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What is a stoma?

A stoma is an opening made on the abdominal wall used to divert waste products from the normal passages out into a bag. These can be required for various reasons on a temporary or permanent basis.

Individuals may have one such opening or both a colostomy and urostomy. Young people with a stoma may have other disabilities eg. spina bifida or an underlying illness eg. bowel disease.

Living with a stoma

Facilities must be available for changing the stoma bag, washing the stoma and skin area with warm water, and disposal. Colostomies usually need changing once a day. Ilestomies and urostomies need to be drained two or three time during the day. The frequency will depend upon the intake of fluids. Most young people are able to manage their own draining and changing very proficiently unless other disabilities prevent this. Most young people will have contact with specialist stoma care nurses through hospital. 

Practical tips

What else do you need to know?

Discuss with the individual and/ or parents/ carer the extent to which help is needed and learn any practical tips they might have to offer.

What to do in an emergency?

In case of an emergency, ensure that you know the exact name and catalogue number of any items required.

Support organisations

Colostomy Association

Helpline: 0800 328 4257

Website: www.colostomyassociation.org.uk

IA- The Ilestomy and Internal Pouch Support Group

Telephone: 0800 0184 724

Website: www.the-ia.org.uk

UA- Urostomy Association

Helpline: 01889 563191

Website: www.urostomyassociation.org.uk


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