cause issues, including nausea, swelling, and output issues, when it blocks the opening.
  • The skin around the sotomy is irritated.
  • There is a small hole next to the stoma.
  • The colostomy pouch may leak when the sotomy sinks into the skin.
  • Blood supply to the stoma is restricted. This may require additional surgery.

Your doctor can give you an idea of your risks and benefits of the surgery.

Your doctor will perform a physical exam, take blood samples, and review your medical history before surgery. Tell your doctor about any surgeries you have had and any medications you are taking.

Your doctor will likely ask you to fast for at least 12 hours before surgery. You may also be given a laxative or an enema to take the night before surgery to help cleanse your bowels.

You should prepare to stay in the hospital for 3 to 10 days. This includes packing the right necessities, arranging care for your children, pets, or home, and taking the appropriate amount of time off of work.

You can expect the same things during your colostomy as you would during your hospital stay.

A nurse will place an IV in your arm after you change into a hospital gown. This allows the hospital staff to give you fluids and medications quickly, and it also allows you to be given general anesthesia. This will make the operation painless and give you a deep, painless sleep.

The hospital staff will wheel you into the operating room while you sleep. Your surgeon will make an incision in your abdomen when you are cleaned and prepared. This may be a large or small incision.

Smaller incisions are used for laparoscopy. This type of surgery involves using small tools and a camera that’s inserted into an incision. The camera will be used to guide your doctor during the surgery.

The colostomy surgery is done this way because your doctor will locate the ideal part of the large intestine for the opening. They will cut the suck through your abdominal wall.

Next, your doctor will put a ring on your abdominal wall. The end of the intestine will be held in place by this ring. This ring may be permanent or temporary, and it may be placed to help heal your skin.

After everything is in place, your doctor will close your wound with stitches and you will be brought into a recovery room. The staff will watch your vital signs and wait for you to wake up to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Recovery in the hospital involves being slowly reintroduced to food and liquids. You will most likely be given ice chips on the first day. You will be given soft foods after that.

Once doctors are sure your bowels are working normally, you can start eating a regular diet, usually about 2 days after surgery.

What is a colostomy bag?

You will be taught how to use colostomy bags and how to keep your stoma clean by a specially trained nurse.

A colostomy bag is where your feces will collect. Hospital staff will teach you about your diet, activity level, and more. It is important to follow the instructions.

You will have follow-up appointments with your doctor to check on your condition.

It can take some time to adjust to life with a colostomy, but most people eventually learn how to live their lives. colostomy equipment can be hidden under clothes. After you have healed from your surgery, you should be able to do what you loved.

If you pay attention to any new symptoms or pains around your colostomy, you can live a full life.