Living with a Colostomy

Sometimes part of the rectum or small colon has to be removed in order for waste material to pass through the body. A colostomy takes place when part of the large intestine (colon) is brought to the outside of the body through an opening in the abdomen. This opening is called a stoma.

What is a stoma? A stoma is the part of the intestine that is brought to the outside of the body in order to pass waste. It is shiny, red and wet, and looks like the inside of your mouth. A stoma may change size or shape after surgery. It does not hurt because there are no nerves.

Reasons for colostomy surgery:

  • Cancer
  • Diverticulitis
  • Trauma
  • Paralysis
  • Bowel obstruction

Hints & Tips for someone with a colostomy:

  • Be sure to eat three regular meals per day.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Participate in gentle physical activity.
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake.
  • Take two teaspoons of bran twice a day to help soften your stool.

Direct any medical questions to a health care professional. Always consult with your physician before modifying any course of treatment.