A stoma looks like a small spout, deep pink in colour, similar to the inside of the mouth. Although it looks raw it has no feeling.
Where your stoma is situated will depend on whether you have a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy. A colostomy is generally situated on the left side of the abdomen; an ileostomy or urostomy is generally situated on the right.
You can have either an end stoma or a loop stoma. An end stoma is when just one end of the bowel is formed into a stoma; a loop stoma is where a loop of bowel is brought out through the abdomen. The opened edges are then sutured to the skin. The stoma has two different openings, a functioning opening and a non-functioning end. A loop is sometimes supported by a bridge in the early stages.
Your stoma will gradually settle down during the first 6-8 weeks after surgery and reduce in size. Check it weekly with a measuring guide to make sure the hole in your stoma bag is a snug fit. This will help prevent leaks and sore skin. (You can get a measuring guide by calling our CliniMed Careline on 0808 1596017)
If your stoma is or becomes black, dusky, pale or sloughy, report it to your doctor or stoma nurse. You should also report any soreness, inflammation or ulceration of the skin around the stoma, and any sudden or unexplained swelling of the stoma.