Living with a Stoma - Medicareplus International

The word ‘Stoma’ comes from the Greek word that means ‘mouth’ or ‘opening’. A stoma is an artificial opening in the bowel created to bring the bowel to the surface of the abdomen, diverting the flow of faeces or urine1. There are three types of stoma, and the most common are:  

  • Colostomy is an opening into the colon;  
  • Ileostomy opens to the ileum;  
  • Urostomy is an opening into the urinary tract1. 

The Three Types of Stoma:  

                

People will need a stoma for many different reasons, and a stoma can be temporary or permanent depending on its need.  Medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disorders or cancer of the bowel, rectum or pelvis requiring surgical intervention may require a stoma as part of the treatment plan. 

Surgery is often performed by specialist colorectal surgeons and can be done by keyhole with a faster recovery. 

After surgery, a stay in hospital for between 3-10 days is usual, and a stoma nurse will advise how to manage the stoma on returning home. Life will be adjusted to live with a stoma and can be daunting at first, but it does not mean a person cannot live a full and active life. 

The physical aspects of stoma formation can directly impact psychosocial function and quality of life.  

To overcome the impact of stoma formation, patients may need to adopt to a process of acceptance and adjustment2. Healthcare professionals need to consider psychosocial well-being and physical health to deliver balanced, effective care that enables patients to resume a fulfilling life.  

 Kate* had an ileostomy formation 30 years ago due to hereditary bowel disease at the age of 29. Kate’s dad also had the same condition. He struggled to come to terms with living with his stoma, so when elective surgery was recommended, and she decided it was her best treatment choice, she chose to control her stoma.  

 Kate says it is essential to get the proper support from the beginning, ensuring it becomes part of daily life, like brushing your teeth each morning. She says you get to know your stoma as you learn to listen to your body.  

 Kate’s top tips: 

  1. Try it out: Try different bags and appliances until you get the right fit.  
  2. Kits: Have home delivery of a ‘kit’, including wipes and deodorants, pouches and flanges.  
  3. Diet: Dietary changes are inevitable; eat small and often. Too much fibre can cause wind and watery stools. Keep fluids intake up, especially in hot weather but be aware of fizzy drinks which cause flatulence.  
  4. Clothing: Wear your favourite clothes, but ensure waistbands and belts don’t restrict the bag. You can still wear a bikini on holiday! 
  5. Warm: When applying the flange, warm it first, and keep your hand over it once in place for a moment to ensure adherence.  
  6. Accidents happen: Leakage can occur – take a change of underwear and deodorant if out and about and using public toilet facilities. 
  7. Skincare: Keep the peristomal site clean and dry; barrier film products are helpful. Skin can become itchy when it is affected by too much moisture. Use barrier film products like Medi Derma-S Barrier Film and an adhesive remover such as LIFTEEZ for bag changes.  
  8. Stay active: Keep an active lifestyle! Include your family in your journey, which will reduce any stress and anxiety. 
  9. Self-care: Get to know your stoma and do not let it rule your life. 

Living with a stoma is part of Kate’s daily life, and she says it’s crucial to her to have a positive attitude about it. She still completes triathlons include running, biking, and swimming; juggles family life and works as a nurse and is determined to live a full and active life with her stoma.  

Successful management depends on the correct choice and application of the containment device, along with a structured skincare routine3 that includes a medical adhesive remover and a barrier film.  It is key to get the right products, fit the device correctly to minimise leakage and ensure the safe removal of the adhesive to avoid Medical-Adhesive Related Skin Injuries (MARSI).  

 Peristomal moisture-associated skin damage is a known stoma complication and is more commonly seen with colostomies and ileostomies3. When the stoma is active, the faecal fluid can irritate the skin, causing it to become inflamed and sore. Developing a good skincare routine and adhering to it can reduce Moisture Associated Skin Damage (MASD) around your stoma site.  

Skincare Routine: 

  1. Remove the appliance with the adhesive flange using a recommended adhesive remover like Lifteez. 
  2. Cleanse the skin to remove any faeces using a pH-balanced cleanser and pat dry the area, do not rub. 
  3. Apply a barrier film product such as Medi Derma-S Barrier Film that can protect the skin from subsequent excess moistureand continue maintaining the integrity of the skin around the stoma site.  
  4. Apply a new bag, ensuring a good fit and seal to your abdomen. 

MARSI can be prevented by educating staff and patients on managing medical adhesive devices and using appropriate products from the range.

 LIFTEEZ Medical Adhesive Remover  

LIFTEEZ is a medical adhesive remover that helps remove all types of adhesive dressings and stoma or securement devices that adhere to your skin, gently and painlessly. It helps to prevent skin damage and reduce pain or discomfort during dressing or device removal. 

 MEDI DERMA-S Barrier Film  

MEDI DERMA-S Barrier Film is a silicone-based, long-lasting, non-sting medical grade liquid that forms a protective uniform film on mild/moderate skin damage when evenly applied to the skin. Its barrier properties protect damaged and intact skin from the harmful effects of moisture, irritants and from potential skin damage that may be caused from the application of adhesive wound dressings or pouches. It is intended for use as a primary barrier against irritation from bodily fluids. 

 Read more about LIFTEEZ and Medi Derma-S Barrier Film here. 

Request your free samples of LIFTEEZ Medial Adhesive Remover and Medi Derma-S Barrier Film here. 

*Actual name changed to protect privacy.  

References: 

  1. Taylor P. An Introduction to stomas: Reason for their formations. Nursing Times (2005) 101.29.63 {Accessed online https://www.nursingtimes.net/clinical-archive/gastroenterology/an-introduction-to-stomas-reasons-for-their-formation-19-07-2005/ 17/06/2021}
  2. Brown F. Psychosocial health following stoma formation: a literature review. Gastrointestinal Nursing (2017) 15.3 published online 20 Apr 2017 https://doi.org/10.12968/gasn.2017.15.3.43 {Accessed 17/06/2021}
  3. Gray M, Colwell JC, Doughty D et al. (2013) Peristomal moisture associated skin damage in adults with faecal ostomies: a comprehensive review and consensus. J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs 40(4): 389– 99.
  4. Young T. Back to basics: understanding moisture-associated skin damage. Wounds U.K. (2017) 13.2 56-65 

 

 

 

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