What is a stoma?
Stoma is a Greek word meaning ‘mouth’ or ‘opening’. Stoma surgery results in a small opening on the surface of the abdomen being surgically created in order to divert the flow of faeces and/or urine. It is estimated that over 13,500 people undergo stoma surgery each year and the most common underlying conditions resulting in stoma formation are colorectal cancer, bladder cancer, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
A stoma looks like a small spout, deep pink in colour similar to the inside of the mouth and, although it looks raw, it has no feeling. Waste matter comes out of the stoma and is collected in a stoma bag. The type of bag used depends on the type of stoma.
Temporary or permanent
For some colostomy or ileostomy patients the stoma may be temporary allowing the bowel to heal before the stoma is reversed. The length of time before reversal varies but most are not reversed before three months.