A stoma is often described as resembling a rose bud. It may have a small spout and is pink and moist, much like the inside of the mouth. Although it looks raw, there are no nerve endings in the stoma so it has no feeling.
Where should a stoma be situated?
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 typically being situated on the right.
End or loop stoma
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 and cut so you will have two openings, one where waste will come out and the other leading down to the rectum. The opened edges of the bowel are then sutured to the skin. A loop is sometimes supported by a bridge in the early stages.
Should a stoma change size after surgery?
Your stoma will gradually settle down during the first six to eight weeks after surgery and will normally reduce in size. Check it at least 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)
Things to watch out for
If your stoma is or becomes black, dusky, pale or sloughy (separating from the body), 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.