Colostomy refers to a surgical procedure where a portion of the large intestine is brought through the abdominal wall to carry stools out of the body. A colostomy is created as a means to treat various disorders of the large intestine including Cancer, Obstruction, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, ruptured diverticulum, Ischemia or traumatic injury.

Temporary Colostomies are created to divert stool from injured or diseased portions of the large intestine, allowing for rest and healing. Permanent colostomies are performed when the distal Bowel must be removed or is blocked and inoperable. Colorectal Cancer is the most common indicator for such colostomies When you look at a stoma, you are actually looking at the lining (the mucosa) of the intestine, which looks a lot like the inside lining of your cheek. The stoma will look pink to red. It’s warm and moist and secretes small amounts of mucus.

The way the stoma looks depends on the type of colostomy and on individual body differences. It may look quite large at first, but will shrink to its final size about 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. The shape will be round to oval. Some stomas may stick out a little, while others are flat against the skin.

Unlike the anus, the stoma has no valve or shut-off muscle. This means you won’t be able to control the passage of stool from the stoma, but sometimes bowel movements can be managed in other ways. There are no nerve endings in the stoma, so the stoma itself is not a source of pain or discomfort.

After a colostomy has been created, the intestines will work just like they did before except:

  1. The colon and rectum beyond the colostomy are disconnected or removed.
  2. The anus is no longer the exit for stool, but it will still pass mucus from time to time. This is normal.
  3. After surgery, some people still may feel urges and even have some discharge from the anus. This discharge is mucus, blood, and at times stool, left from the operation. If the rectum remains after surgery, it will keep putting out mucus that can be passed harmlessly whenever you have the urge.
  4. Training for self Irrigation makes for the patient being self reliant