Medical Monday - It takes guts: Adjusting to life with a stoma


If you have ever been in the hospital, one thing you will know for certain is that nurses love to talk about urine, bowels and stool.  By the end of your hospital stay, you may also be as comfortable chatting about fecal matter as if you were talking about what you watched on Netflix recently.  
Now how would you feel if you had an artificial opening in your intestine where waste and fecal elimination occurs?  
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, in Canada, more than 60,000 people are living with an ostomy.  An ostomy, or continent diversion surgery, is a procedure to create an opening (stoma) from an end of the intestine inside the body, to the outside surface of the abdomen.  Ostomy surgery is a life-saving procedure that allows bodily waste to pass the abdomen into a prosthetic known as a ‘pouch’ or ‘ostomy bag’ on the outside of the body.  Ostomies are performed after a section of diseased bowel has been removed and an alternative to passing feces from the body is required.  An ostomy can be temporary or permanent.


A stoma is the opening created by ostomy surgery.  It is located on the abdomen and is dark pink in colour.  For most ostomies, a bag or pouch is worn over the stoma to collect stool or urine.  All stomas are identifiable through a prefix.  For example, a colostomy means the stoma is created with the colon, a urostomy is for urinary diversion, and an ileostomy is from the ileum and not bowel related.  
An ostomy may be necessary due to cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, birth defects, diverticulitis, incontinence and other medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. They are also necessary in cases of severe abdominal or pelvic trauma resulting from accidents or from injuries sustained during military service.


People have an amazing ability to adapt to difficult circumstances, including life with a stoma. Adjusting to life after a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy can initially overwhelming, uncomfortable and emotional.  The good news is that manufacturers are constantly improving the products needed when dealing with an ostomy.  You can resume an active life in work, travel, play and with family and friends.  Living with an ostomy bag can occur at any age and does not lower life expectancy but is the start of a “new normal” life.  You can wear the same clothes as bags are unobtrusive and essentially invisible.  
Medical Mart is an authorized Canadian vendor of ostomy supplies from Coloplast, Hollister and Convatec.  We have specially trained Home Health Care Consultants that are ready guide you in your journey with wounds, ostomy and continence

Visit Medical Mart for all your health care needs.  
Medical Mart Heartland Town Centre
Matheson Blvd. West, Unit 101, Mississauga ON L5R 4B8
Easily accessible by bus route 66 McLaughlin (McLaughlin and Matheson)
Phone: (905) 624-2011 Toll Free: (800) 379-4780 YouTube
Hours: Monday – Friday:  9:00 am – 6:00 pm Saturday:  10:00 am – 6:00 pm