Posted in ostomy care

Debunking Myths About Stomas

According to a survey, millions of Americans have undergone stoma surgeries. Even though this procedure is more common than you think, it is a life-changing experience, which can get scary at times. It involves the creation of an opening in the belly that allows a part of the bowel to pass through to evacuate bodily wastes. The purpose is to bypass the diseased section of the bowel. This opening is known as a stoma.

There are different types of ostomies, from colostomy to continent ileostomy. There is much information about these ostomies available on various mediums, but this information may also include a fair share of myths.

In this article, we are going to debunk some of the most common ostomy myths.

Everyone will know that you have a stoma

Ostomy surgery results in a significant change in the body, which can make a patient more conscious about the body image. This sensation can lead anyone into thinking that an ostomy is meant to be a visible body feature. Most people with ostomies fear the possibility of others telling them about their ostomy bag. But the fact of the matter is that modern-day appliances are discreet enough to achieve a hidden profile under the clothes.

Ostomies smell bad

Any non-healing wound can emit an unpleasant smell. It is, however, not the case with a stoma. The smell of an open wound comes from the infection. The smell that people fear in case of an ostomy comes from the stomal output. Again, it comes down to the type of ostomy bag you use. Older ostomy bags didn’t have many capabilities to restrict smell, but modern-day ostomy appliances use advanced skin barriers that ensure a tighter seal. Most of these bags also utilize a filter that allows the gas to escape without the odor-producing bacteria.

Swimming with an ostomy is impossible

You will not be able to engage in strenuous physical activities, such as swimming, during the first few weeks after ostomy surgery. But, it doesn’t mean that you are going to have to stay like this forever. As soon as you recover from surgery, you can engage in most types of workouts. You may want to discuss with your doctor about this matter before resuming your physical training regimen, though.

Only the elderly get stomas

Most people associate ostomies with the elderly because the types of conditions that lead a person to require an ostomy generally occur in the later years of life. But assuming that only aged people will get an ostomy is wrong. There is a whole community of young adults who live with an ostomy, and they get to enjoy their lives to the fullest.

It is hard to clean a stoma

Keeping your stoma clean is an integral part of the ostomy care regimen. The soiled stoma lining can result in a heightened risk of the peristomal skin getting in contact with the stomal output. It ultimately results in skin irritation, redness, and other complications that are not only painful but also lead to a more compromised seal between the ostomy pouch and the peristomal skin. Contrary to what many people think, cleaning your stoma is not hard at all. It indeed adds much to the daily routine, but it is not a complicated process. You only need warm water to clean your stoma. If you want to use soap, make sure that it doesn’t contain any perfumes or oils.

Posted in education

Importance of Staying Hydrated After Urostomy

In summer, it is quite easy to stay hydrated. We feel dryness after taking a few steps of walk, after some works, in the kitchen, in office, even we need after every hour. Therefore, we can hydrate ourselves in the summer. However, in winter, we do not feel like having water. Because of the chilly winds, we do not feel thirsty at all. We forget to drink water. We usually drink a lot of tea and coffee during winters; thus, we do not feel thirsty. This can result in dehydration of the body. Doctors suggest that we should drink 8 glasses of water per day, either it is winter or summer. But, it is difficult in cold weather to stay hydrated.

When it comes to urostomy, it is even more important to drink plenty of water and keep your body hydrated. When you have a urostomy, your bladder is no longer with you, and your urine has to flow out through the stoma. Therefore, you should drain out your bag after every hour. For this purpose, you should drink a lot of water.

When you have a urostomy surgery, your bladder will not work. You will have to drain out your urine through the stoma. The distance between the stoma and kidney is short. Therefore, you cannot suppress the urine for a longer time. You have to discharge the liquid after every hour. When you drain out the urine after every hour, your body will feel dehydrated. Thus, you should drink a lot of fresh juices to keep your entire body and kidneys hydrated. Kidneys have a primary duty of drainage of the urine. When you do not drink water, your kidneys will cause pain. They can get infected if they feel dryness. Your body, as well as your renal system, should stay hydrated.

When you will drink a minimum of eight glasses of water daily, your kidney will catch the infection. After every hour, you should discharge your pee from the stoma. For this, water and juices play a vital role. When your renal system is functioning, it will create fewer problems for your kidneys and stoma. Apart from the intake of liquids, you should keep your urostomy accessories dry and clean all the time. You should clean your ostomy pouch and dry your skin around the stoma. When you have a urostomy surgery, dryness and emptiness of the ostomy supplies have a paramount role in your health.

After having a urostomy surgery, you will feel some changes in the color of urine. For a few initial weeks, you will have blood in the urine. But, it is ordinary in the early days of the operation. Moreover, you will see a white cloudy thread in the discharge, which is not a dreadful situation. You do not need to get afraid when you see these minor changes. The white strand in the urine is because of the ileal conduit. Therefore, you will feel a mucus thread in the discharge.

Some Common Signs of the Kidney Infection

The following are some ordinary symptoms of kidney infection.

Have a look at them!

  • Back pain in the lower part.
  • Urine in the blood.
  • The decrease in the output of the urine.
  • Chilled urine.
  • Raise in the temperature.

Well, the paramount point here on which I would like to put light on is your urine analysis. When you have a urinalysis, you should provide your nurse with a germ-free sample of the urine. Your nurse should take a test direct from the stoma, you should not give a specimen from the ostomy pouch. The direct sample is antiseptic and sterile.

Posted in education

Damaged Skin is not a Normal Skin After Having a Stoma

When you have a stoma, many people think now you will have red and irritated belly all the time. Well, this is not true. If your skin is changing color, or it irritates you, you should go to your doctor. Redness and irritation are ordinary in the initial weeks of the surgery. However, after some days or weeks, your skin should get back to normalcy. An ostomy does not mean that you will have to endure dry and discolor the skin.

Your skin around the stoma called peristomal should be healthy and happy. It should be the same as any other part of the body. Redness, itching, and irritation are not ordinary for peristomal. You should take it seriously vehemently and pay an immediate call on to your doctor or nurse. The best idea to contact a doctor is your medical team, your surgeon, or WOC nurse. They know their medical history and the entire case. Thus, they can guide and treat you in the best way. Maybe, these are normal symptoms for you, as per your case. Maybe, you have to go through the red and itchy skin for some time due to any other illness or allergy. Therefore, do not believe in self-medication and treatment. You should follow your doctor’s advice. Moreover, if you will go to a new doctor, you will have to tell him your entire medical history and operation. But your doctor already knew everything about your disease and treatment. You WOC nurse and doctor know about your allergies; therefore, they can tailor treatment and medicines which are ideal for you. Well, the paramount point here is, if you feel pain in your stoma continuously, or the skin around the stoma (peristomal), do not feel it is normal. Do not bear the pain for a long time. This can be an intense situation for your health. Therefore, go to your doctor and take the challenge.

Why Do You Feel Redness or Irritation in your Peristomal?

Here are some reasons that can damage your peristomal skin. The following causes are responsible for your redness, itchiness, and irritation on the skin around the stoma.

  • When your stoma pouch is not closed or lose.
  • When you are wearing a wrong barrier and flange size.
  • When your stomal bag is leaking.
  • When your skin around the stoma is not clean.
  • Or, sometimes, it is due to the product you are using to clean your skin, and unknowingly, you are allergic to it.
  • When you use the wrong adhesive or wipes.
  • Sometimes, the use of a cosmetic soap during the shower, or rubbing your skin can cause the damaged peristomal.
  • Whenever you wear your stoma pouch, do not ignore any of the symptoms like itching, tingling, tightening, or irritation.

Some Essential Tips for the Treatment of Damaged Peristomal

  • When you feel redness or itching, you should apply stoma powder on your skin.
  • Do not use perfumes, cosmetic deodorants, and beauty soaps on your skin around the stoma.
  • Make sure your peristomal skin is dry and clean all the time.
  • Do not use harsh brush or cloth on your skin around the stoma.
  • Dust a little quantity of stoma powder on the red skin. Brush off the excess powder with a gentle wipe or tissue.
  • After applying the stoma powder, dap your skin gently, this will seal the powder and heals your peristomal skin.
  • Do not use baby powder on the skin. Baby powder and stoma powder, both are different things. Baby powder is not suitable for the adhesive you use in the ostomy barrier.
  • Still, you feel redness and itching, contact your medical team. Do not think, it is uncurable. Your doctor will recommend the best for you.
Posted in education

Being able to exercise with a stoma in 2021

When I get stressed I find that working out is a wonderful way to deal with it.  Part of my life is dedicated to exercising and I was so worried that my stoma would hurt me in that endeavor.  Part of how I cope with the hardships in life is to have a good outlet.  We all get frustrated and angry and to me being active and going for a jog at the end of a hard and frustrating day can help me overcome my anger and frustration.  To me being outside on a track and just being alone with my thoughts is an amazing way to overcome hard times.  Now, part of my hardships was also caused due to the fact that I have a stoma, and having a stoma is just part of my daily life and daily workouts.

We all have fears and not being able to get out and jog on a track or in the woods was one of mine.  But that goes to show that we all can be afraid and all have fears that we won’t be able to do something due to our surgery.  I want to let you know that almost all of my fears were really not actionable.  They were overblown issues and my life is honestly just about the same as it was before. Finding the right gear allows you to get over the problems and have confidence to be real. 

I like knowledge and I find that it overcomes fear.  I wanted to know how to get back into jogging again and as fast as possible.  This is where I was told to really hold up.  Most nurses and doctors said, jogging would be totally possible and that instead of jumping right in that I should start back slow.  First, they said, you just got out of surgery and you will have to recover.  They asked about my previous injuries and my sprained ankles came up.  The healing schedule was actually pretty similar to the timing of an ankle.  I worked hard to get back into shape wisely and without hurting myself.   

This meant being smart and setting up the right times to workout.  So I made a planner. After a month or two of just getting used to my stoma, I decided it was time to start back up at the gym.  Instead of running and weightlifting, I decided to go very slow.  I wanted to make sure my gear did not embarrass me in public and it didn’t.  The elliptical and stationary bike were my friends to start with.  I thought they may actually be the hardest things to learn on so I wanted to test my gear first in the hardest way.  I started very light and very slow so as not to hurt my body.  Hernias are definitely a new thing that can happen much easier now. So be wise and don’t overdo things too quickly. I didn’t. 

It took some time, but I went right in and got to work. After a few months of slowly working back up and walking incline on treadmills, I started to jog slowly.  It took me a long time to get back into shape, but within 6 months I was happily jogging on a track again. Be strong and fight for what you love. 

Posted in education

Don’t let your ostomy bag make you a skunk.

What I love doing is learning.  I like to read and keep up my education.  Yes, I have a few doctorates, now, but mostly I enjoy reading old books for fun.  So I have been reading lots of old books on survival, bushcraft, and mainly hunting.  That is because I have seen the United States Economy shift into a downward spiral and seen the supply chain breakdown.  It made me wonder about many things and safety came to mind.  I have a stoma, so having the right gear came to mind, and being able to have it available was really important.  Then the idea of having the right gear and having food came to mind and if stores stopped having food what would I do. I think that if things go south, I am going to try and learn how we all lived before technology.

This meant that my porch was full of books being dropped off.  Being stuck at home with me and my stoma I had lots of time to read and especially since most stores were closed and I was working at home. But hunting seemed to be the topic that I always came back to.  If people could go out and procure enough meat for a whole month with a single deer, I knew that it was something that could be an answer to the food issue.  See when it came to the ostomy gear issue, I had already started stocking up months ago.  What I wanted to do was be prepared if something bad happened in my area.

There is more than ostomy gear that is needed to survive. Obviously, food is a big deal and my biggest worry was that my ostomy bag would keep me out of being successful in the hunting world.  So I searched for a long time on how sensitive animals smell was.  This kinda made me a bit sad, because their sense of smell is so far beyond ours as humans I thought they would smell me a mile away.  The truth is that they can and most likely will.  Luckily, scent blockers exist in the ostomy and hunting world.

I love technology because there are pills that I can take to minimize my own waste smells and even sprays that I can put in my bags that order eliminating.  That is pretty cool.  So I made sure to pick some up and then also work on scent-blocking clothing.  That is very available in the hunting world and with that combined, I have seen many posts on online forums where men and women in my situation have been very successful.  This was a huge boom to my personal fears because I knew that with the right skills and location that I could provide food for the family and me. 

Practice makes perfect and I went to town learning.  So I spend a lot of time watching youtube videos of hunting and then tried to find specific accounts of people who have a stoma on social media and follow them.  I want to know how to do things that I normally don’t and I have to say I have learned so much over the past few months that I am happy the closed economy let me get my learning on and read a bunch.