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Ileostomy - what to ask your doctor

Definition

You have had an operation to create an ileostomy or colostomy. Your ileostomy or colostomy changes the way your body gets rid of waste (stool, feces, or “poop”).

Now you have an opening in your belly called a stoma. Waste will pass through the stoma into a pouch that collects it. You will need to take care of your stoma and empty the pouch.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor or nurse to help you take care of your ileostomy or colostomy.

Alternate Names

Ostomy - what to ask your doctor; What to ask your doctor about ileostomy or colostomy; Colostomy - what to ask your doctor

Questions

Will I be able to wear the same clothes as before?

What will the stool look like that comes from the ileostomy or colostomy? How many times a day will I need to empty it? Should I expect an odor or smell?

Will I be able to travel?

How do I change the pouch?

  • How often do I need to change the pouch?
  • What supplies do I need, and where can I get them? How much do they cost?
  • What is the best way to empty the pouch?
  • How do I clean the bag afterwards?

Can I take showers? Can I take a bath? Do I need to wear the pouch when I bathe?

Can I still play sports? Can I go back to work?

Do I need to change the medicines I am taking? Will birth control pills still work?

What changes do I need to make in my diet?

What can I do if my stools are too loose? Are there foods that will make my stools more firm?

What can I do if my stools are too hard? Are there foods that will make my stools looser or more watery? Do I need to drink more liquids?

What should I do if nothing is coming out of the stoma into the pouch?

  • How long is too long?
  • Are there foods that may cause blockage of the stoma or opening?
  • How can I change my diet to prevent this problem?

What should my stoma look like when it is healthy?

  • How should I care for the stoma every day? How often should I clean it? What types of tape, creams, or paste can I use on the stoma?
  • Does insurance cover the cost of ostomy supplies?
  • What should I do if there is bleeding from the stoma? It the stoma appears red or swollen? If there is a sore on the stoma?

When should I call the doctor?


Review Date: 2/11/2011
Reviewed By: Todd Eisner, MD, Private practice specializing in Gastroenterology, Boca Raton, FL. Clinical Instructor, Florida Atlantic University School of Medicine. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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