New to Ostomy Care

Any surgical procedure carries risk; the surgical procedure involved in the creation of a stoma is no different. Surgeons will review the benefits and risks before surgery. First, they will look at the desired outcome. They will also look at the possible implications of not having surgery. You will know about the chance of complications in percentage. For instance, the surgeon may tell you that you have a 20% chance of developing a wound infection.

The surgical procedure involved in stoma creation also carries risks along with the benefits. Generally, doctors do not talk about the complications during preoperative discussions. Medical and nursing literature describes the challenges associated with having a stoma. These issues are mostly related to the stoma itself and the skin around it. Good thing is that many of these complications are preventable. You are going to need to know what these complications are and how to prevent them.

A recent study in Denmark showed that 45% of people with ostomies had a peristomal skin infection to some degree. It was alarming to observe that only 38% percent of those with skin complications agreed that they had an issue related to peristomal skin. Others did not seek any medical assistance to treat this issue.

Generally, the cases of peristomal skin complications are reportedly high. Several studies suggest that the existence of these issues is mainly due to the lack of awareness among people with ostomies. They do not even consider these complications a problem that can affect the quality of life.

The fact of the matter is that peristomal skin complications can cause significant discomfort. Here are some tips that may help you prevent or treat complications.

  • You will need to be proactive with ostomy care. It includes checking your skin with every flange change. If there is an issue, seek assistance from an ostomy care nurse.
  • Be mindful of the conditions that can contribute to peristomal skin complications. One of those conditions is the weight gain, which can significantly impact the way you take care of your stoma and the skin around it.
  • After surgery, there will be swelling in your stoma. This swelling will begin subsiding, and your stoma will settle down to a permanent shape after a few weeks. During this period, you will have to measure your stoma with every pouch change. You may have to create an opening of a different size and shape every time, which might become a bit troublesome, but it’s the way you can prevent complications.
  • When you notice any complications, such as irritation or redness, contact your ostomy care nurse.

Just because there is a risk of complications doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for ostomy surgery. You can talk to your doctor or ostomy care nurse to understand the impact of ostomy on your life, and also about the consequences of not taking care of your stoma and the skin around it. It will help you remain proactive with your ostomy care regimen.