There is just so much to talk about when it comes to stomas! This part of Ostomy O-Week talks about stomas – naming them, size, prolapses and if you can feel your stoma. Please shout out if you have any other questions.
1. HAVE YOU NAMED YOUR STOMA?
We’ve introduced ourselves. How about our stomas?! Some people like to name their stomas! Some people find it strange and unnecessary! Personally, I love hearing all the different names people have given their stomas! I call mine, “my little guy” ☺ Not sure why (well actually I do!!) but it just seems more like a him than a her! I talk to my little buddy all the time and even give him an affectionate pat sometimes! Have you named yours or do you think naming a body part is weird?
Please feel free to introduce yourself and your stoma! We’d love to meet you!
2. Does size matter? How big is your stoma? Did it shrink much after surgery?
After surgery, stomas are normally a little swollen, and they will often reduce in size during the first few months. It’s important to measure the diameter of your stoma to ensure you’re using the right sized bags and seals. I don’t actually remember how big mine was initially (somewhere around 30mm I think), and my stoma settled at a approx. 25mm.
As far as I know, size doesn’t impact anything in the slightest (other than knowing what sizes appliances to use), but please correct me if I’m wrong! Like other body parts, stomas come in many lengths and sizes. The important thing is that it produces output!!
How do you measure up?
3. PROLAPSED STOMAS
During the 4 months I had a loop ileostomy, I had around one prolapse a month. Thank goodness my stoma nurse had warned me, as it gave me quite a shock! Basically the stoma protrudes outwards making it longer than normal. Mine almost tripled in length and it kind of freaked me out! A prolapse is normally nothing to worry about and they are usually pretty easily coaxed back in by lying flat and applying a warm face washer onto the outside of the bag. Sugar on the stoma is also meant to help.
Have you ever had a prolapse? Was it easily fixed and how? Photo courtesy of Google search.
4. Can you feel your stoma? Should it bleed?
The actual stoma (the piece of bowel protruding from your abdomen) has no feeling or sensation, so the stoma itself should not hurt. Even though it looks moist and red and like it might be painful, that’s how it’s meant to look. Normally there isn’t even any sensation when it’s producing output, although sometimes I am conscious of mine and can feel it moving around a bit when the food is digesting and it’s pooping. It’s quite an odd feeling, but means it’s all working, which is good. Does anyone else get this sensation?
I sometimes get a tiny bit of blood around the outside of the stoma where it meets the skin, particularly when I’m changing my bag and washing around it. This is normal and nothing to worry about. I just dab it up and continue changing my bag. Blood actually in your output is a different story though and should be checked up by your doctor.
Any and all comments or other input welcome ☺