Prolapsed Stoma

What is a prolapsed stoma and is it serious?

What is a prolapsed stoma?

A prolapse is when an organ in the body is displaced from its usual position. This is usually downward, or outward and can result in the organ protruding from the body via an opening.

A prolapsed stoma is when a part of the bowel falls outwards from the stoma site. This makes the stoma look longer in length and may also become wider in diameter.

Is a prolapsed stoma serious?

It may look scary, but a prolapsed stoma isn’t usually too concerning to healthcare professionals. You should always contact your stoma care nurse or other healthcare professional if you think you have a prolapse.

If the prolapse is painful, or the stoma turns purple or black, or stops functioning please contact your stoma nurse or GP immediately or A&E if out of hours .

Discomfort can occur due to the size of prolapse, and you may need to make changes to the stoma pouch you are wearing if this causes a problem with leakage, adhesion and sore skin.

If the stoma continues to function normally and looks healthy then it isn’t cause for worry and your stoma nurse will explain how to look after it, offering advice about products to minimise discomfort.

Why does a stoma prolapse?

There can be many reasons behind a prolapse. Common causes are:

  • Weakened muscles in the wall of the abdomen.
  • Unnecessary strain or sudden exertion i.e. through lifting.
  • Pregnancy.

That's why it is important to ensure you work on ways to strengthen your core to help reduce the risk of prolapse.

Is a stoma prolapse painful?

A prolapse isn’t usually painful but depending on how far the stoma has prolapsed it can feel heavy and you may need to have the stoma pouch cut wider.

How to treat a prolapsed stoma at home

Luckily there are things you can try at home to reduce the size of the prolapse.

  1. Firstly, try lying flat on your back, don't attempt to arch your neck or strain to see the stoma. Focus on relieving the pressure on your stomach muscles.
  2. Try to gently press and manipulate your stomach to see if the prolapse will retract by itself. You can do this by lifting the stoma and applying gentle downward pressure to the prolapsed end - before trying this, ensure you have clean hands and be very gentle.
  3. If the stoma appears swollen and difficult to push back in, try to reduce the swelling then try again.
  4. Sugar can be used to help reduce a swollen stoma! Sugar helps to draw water out of the stoma, reducing swelling. Do not try this method if you are a diabetic.
    1. Pour a few tablespoons of sugar (icing, if available) onto the stoma so it is well covered and leave for 20-30 minutes.
    2. The sugar will turn to a syrup as it absorbs the water. You may wish to wrap dry wipes around the stoma during this process. Once you see the stoma shrinking in size you can try to gently press it back into the abdomen.

Once you have managed to reduce the prolapse, remain lying on the bed for 30 minutes to avoid immediate prolapse again. If you are able to clean your stoma and apply another pouch it is advisable to do so.

What products can support a prolapsed stoma?

A prolapse may make the stoma much wider or longer than usual, so you may require a pouch where you can cut a larger hole or one which has a longer pouch attached. Aura Plus stoma pouches have a large customisable flange.

If the skin has become sore due to leakage you may wish to use a Barrier Wipe such as CliniShield Advance until the skin is healed and more comfortable.
An adhesive remover such as CliniPeel will help minimise any skin stripping and discomfort while changing your pouch.

Can a prolapse be prevented?

The risk can be reduced, but prevention isn’t always possible. Strengthening the stomach muscles is one of the best methods to reduce the risk of a prolapse. We have a variety of guides covering yoga, movement, and weight training. As with any new routine, just check with your stoma nurse, listen to your body and stop if anything doesn’t feel right.

If your job or lifestyle involves lifting, as a parent of young children for example, then you should ensure you’re lifting correctly and not putting excess strain on your abdominal muscles.

You can also find products such as ostomy belts to provide additional support when exercising or lifting – Don't forget the team at SecuriCare Home Delivery Service can advise further.

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