An ostomy refers to an opening on a person’s body created through surgery to let urine or stool out when they cannot do it naturally. The cause for the dysfunction may either be an illness or a medical procedure that interfered with the gut system. The waste goes through a pipe and is collected in a pouch for disposal, a bag specially designed for that purpose.
There are different types of ostomy, with the most prevalent one being colostomy. With this type of ostomy, a section of the colon or rectum is taken out, and a hole is made on the abdomen walls. For the stool, the opening is connected to the remaining part of the bowel. Depending on the location of the colostomy, there are different types, including ascending, loop, transverse or sigmoid.
Another type is an ileostomy, which is done on the ileum, part of the small intestines. Like in colostomy, a section of the ileum is removed, and an opening is made, connected to the part of the bowel that remains for the waste to come out. In all ostomy procedures, the patient is fitted with a wafer and a pouch to prevent their skin from getting irritated or even infected.
The downside of getting an ostomy
Even though an ostomy is supposed to be as close to the normal bowel system as possible – both in terms of function and comfort, it comes with its fair share of challenges, more so when trying to learn how to use it and adapting to having it. For starters, the first thing you have to learn is the hygiene needed to handle it.
To keep the ostomy free of infections, you have to learn how to remove and clean the pouch thoroughly, as well as the ostomy. The nurse has the mandate to teach you how to take proper care of it, and it’s upon you to master the steps as soon as you can. It requires regular removal of waste, followed by proper cleaning to ensure your health is not compromised and prevent you from embarrassing yourself.
The mental challenges associated with ostomies
The physical challenges of having an ostomy might be easy to learn and get over, but it also comes with mental burdens. Change is not easy, at least for most people, and a change in the body's functioning is even harder to tackle. Different people handle the situation differently.
Some people get into a feat of denial and refuse to accept that it’s happening. It is quite difficult to get a hold that you cannot go to the toilet like a normal person but have pipes running through your body. You always have to remember to carry your pouch around and have the resources to keep it clean after using it.
Some people get into depression and keep beating themselves up and thinking that they are unworthy, while others get the hang of it easily. The medics prepare you for what’s ahead and how to deal with it, and having a nice support system would go a long way in helping you through the entire journey.