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What's the best way of telling someone you have an ostomy?

Hi there, I need some advice please...I've been going to my local nightclub for 5 years, I guy who's also gone there all that time (and longer apparently) is suddenly showing an interest in me. He's very shy, quiet and hardly talks to anyone but his close mate, they're both bachelors, it was my new 'hairdo' (my wig since hair loss due to low dose chemo for my crohn's) that did it, they were lightheartedly arguing whether it was me or not! I started chatting to the quiet guy, I've only ever said ...

Views: 1129 Replies: 12

Ostomy diet

Is there such a thing as an ostomy diet? I am barely getting any output from my colostomy in at least a month, and I have absolutely no appetite. Last year I was in hospital with what they thought was a partial small bowel obstruction. My "diet" has been small amount of baby oatmeal and some coffee at breakfast: maybe cup of soup for lunch. Small amount of yogurt, jars of baby fruit. I tried to eat small amounts of well-cooked green beans with the carrots today. I've tried to dri...

Views: 512 Replies: 10

Is it possible to be regular with an ostomy?

Hello Everyone! Is it possible to become regular with an ostomy? My dr told me to drink Citrucel everynight to become regular. I find its all day long, Is it possible to train your colon?

Views: 727 Replies: 11

Recycling ostomy bags???

Has anyone ever heard of cleaning ostomy bags after use? I am all for recycling, but I am also concerned about the health risks.

Views: 904 Replies: 15

Disposing of an ostomy bag at a friend's house

I have an ileostomy and i like to use closed end pouches and change them twice a day. I can carry an Ostaway Bag (black, thick, zip-lock) with me and keep a fresh closed end ostomy bag with me in my pocket. Often when I am at someone's house i need to dispose of one bag and put on a fresh one. I really prefer using the closed-ended pouches and i know there isn't any smell if they are put inside the black, thick, Ostaway Zip-Lock Bag. My question is; do you think it is o.k. to throw this in s...

Views: 1273 Replies: 9

Naming my ostomy

I never thought of naming my stoma. I guess by now I would have to call it "old timer" as I have had it for 40 years now.....

Views: 575 Replies: 6

Collection of tips from people with an Ostomy >>

Common Ostomy Terminology



Absorption - The way nutrients from food move from the small intestine into the cells in the body.

Accessory Digestive Organs - Organs that help with digestion but are not part of the digestive tract. These organs are the tongue, glands in the mouth that make saliva, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.

Adhesion - bands of fibrous tissue, usually resulting from inflammation; act of adhering or sticking.

Alimentary Canal - See Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract

Anal Fistula - A channel that develops between the anus and the skin. Most fistulas are the result of an abscess (infection) that spreads to the skin.

Anastomosis - An operation to connect two body parts. An example is an operation in which a part of the colon is removed and the two remaining ends are rejoined.

Angiography - An x-ray that uses dye to detect bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.

Anus - The last 4 cm (1.5 inches) of the large bowel below the rectum, forming the excretory opening or anal canal.

Appliance- A collection device consisting of a wafer and a pouch worn by an ostomate over the stoma to contain waste eliminated from the body.

Ascending Colon - The part of the colon on the right side of the abdomen.

Asymptomatic - The condition of having a disease, but without any symptoms of it.

Atonic Colon - Lack of normal muscle tone or strength in the colon. This is caused by the overuse of laxatives or by Hirschsprung's disease. It may result in chronic constipation. Also called lazy colon. See Hirschsprung's Disease.



Barium  - A chalky liquid used to coat the inside of organs so that they will show up on an x-ray.

BCIR Pouch - (See Continent Ileostomy).

Bile Ducts - Tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder for storage and to the small intestine for use in digestion.

Bladder - organ acting as a container for urine.

Bowel - Another word for the small and large intestine.

Brooke Ileostomy - A surgeon makes a small opening in the abdomen, called a stoma, and attaches the end of the small intestine, called the ileum, to it. Made because the entire colon has been removed or must be bypassed.

Bulking Agents - Laxatives that make bowel movements soft and easy to pass.



Candidiasis - A mild infection caused by the Candida (KAN-di-duh) fungus, which lives naturally in the gastrointestinal tract. Infection occurs when a change in the body, such as surgery, causes the fungus to overgrow suddenly.

Cecostomy - A tube that goes through the skin into the beginning of the large intestine to remove gas or feces. This is a short-term way to protect part of the colon while it heals after surgery.

Cecum - The beginning of the large intestine. The cecum is connected to the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum.

Chronic - A term that refers to disorders that last a long time, often years.

Colitis - inflammation of the large bowel.

Colectomy - An operation to removal all or part of the colon (large bowel)

Colon - Large bowel (large intestine) which stores digestive material and absorbs water.

Colonic Conduit - This surgery differs from the Ileal Conduit only in the fact that a segment of the large bowel is used to form the conduit instead of the small intestine. The stoma is usually in the lower left portion of the abdomen.

Colonoscopy - A test to look into the rectum and colon. The doctor uses a long, flexible, narrow tube with a light and tiny lens on the end. This tube is called a colonoscope.

Colorectal Cancer - Cancer that occurs in the colon (large intestine) or the rectum (the end of the large intestine). A number of digestive diseases may increase a person's risk of colorectal cancer, including polyposis and Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome.

Colostomy - An abdominal opening from any part of the large intestine (colon) to form a stoma and made because part of the colon has been removed or must be bypassed. Click here to see more.

Colostomy Supplies - products used by people with Colostomy.

Continent Ileostomy - (Known as Koch Pouch and BCIR Pouch; named after the Doctors who designed them) The ileum is used to create a pouch inside the lower abdomen. A valve is constructed in the pouch that is brought through the abdominal wall.  A catheter or tube is inserted into the internal pouch several times a day to drain feces from the reservoir.  Patients do not wear an appliance. Click here to see more.

Continent Urostomy - (Kock Pouch and Indiana Pouch). The surgical construction of an intra-abdominal pouch, usually built from a short length of ileum. A valve is constructed in the pouch and is brought through the abdominal wall.  A catheter is inserted several times daily to drain urine from the reservoir.  Patients do not wear an appliance. Click here to see more.

Corticosteroids - Medicines such as cortisone and hydrocortisone. These medicines reduce irritation from Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. They may be taken either by mouth or as suppositories.

Crohn's disease (CD) - An inflammation in the small intestine, which usually occurs in the lower part, called the ileum, but can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. The inflammation extends deep into the lining of the affected organ. The inflammation can cause pain and can make the intestines empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea.  Also called regional enteritis and ileitis.


Dehydration - Loss of fluids from the body, often caused by diarrhea. May result in loss of important salts and minerals.

Descending Colon - The part of the colon where stool is stored. Located on the left side of the abdomen.

Digestive System -
The organs in the body that break down and absorb food. Organs that make up the digestive system are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus. Organs that help with digestion but are not part of the digestive tract are the tongue, glands in the mouth that make saliva, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.

Diverticulitis - A condition that occurs when small pouches in the colon (diverticula) become infected or irritated. Also called left-sided appendicitis.

Double Barrel Stoma - This is usually a form of a colostomy or a colostomy and an ileostomy.  Actually two "end stomas".  One is the functioning stoma and one is nonfunctioning or sometimes referred to as a mucus fistula. 

Duodenum - The first part of the small intestine.

Dysentery - An infectious disease of the colon. Symptoms include bloody, mucus-filled diarrhea; abdominal pain; fever; and loss of fluids from the body.



Electrocoagulation - A procedure that uses an electrical current passed through an endoscope to stop bleeding in the digestive tract and to remove affected tissue.

Endoscope - A small, flexible tube with a light and a lens on the end. It is used to look into the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, colon, or rectum. It can also be used to take tissue from the body for testing or to take color photographs of the inside of the body. Colonoscopes and sigmoidoscopes are types of endoscopes.

Electrolytes - Salts and minerals needed by the body for good health.

Excoriation - Skin breakdown

Enterostomal Therapy (ET) Nurse - A nurse who specializes in the care and teaching of ostomy patients. To see more go to: Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society.

Erythema Nodosum - Red swellings or sores on the lower legs during flare ups of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. These sores show that the disease is active. They usually go away when the disease is treated.



Familial Polyposis - A rare disease which runs in families.  The colon and rectum contain many polyps. Has strong tendency to malignancy.

Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) - A test to see whether there is blood in the stool that is not visible to the naked eye. A sample of stool is placed on a chemical strip that will change color if blood is present. Hidden blood in the stool is a common symptom of colorectal cancer.

Fistula - An abnormal channel or connection between a body cavity or organ to another body cavity or organ, or to the skin.

Flatulence - Excessive gas in the stomach or intestine. May cause bloating.


Gallstones - The solid masses or stones made of cholesterol or bilirubin that form in the gallbladder or bile ducts.

Gastrocolic Reflex - Increase of muscle movement in the gastrointestinal tract when food enters an empty stomach. May cause the urge to have a bowel movement right after eating.

Gastroenterologist - A doctor who specializes in digestive diseases.

Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract - The large, muscular tube that extends from the mouth to the anus, where the movement of muscles and release of hormones and enzymes digest food. Also called the alimentary canal or digestive tract.

Granulomatous Colitis - Another name for Crohn's disease of the colon.



Hemorrhoids - Swollen blood vessels in and around the anus and lower rectum. Continual straining to have a bowel movement causes them to stretch and swell. They cause itching, pain, and sometimes bleeding.

Hepatitis - Irritation of the liver that sometimes causes permanent damage. Hepatitis may be caused by viruses or by medicines or alcohol. Hepatitis has the following forms:

Hepatitis A - A virus most often spread by unclean food and water.

Hepatitis B - A virus commonly spread by sexual intercourse or blood transfusion, or from mother to newborn at birth. Another way it spreads is by using a needle that was used by an infected person. Hepatitis B is more common and much more easily spread than the AIDS virus and may lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Hepatitis C - A virus spread by blood transfusion and possibly by sexual intercourse or sharing needles with infected people. Hepatitis C may lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hepatitis C used to be called non-A, non-B hepatitis.

Hepatitis D (Delta) - A virus that occurs mostly in people who take illegal drugs by using needles. Only people who have hepatitis B can get hepatitis D.

Hepatitis E - A virus spread mostly through unclean water. This type of hepatitis is common in developing countries. It has not occurred in the United States.

Hernia -  The part of an internal organ that pushes through an opening in the organ's wall. Most hernias occur in the abdominal area.

Hiatal Hernia (Hiatus Hernia) - A small opening in the diaphragm that allows the upper part of the stomach to move up into the chest. Causes heartburn from stomach acid flowing back up through the opening.

Hirschsprung's Disease - A birth defect in which some nerve cells are lacking in the large intestine. The intestine cannot move stool through, so the intestine gets blocked. Causes the abdomen to swell. See also Megacolon.


IBD - See Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Ileal - Related to the ileum, the lowest end of the small intestine.

Ileal Conduit

Ileal Pouch - See Ileoanal Reservoir.

Ileitis - See Crohn's Disease.

Ileoanal - Joining the small bowel to the sphincter at the anus.

Ileoanal Anastomosis - See Ileoanal Pull-Through.

Ileoanal Pull-Through - An operation to remove the colon and inner lining of the rectum. The outer muscle of the rectum is not touched. The bottom end of the small intestine (ileum) is pulled through the remaining rectum and joined to the anus. Stool can be passed normally no appliance is needed. Also called ileoanal anastomosis.

Ileoanal Reservoir - An alternative to a permanent ileostomy.  It is completed in two stages. Part of the small intestine is used to create an internal pouch to hold stool. This pouch is attached to the anus.  The muscle of the rectum is left in place, so the stool in the pouch does not leak out of the anus.  The operation may be done in two stages. People who have this surgery are able to control their bowels movements and do no wear an appliance. The pouch may also be called a J-pouch, W-pouch or S-Pouch.

Ileocecal Valve - A valve that connects the lower part of the small intestine and the upper part of the large intestine (ileum and cecum). Controls the flow of fluid in the intestines and prevents backflow.

lleocolitis - Irritation of the lower part of the small intestine (ileum) and colon.

Ileostomy - A surgeon makes a small opening in the abdomen, called a stoma, and attaches the end of the small intestine, called the ileum, to it. Made because the entire colon has been removed or must be bypassed. Click here to see more.

Ileostomy Supplies - products used by people with Ileostomy.

Ileum - The lower half of the small intestine which ends at the beginning of the large intestine in the lower right part of the abdomen; the small bowel.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) - Long-lasting problems that cause irritation and ulcers in the GI tract. The most common disorders are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Intestinal Flora - The bacteria, yeasts, and fungi that grow normally in the intestines.

Intestinal Mucosa - The surface lining of the intestines where the cells absorb nutrients.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - A disorder that comes and goes. Nerves that control the muscles in the GI tract are too active. The GI tract becomes sensitive to food, stool, gas, and stress. Causes abdominal pain, bloating, and constipation or diarrhea. Also called spastic colon or mucous colitis.

Irrigation - An enema given through a colostomy stoma, to flush the large bowel for regulation or as a prep for surgery or diagnostic tests.



J-Pouch (see Ileoanal Reservoir)

Jejunum - The middle section of the small intestine between the duodenum and ileum.

Jejunostomy - an opening into the jejunum, the portion of the small bowel after the duodenum and before the ileum.



Karaya - Available as gum, powder and paste, for protecting the skin around the stoma.

Kock Pouch - (See Continent Ileostomy)


Lactase - An enzyme in the small intestine needed to digest milk sugar (lactose).

Lactose Intolerance - Being unable to digest lactose, the sugar in milk. This condition occurs because the body does not produce the lactase enzyme.

Large Intestine - The part of the intestine that goes from the cecum to the rectum. The large intestine absorbs water from stool and changes it from a liquid to a solid form. The large intestine is 5 feet long and includes the appendix, cecum, colon, and rectum. Also called colon.

Loop Ileostomy - Usually a temporary ileostomy where a loop of small intestine is pulled through the abdominal wall to create a stoma. 

Lower GI Series - X-rays of the rectum, colon, and lower part of the small intestine. A barium enema is given first. Barium coats the organs so they will show up on the x-ray. Also called barium enema x-ray.



Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - A test that takes pictures of the soft tissues in the body. The pictures are clearer than x-rays.

Megacolon - A huge, swollen colon. Results from severe constipation. In children, megacolon is more common in boys than girls. See also Hirschsprung's Disease.

Mucous Colitis - See Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Mucosal Lining - The lining of GI tract organs that makes mucus.

Mucus - A clear liquid made by the intestines. Mucus coats and protects tissues in the GI tract.



Nephrostomy - Diversion of urine away from the ureter and the bladder by insertion of a tube into the kidney(s).



Obstruction - A blockage or occlusion of a structure, in the GI tract that prevents the flow of liquids or solids.

Ostomate - A person who has an ostomy. Called ostomist in some countries.

Ostomy - A surgically created opening in the body that makes it possible for stool to leave the body through an opening made in the abdomen. An ostomy is necessary when part or all of the intestines are removed. Colostomy and ileostomy are types of ostomy. Click here to see more.

Ostomy Supplies - products used by people with Ostomy.


Parenteral Nutrition - A way to provide a liquid food mixture through a special tube in the chest. Also called hyperalimentation or total parenteral nutrition (TPN).

Perianal - The area around the anus.

Perineal Wound - A space left by removal of the rectum.

Peristalsis - A wavelike movement of muscles in the GI tract, which occur without voluntary control, to push waste material through the bowel or ureter.

Peritoneum - The lining of the abdominal cavity.

Peritonitis -  Infection of the peritoneum.

Polyp - Tissue bulging from the surface of an organ. Although these growths are not normal, they often are not cause for concern. However, people who have polyps in the colon may have an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Pouch - (part of an ostomy appliance) A special pouch worn over a stoma to collect stool.  Pouch can be either open-ended, requiring a closing device usually call a clamp or tail clip; or closed and sealed at the bottom.  Open-ended pouches are called drainable and are reused after they are emptied.  Closed end pouches are usually discarded after after one use. (see two piece systems)

Proctectomy - An operation to remove the rectum.

Proctocolectomy - An operation to remove the colon and rectum. Also called coloproctectomy.

Proctocolitis - Irritation of the colon and rectum.

Proctologist - A doctor who specializes in disorders of the anus and rectum.

Proctoscope - A short, rigid metal tube used to look into the rectum and anus.

Proctosigmoiditis - Irritation of the rectum and the sigmoid colon.

Proctosigmoidoscopy - An endoscopic examination of the rectum and sigmoid colon. See also Endoscopy.

Prolapse - An outward telescoping of the bowel.



Radiation Colitis - Damage to the colon from radiation therapy.

Radiation Enteritis - Damage to the small intestine from radiation therapy.

Rectum - The lower end of the large intestine, leading to the anus.

Revision - A surgical relocation of the stoma to a new site or reconstruction of the stoma at the present site or surgery.



S-Pouch (see Ileoanal Reservoir)

Short Bowel Syndrome - Problems related to absorbing nutrients after removal of part of the small intestine. Symptoms include diarrhea, weakness, and weight loss. Also called short gut syndrome.

Sigmoid Colon - The lower part of the colon that empties into the rectum.

Sigmoidoscopy - Looking into the sigmoid colon and rectum with a flexible or rigid tube, called a sigmoidoscope.

Small Intestine - Organ where most digestion occurs. It measures about 20 feet and includes the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum.

Spastic Colon - See Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Sphincter - A ring-like band of muscle that opens and closes an opening in the body. An example is the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach known as the lower esophageal sphincter.

Stenosis - A narrowing of a passageway.

Stoma - A surgical opening in the abdomen to allow disposal of body waste.  Must be covered at all times by a bag that collects stool. (The word stoma is derived from the Greek for "mouth"). Click here to see more.

Stenosis - A narrowing or shrinking of the stoma due to scar tissue.

Stricture - A narrowing along a segment of the bowel.


Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) - See Parenteral Nutrition.

Transverse Colon - The part of the colon that goes across the abdomen from right to left.

Two Piece Systems - (See pouch) Consisting of a separate flange and pouch.  The pouch contains a closing ring which mechanically attaches to a mating piece on the flange.  The most common closure is a pressure fit snap ring, very similar to that used in Tupperware.



Ureters - Ducts which carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

Urethra - Ducts by which urine is discharged from the bladder.

Urine - Liquid containing body waste, secreted by the kidneys, usually stored in the bladder and discharged through the urethra.

Urine Crystals - Sharp crystals which can form on a urinary stoma or surrounding skin.  Can be dissolved with soaks using white vinegar and water in a 50/50 solution.

Urinary Diversion - Any one of a number of surgical procedures which diverts the urine away from a diseased or defective bladder.

Ulcerative colitis (UC) - A serious inflammatory disorder affecting the inner lining of the large intestine. The inflammation originates in the lower colon and spreads through the entire colon.

Urostomy - An abdominal opening from the urinary tract. The stoma for a urostomy is often built from a short length of ileum.

Urostomy Supplies - products used by people with Urostomy.



Villi - The tiny, fingerlike projections on the surface of the small intestine. Villi help absorb nutrients.



W-Pouch (see Ileoanal Reservoir)

Wafer - A molded plate of an ostomy pouch system.  Fits against and adheres to the skin.



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