When Should You Be Concerned About Your Stoma

So here’s the thing – not a lot of people are very familiar with the term ostomy. It is safe to assume that the majority of people have no idea what an ostomy is or even what a stoma is. So I am going to start off this article with a quick introduction to ostomy for you. So to put it in the simplest terms that even you could understand, an ostomy is a hole made by a surgeon that allows for output to leave your body. And by output, I mean stool and urine. There are lots of people who end up getting ostomies that you will probably never even know about as you pass by them on the street or in a store somewhere. Basically, the surgery to have a stoma put in is needed for a lot of different reasons, but it usually has something to do with the body not functioning properly and thus is in need of a recalibration so to speak. Isn’t it strange that the modern medical world has become so advanced that our species is able to perform strange and bizarre surgeries like an ostomy? Sometimes I just sit back and think about things like that and it just blows my mind. The real reason I wanted to talk about ostomies today is because I think there are a lot of people out there who are not properly taking care of their stoma like they should be.

So like anything else in life, there can be a lot of problems and issues that come up with the addition of a stoma in a person’s body. However, I do not want you to think that there is nothing you can do about preventing or identifying these problems before they become too big of a deal. In fact, if you are reading this and you have a stoma, then I want you to go ahead and pay real close attention for the rest of this article. I am going to write about a few telltale signs in which something might be wrong with your stoma, and what you need to do after you’ve noticed the problem.

So if you are just coming out of surgery and had your stoma put in very recently, then there should be a decent amount of swelling coming from that area. It makes sense, afterall, because surgery can be extremely hard on the body. However, it is important that the swelling of the stoma and the area around it starts to decrease in the weeks following the surgery. If that does not end up being the case, and you find that the swelling sticks around or even gets worse after a few weeks, then you may have a problem and should talk to your doctor.

Another thing to keep in mind is that stomas have a very specific color and texture. I really hate writing about this because it really grosses me out, but a stoma should appear a beefy reddish pink in color. In addition to this, the stoma should appear shiny and moist pretty much all of the time. If your stoma is pale in appearance or dry, then it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor and see if something is wrong. Hope this is helpful for you!

Why You Should Avoid Getting An Ostomy At All Costs

If you have no idea what an ostomy is or have never even heard of a stoma, then my suggestion to you right now is to go ahead and click off this article because it is about to get a bit graphic up in here. First things first, let’s all agree that an ostomy is a life serving surgery that is super critical for many people that must undergo it. Without getting an ostomy, many people may die due to complications with their intestines, colon, and whatever else goes down there. However, if you think for one second that you should get an ostomy just because you don’t feel like taking care of yourself or your body, then I have to fill you in on just how ridiculous that is.

I mean, just have a lengthy conversation with anyone who has to live with a stoma every day of their life. Do you know that there are people out there who can never go to the bathroom in a normal way ever again? How would you feel walking around with basically a Walmart bag attached to your hip at all times, and for the rest of your life until the day you die? Yeah, hopefully you are picking up what I am putting down. Getting an ostomy is no joke, and I can guarantee you that every single person who has to live their life with a stoma would rather go back in time and change whatever went wrong.

In addition to all that, trying to take care of a stoma is a super big responsibility. Pretty much every second of every day, you will have waste funneling out of your stoma and into your ostomy pouch. This means that you are going to have to empty the ostomy pouch as often as necessary in order to keep it from becoming too filled and complicating your stoma. The kicker though, is that the stoma output does not stop ever. So if you take off your ostomy pouch to change bags or to clean out the stoma, then you are also going to have urine, feces, and gas funneling out of your body onto your clothes, floor, or somebody around you (if you happen to be in the presence of others). Oh yes, let’s talk about other people for a second. How are you going to tell your future significant other that you have a stinking, leaking, dripping hole in your abdomen that needs constant attention and care? I mean, forget having kids! You basically already have a little guy, and his name is stoma.

In all seriousness, getting an ostomy is definitely not something that you want to do. I would not wish a life with a stoma for anyone, except for maybe a few famous historical dictators or really bad people. Beyond that, I feel truly sorry for anyone that has to undergo this procedure and live their life out with a stoma. In my opinion, this surgery should only be undertaken if literally every other option has been explored and discounted. One thing is for sure, I would rather die than have to live the rest of my life with a stoma. I hope that this article was successful in making you never want to have an ostomy.

Peristomal Skin Care Tips

One of the most common problems people with a stoma experience is the poor condition of the skin around the stoma. This part of the skin is known as peristomal skin, and it is usually more exposed to the contact of feces or urine. This contact can result in skin irritation, which can turn out to be pretty uncomfortable if left untreated. The most fundamental measure to prevent these peristomal skin complications is to wear a flange with a strong adhesive.

In this article, we will discuss a few ways to ensure the good health of peristomal skin.

Maintaining healthy peristomal skin

Damaged peristomal skin can be quite painful and is more prone to infection. Damage to this part of the skin makes it difficult for the baseplate to adhere properly. The best way to maintain healthy peristomal skin is to ensure proper prevention.

The first thing is to see how your peristomal skin looks when it is healthy. It should look just as anywhere on the abdomen. Then, you will have to look for signs of skin irritation.

The best way to ensure the optimum health of your peristomal skin is to fit the baseplate around the stoma properly. It will help prevent peristomal skin problems.

  • If you are using a one-piece ostomy pouch, you will have to make sure that the adhesive used with its baseplate is flexible. It will allow for frequent pouch changes.
  • If you are using a two-piece ostomy pouch, you will have to use special moldable baseplates that hug the contours of your peristomal skin to ensure proper fitting of the flange.

Sore skin and your stoma bag baseplate

Skin soreness is pretty common among stoma bag wearers. This soreness can range from little redness to weeping wounds and irritating sores. It can be pretty painful sometimes.

Some most common reasons for skin soreness are as follows.

  • The most common reason for skin soreness is leakage. Reasons for leakage include wrongly-sized baseplate, the wrong type of baseplate, and not prepping the skin before wearing a baseplate. All these reasons contribute to waste materials coming in contact with the peristomal skin, which can eventually result in soreness.
  • A poorly fitted baseplate is another reason your ostomy pouch doesn’t adhere. It may be due to the wrong-sized opening of your baseplate. While using a cut-to-fit ostomy pouch, you have to make sure that the opening of your baseplate is right according to the shape and size of your stoma.
  • If the baseplate is not sticking to your peristomal skin, you may experience leakage, which is the primary reason for skin soreness. Allowing feces or urine to leak through can result in a vicious cycle of leakage and skin soreness. You can discuss these matters with your stoma care nurse in detail.
  • Sometimes, the product you use may not suit your stoma. It can result in a host of peristomal skin issues. Again, your ostomy care nurse can help you determine the type of product you can use.

Peristomal skin issues can be quite painful. They can also result in an affected quality of life. Preventing these issues or addressing them on time is critical.

Live to the Fullest and Enjoy life with your stoma

There is so much to life and even in 2021 when people are starting to vacation again we all go through lots of hard times.  It was certainly a crazy year, but the reason you are probably here is that it is your stoma.  I know that this year may be a little different.  But the fact is that once you get past the basics and get into a regular routine, your own life will pretty much return to normal.  That is more of a gift of hope than anything.  It is crazy to think that so many people believe their joy in life will end when they get a stoma. We are all looking forward to living like it’s 2019 again.

To me being active and enjoying fun things is important.  I am not in the best of shape, but I enjoy being outside and enjoying nature.  For me, that means keeping in pretty good cardio shape and also learning to keep extra ostomy gear on me.  I am now a professional at keeping my gear dry and I know that it sounds like a weird thing to say.  But I love hiking and to me keeping my ostomy gear safe and secure is important because even though I live a pretty normal life, my gear makes me feel safe.  Don’t be afraid to go out and hike or be active outside.

I worked hard to get into the shape to do this.  It didn’t happen overnight and instead, it took me time to get my body in shape enough to be active.  It is no great feat, but I spend a few months slowly working in the gym to make sure I was building muscle and doing it safely.  I was so afraid of hernias and getting injured, but I think starting slow is a good thing to do.  Being active and happy is part of what brings joy to my life.  I think they go hand in hand so I wanted to make sure I didn’t ruin anything.  So I started to walk and walk inclined.  It was a bit hard to do that at first, but I learned to build muscle in my abs and start really rocking the incline.  

Months in a gym was how it all started. But soon after I was out doing my favorite things in the woods.  I had some issues and I did not trust my gear.  I was really fearful of something happening in the woods.  For that part of my journey, I simply started asking for help.  I talked to my local pharmacist who gave me all his knowledge on how to be active with a stoma and related many stories he had been told during his time of selling ostomy gear.  It was great to hear all of that information and then he told me to call big companies and ask them about gear made specifically for that task.  I was still a little afraid, but I decided to finally do it one day and learned of specialized gear and other ways to stay safe outside. I like using a stoma guard to ensure I am safe. But you do what works best for you and you will be OK!

Use the Best Stoma Products in 2021

There are some incredible products that are avaialable for those with an ostomy.  It does not matter what type of stoma you have or where.  The best part of 2021 is that we may not have our freedom but we do have great products in the healthcare industry.   What I really mean is that if you just got a stoma and went through ostomy surgery then you need to be alert and on top of the situation.  Get into learning mode and put on your thinking cap.  Now your body has a new way of doing things and you may have to relearn and replan your average day.  It really just means you have a few extra steps to take care of each day and maybe a few wardrobe changes to make.  Don’t worry it really isn’t that different and you can still look stylish. So here are a few things you should look into and learn more about when you start out in the way of learning how to use great products and take care of yourself. 

I think that understanding your skin is super important.  This means that you really do need to become a dermatologist! Do you need the degree?  Ok, you really do not need to become a dermatologist, but you do need to learn about taking care of your skin.  My wife is an expert on all things skincare and I don’t even wash my face at night.  So you see I had a lot to learn.  So pay attention to your ostomy nurse and surgeon when they are talking about how to care for your skin.  The skin around your stoma is really important and you don’t want it to get infected, or get a rash.  You have probably rubbed the skin on your body too much at one time or another and it blistered up and ended up basically being an open wound.  Well now think about touching that open wound every single day and making the healing process take much longer than anticipated. Yikes, not fun!  So don’t worry, you can prevent that from happening.  Just follow instructions, and learn about proper techniques to care for your skin. This is going to be important.

The social media world is what can really make you an expert in almost anything.  People will sell their souls and information for a few views and Penneys on the view.  Become a friend with YouTube.  Yes, there may be lots of political reasons not to love a censoring platform, but there are lots of amazon videos on people who live and have a stoma.  I suggest starting with fashion videos.  If you are a guy or gal there are hundreds if not thousands of videos of people who are literally experts on how to dress with an ostomy bag.  You may not fit all their styles but there are probably a few that can lead you through similar clothing styles and how to stay fashionable and comfortable in lots of different situations! So take your ostomy care seriously and give these few tips a try and see where it lands you.

You may not be the best but you can live happy and with amazing tips and gear. Don’t give up but work hard to be happy.

Three Strikes with Your Stoma

It is pretty crazy how we all grew up.  I grew up in the midwest where all sports were life.  basketball was the best and then baseball was a close second.  I played them all as a kid but leaned towards basketball in the end.  Opening day for baseball is always the most exciting day of the year.  I didn’t feel this way until I started working at a really cool job.  Baseball was not my favorite sport to follow, but it really is a fun one to play.  A new yearly work tradition is to take an opening day off and drink whisky and smoke cigars all day and call it a workday.  There is no doubt that I love the opening day of baseball now. It has got me and my family back into the spirit of baseball and we are more and more finding ourselves outside playing baseball.  It is indeed a little more difficult due to the fact that I must take my ostomy supplies with me.  Yes, indeed I have a stoma and it does take a little more work to stay safe and not get messy when being outside. 

We all know that with a stoma you need to be safe and stoma guards are super helpful with this.  So some differences I have to deal with playing baseball differ from my normal day is that I know I am going to get more sweaty.  This means I need to dress appropriately and wear clothes that breathe and wick moisture away.  For this, I suggest not getting ostomy supplies that are made with cotton.  Cotton breathes but it does not wick moisture away very well. So I find myself getting really sweaty and staying that way. And if I am getting more sweaty in one area than my ostomy bag prints and everyone knows I have one.  It looks a little strange and it gets super annoying because it sticks to my shirt.  Or I should say my shirt sticks to it more.  

So find yourself a moisture-wicking ostomy bag and supplies.  This means find polyester or nylon ostomy gear so you are ready to go outside and play. I cannot stress enough that its important to go outside and be in nature and for me do it with my family.  Being on the sidelines is nothing that a stoma has kept me from doing.  You don’t need to be sitting on the sidelines, instead go out and be active and find the gear and clothing that works for you.  I don’t wear compression shirts anymore because that would just get in the way and possibly cause some leakage issues. So I wear loose-fitting clothes when I am outdoors and honestly I like just fine. So grab a mitt and maybe a bat and play ball and also my stoma cover. 

There is one important piece that gives me peace of mind and that is my stoma cover.  It is a nice guard that keeps me from worrying about things that could go wrong.  I can get hit, or slide happily knowing my stoma is safe. That is a big deal and something that can really truly help get things rolling. To don’t get grounded, chase those grounders with happiness and safety. 

Taking care of the home with a stoma

The great outdoors can be experienced simply by walking out your front door.  Some people live in the midst of nowhere and other live in a city.  All bring with it many similar experiences no matter what you actually think. The sun still shines, the wind still blows, and the wind still blows dandelions all over my law.  Yes, yard work always needs to be done and if you have a stoma, it still needs to be done.   I was worried about being active when I first found out I was going to get an ostomy.  Lots of scary situations ran through my mind and believe it or not the thought of a terrible lawn after years of careful grooming frightened me.  I needed to be able to still get outside and get my grass mowed and my trees mulched.  It does sound a little strange to be worried about the lawn, but it’s an area I take pride in.  One major thing newcomers to ostomy need to know is that they can still be active and still lead a normal life.  It simply takes a little effort and knowledge to be able to live a normal happy life.

We all know that knowledge you gain is important and it can actually determine how you will enjoy your life.   I would say is that you should take your yardwork seriously and the information of your surgeons and ostomy nurses more seriously.  They will tell you to take it slow and I wholeheartedly agree.  Don’t rush into doing more work than you are able to after ostomy surgery.  You have lots of new gear to try out and to get working correctly.  I found that testing out new ostomy gear was my favorite way to see what worked and testing for free is truly the best.  So I found out from a veteran in the stoma world that there are major companies online that have free samples.  This is really important when starting to work outside because you don’t know what will work for your activity level.  You don’t want leakage although I have made many a joke about personal fertilizer that has been very much shunned by my wife. But the truth is with amazing gear that is just a bad joke.

There are regular medical things you need to know.  It is most likely pretty obvious that now you are more prone to hernias than the average person.  This is due to having a stoma and the fact that your abdominal muscles are rather weakened due to the surgery.  So don’t go full-on landscaping mode right away. Take the time to work up to taking care of the lawn.  If you have a riding mower great, if you have a push mower, start by splitting up the task.  What you used to do in an hour break up into four days.  Yes, do a quarter of the yard at a time and see where your body is at.  I like to test out new gear in the yard.  I try guards, bags, seals, and anything that can improve my life. Take your time and enjoy your beautiful lawn while you are working and testing gear.  It is a pretty cool thing to be able to do.