Signs of a stoma problem

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A stoma is an opening that is created during bowel surgery. When the intestines do not work well enough to expel stool through the anus, the procedure can redirect part of the intestines to the surface of the abdomen . Waste can be disposed of in a bag attached to the outside of the body called an ostomy accessory .

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The stoma is sensitive, especially in the days and weeks immediately after surgery. The stoma can be damaged or the tissue can die if the stoma does not receive an adequate blood supply and does not require proper care.

Types of stoma

There are three main types of stoma:

  • Ileostomy : An ileostomy removes waste from the small intestine. This type of stoma should be expected to produce more watery and less formed stools, as the stools have less time in the digestive tract to remove excess water.
  • Colostomy : This type of stoma removes waste from the colon and should remove less fluid, more stool-like waste.
  • Urostomy : Unlike a colostomy and ileostomy, this type of stoma drains urine instead of stool.

Normal stoma after surgery

The stoma should be bright red or pink. The tissue from which the stoma is formed is the intestinal mucosa and it should be moist and shiny. In appearance, it is very similar to the inside of the mouth along the cheek.

A normal stoma can swell and produce mucus in the first few days after surgery. Although the stoma itself should be moist, the skin around the stoma should be normal .

The skin closest to the stoma may be irritated by the surgical procedure, but should otherwise be normal in color, texture, and temperature. It shouldn't appear angry or infected .

Initially, during the healing process, the skin may be sensitive and irritated with regular brushing. The skin immediately surrounding the stoma and stoma can become irritated during the cleaning process. A small amount of blood from the stoma itself is not unusual during the healing process.

It is okay to try several different ostomy devices to make them work best for you; Some people find that appliance glue irritates their skin and they have to try a different brand or type of appliance.

Signs of ostomy problems

Discuss any of these signs with your doctor:

  • The swelling does not decrease for several weeks after surgery, or it suddenly increases in size.
  • The stomata are no longer bright red or pink, but appear pale.
  • The stomata no longer appear wet or dry.
  • Your stoma is very dark and deep red, purple, or even black.
  • Your stools are always watery or have diarrhea , but loose or hard stools were expected on your discharge plan.
  • It looks like pus is coming out of the stoma.
  • Your device does not fit properly, needs to be changed more often than expected, or is irritating to your skin.
  • The stoma appears to be 'strangled' by the device.
  • You feel pain in your stoma.
  • Your stoma undergoes significant size changes (more than half an inch) throughout the day.
  • The stoma appears to be receding into the abdomen or expanding beyond the abdomen .

Signs of skin problems around the stoma.

Contact your doctor if you notice any of the following signs on the skin around your stoma:

  • The skin around the stoma appears infected and / or red or irritated.
  • There is pus or discharge.
  • The skin does not heal well.
  • The skin around the stoma appears irritated by the stoma device and may be red, cracked, scaly, scaly, moist, or burn-like. This can be caused by strong detergents, so clean them gently with a mild soap.
  • Your skin hurts, burns, or changes color.
  • Ulcers or tears appear on the skin around the stoma or where you placed the device.

When to call a provider / call an emergency room

Significant discoloration of the stoma, when the stoma turns pale or dark, is a sign that the tissue is not getting the blood it needs. This type of change should be notified to your surgeon immediately, regardless of whether the surgery was recent or past .

If you cannot reach your surgeon , a stoma that is not getting enough blood supply is a good reason to go to the emergency room.

Signs of infection in the skin around the stoma or its site, or a fever greater than 99.5, should be reported to your surgeon within a few weeks after surgery .

Frequently asked questions

  • A healthy stoma should be bright red or pink. The stoma may be wet after surgery, but the skin around it should look normal.

  • Some stoma swelling is normal for the first few days after surgery. If the swelling continues for several weeks and does not go away, this may be a sign to seek medical attention.

  • Some signs of a stoma infection are redness or irritation of the skin around the stoma, pus or discharge, or sores around the stoma or pain. If your temperature rises above 99.5 after surgery, you should see your doctor.

  • After surgery, a small amount of blood may leak from the stoma. If more than a few drops of blood begin to come out of the stoma, see your doctor or surgeon.

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