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Daily Colostomy Care PDF Print E-mail

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Now that you have gone through the surgery it’s time to take charge of your life again and start with learning to deal with the daily care of your colostomy.  Once you have this down pat you can go back to your normal daily routines and believe it or not, after a while you may not even remember it’s there a majority of the time.

First and foremost is finding the right pouch and system for you and your lifestyle.  There are many available out there so during your consultations with your nurse and doctor discuss which would be best for you.  In the beginning your stoma will be swollen and as it continues to heal it will go down to a normal size.  With that in mind don’t freak out the first time you see it, keep remembering it will go down in size.  For your first pouches you will want to cut the openings to fit your stoma size yourself.  You can use a measuring guide so that it will be an accurate cut.  As your stoma swelling decreases then you could switch to the pre cut pouch systems that will fit your stoma size, your nurse can help you accurately size it once you are ready.

The pouch is best emptied when it is generally 1/3 – 1/2 full of either stool or air from gas.  Either sitting on the toilet or standing is fine; just do which ever you are comfortable with.  A simple suggestion is to put some toilet paper in the toilet to prevent any unwanted splash back.  Empty the pouch, wipe the end clean, roll up and clip close, tuck in and you’re done.  Sounds easy enough, don’t get frustrated in the beginning it may take a little getting used to, but for your main focus just relax and it will go definitely go smoother.  Also get yourself trained to close the pouch immediately after emptying each time to avoid a disaster that could ruin your whole day.

In general you should change your pouch every 4-6 days not only for the sanitary reasons but for the security of lowering the chance of blow outs, leaks, or irritated skin. Not all pouches are perfect and even though they are designed to fit snug sometimes stool can get on your skin.  If you feel any kind of itching, irritation, or burning remove your bag and check the skin.  If the skin is irritated with a rash you can use a pectin based powder like Stomahesive or Hollihesive.  It is recommended to wash the area with water only, allow it to dry completely, then apply the powder and lightly brush the excess off, and finally attach a clean bag (the barrier can be applied over the powder). 
Majority of all pouches are odor proof, so if you do begin to smell that certain something check your bag right away, you could have just had a blow out.  It is highly suggested to keep a spare bag with you at all time and have it pre cut and ready to go.

Some pouches and bags may require cleaning.  There are cleaning systems you can purchase, and some people have gotten creative and saved a bit of money by getting a sink adapter and attaching a kitchen faucet sprayer, the benefit of the sprayer is the on and off handle for better water flow control.  This way you can detach it while not in use, sanitize it, and store it under the sink.

Life will definitely become quite a bit different for you but with practice, patience, calmness, and even a little humor to get you through this stage, it will become a bit easier and more convenient before you know it.

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