What is Colostomy?
A colostomy is a surgical procedure that relates to joining a part of the colon onto the anterior abdominal wall. Leaving the sufferer with an opening on the abdomen called a stoma. This opening molds from the end of the large intestine drawn out through the hole and sutured to the skin.
After a colostomy, stool leaves the patient’s body over the stoma and gets in a pouch attached to the patient’s abdomen. Which changed when necessary.
There are three types of colostomy surgery:
- Ascending colostomy (opening at the right side of the abdomen. Where the ascending colon located).
- Transverse colostomy (one or two openings across the stomach where the transverse colon located).
- Descending colostomy (opening at the left side of the abdomen where the descending or sigmoid colon situated).
The colostomy can be temporary or permanent; this depends on the severity and progress of the affecting disease.
Colostomy Surgery: A Lifestyle Check
There has been a dramatic increase in colon cancer happening in Asia for the past ten years. And the population is admiring what is going on. The disease can attack both young and older adults. It is highly feasible that lifestyle is the chief culprit: smoking, alcohol. The diet of prepared meat with little or no vegetables, etc. In the earlier year alone, I know five people who had to undergo a colostomy surgery when they diagnosed with colon cancer.
The partial or complete removal of a colon is scary and confusing for some, an indication that death is near. The mere thought of colostomy surgery can drive family members to depression. It’s such a drastic step, and for the uninformed, it is death served on a platter.
Depressing as it may sound, colostomy surgery can save lives. This procedure wherein a part of your colon. Or all of it surgically removed due to certain diseases like colon cancer, obstructions, defects. All of which can affect bowel movement.
The process is to clear a path from the intestine to the abdominal wall to make sure that waste material inside the body passed out efficiently. The waste can pass into a bag that left outside of the body.
This bag can manually clean and sterilized and replaced at any given length of time. The safe exit of the waste ensures that no toxins will remain inside the body. This is a much healthier option than being placed in a body bag because the poison from the toxins that cannot release from the body has finally taken over.
Colostomy Surgery Recovery
As with any major medical procedure, colostomy surgery recovery takes both time and patience to accomplish. Also, there are some guidelines to follow both in the hospital and at home, which will help ensure a healthy outcome.
Below are some general standards of what you might expect to experience during recovery, but everyone is different. It is imperative to follow your doctor’s or nurse’s instructions and advice above all else and report to them any problems or concerns you may have as soon as they arise.
The recovery period is also when you will learn and implement colostomy care basics and start to develop your routine of caring for your stoma. And learning how to handle colostomy bags, pouches, and other supplies.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your ostomy nurse or doctor; nothing is too small or insignificant.
Colostomy Surgery Recovery at the Hospital
While every patient is unique, and how quickly you can resume regular tasks will vary, there is a general pattern following colostomy surgery. Knowing your limits is important, and this overview will give you a better idea of what to expect.
During this time, a clear colostomy pouch will use so that the medical staff can easily check the condition of the stoma. Before discharge, a nurse should offer instructions on how to choose, use, and clean your colostomy appliances and supplies.
To optimize your time in the hospital, try and ask as many questions as possible to better prepare yourself for when you get home.
It is beneficial to move around (with assistance) soon after your procedure is complete. Your nurse will likely ask you to walk a short distance with their help. Either on the day of your surgery or within 24 hours. Why is this? It can help stave off a variety of unwanted complications, such as upper respiratory infections or the formation of blood clots.
Further, it can stimulate peristalsis, and getting your bowels moving again is important. You can also move when resting in bed, by slowly bending your arms and legs repeatedly. Just be sure to take it easy and avoid over-exertion.
As colostomy surgery performed on your digestive system, you won’t be given solid foods following the operation. Also, you’ll restrict from consuming anything orally, even liquids. Instead, you will nourish through your IV, which will also include any necessary medications.
How soon until you can resume normal eating? This is up to your doctor’s discretion, and they will typically wait until you begin passing gas into your colostomy bag. This is a signal that your digestion is starting to function again, and that you can handle drinking clear fluids.
If these give you no trouble, you’ll then allow more substantial liquids, such as soups or even oatmeal. Finally, if no adverse reactions or complications arise, you’ll advanced to soft, solid foods. Expect the entire process to take several days – more if your doctor has reason to be concerned.
Pain and Discomfort
Colostomy surgery is a major procedure, and as such, you should expect to have some level of pain. Fortunately, this can be well-controlled with a variety of medications, which you may be allowed to self-administer.
If you gave this option, you’d use a button next to your bed, which will add more pain medication to your IV drip. The system will automatically monitor your usage to ensure that you don’t take too much at one time.
When it comes to pain, most doctors advise that you stay out ahead of it by taking enough medication. Otherwise, it can be difficult to gain control of your pain once again, making your recovery more uncomfortable than necessary.
Further, taking adequate doses will allow you to move more freely, which should reduce your recovery time.
Colostomy Recovery At Home
Colostomy surgery recovery is always a process, and it is best not to become impatient and try to rush through it. Having the right expectations will go a long way towards alleviating your frustration and allow you to take small steps towards healing each day.
Keep in mind that a variety of factors will influence your progress, such as your baseline level of health and fitness, how well the procedure went, and even your age.
Staying active is an integral part of healing, and your doctor will likely encourage you to avoid resting too much. It is best to stay out of bed for as long as possible throughout the day and try to do normal activities also.
However, your body will be devoting much of its resources to healing, so you will tend to have less energy in general. This expected, and you may need to take several naps every day in the beginning. Simply try to find a balance, where you devote enough time to resting and some to staying active as well.
What types of exercise are most beneficial? Walking is generally advised, as it is a gentle way to keep your body moving. Try to increase your distance without pushing yourself too much gradually. The one type of exercise which is forbidden is any kind of heavy lifting.
This can cause a variety of problems, such as a hernia or ripping out your stitches. Your doctor will advise you how much weight you’re permitted to lift, but this is usually quite small – often only a few pounds. Also, you may be restricted from strenuous exercise or lifting anything more substantial than 25 pounds for six months following your recuperation.
As with any surgery involving the digestive system, you’ll want to build up your eating slowly. However, most of this process will be accomplished during your hospital stay, as your doctor will be reluctant to release you before you can nourish yourself.
Once at home, you’ll have specific recommendations concerning your diet, and it is important to follow these carefully. In general, it is best to hydrate yourself by drinking plenty of water, which will help the healing process.
Further, you may want to eat small meals on a more frequent basis, especially if your appetite has reduced. This often happens after surgery, and it should return to normal within a few weeks.
Finally, protein is vital for healing, as it gives your body the essentials for tissue repair and regeneration. Therefore, try to eat some protein at every meal, to give your body what it needs to recover.
Pain and Discomfort
You’ll give pain medication to take home with you, along with dosage instructions. You can simply take these as needed, and they are especially useful for getting to sleep. Expect to taper off your dosage gradually continuously, as your pain levels begin to fall as you heal.
A lot of colostomy patients receive in-home visits from a nurse in the days and weeks after their surgery to look after their newly formed stoma and to check up on the health regularly and well being of the patient. Write down any questions you may come up with in-between visits and make sure to ask them to the nurse while they are there.
Recovery typically takes several days in the hospital, followed by a period of a few weeks to a few months at home, depending on the occurrence of any possible complications. Expect to slowly resume your normal activities, while being careful to avoid strenuous actions, such as heavy lifting.
The course of your healing will be highly individual, as further complications may arise, but the above recommendations should help ensure that you have the best outcome possible.
Colostomy Different Varieties
The colon is quite a long organ, normally 5 to 6 feet long, and the type of colostomy to perform is dependent on which section of the colon the procedure will take place. The three main types are; transverse, ascending, and descending or sigmoid.
There are many differences between the three, including; where on the abdomen the stoma is placed, the makeup and consistency of the waste material when exiting the body, and the types of conditions or diseases most commonly responsible for undergoing the procedure.
Descending or Sigmoid
This is the most frequently performed type of colostomy. It takes place in the sigmoid or descending colon, the last third section of the organ. Because of its location, the waste material that expelled through the stoma tends to be firmer and less watery.
Patients over time may even develop a routine or a schedule in which they can reliably predict their bowel movements, thus only having to wear their appliances or bags at certain times of the day. Nonetheless, that’s not the situation for all patients.
It may be either of the single or double-barrel variety with the single barrel being more common, and the stoma will locate on the lower left side of the abdomen.
This takes place in the transverse colon. The stoma will be located from the middle of the abdomen to the right side of the abdomen. Since this takes place further up in the colon than a descending or sigmoid variety, the waste material will be more loose or watery. A pouch will usually have to worn full time. There are two varieties of transverse colostomies.
The stoma may look very large, but that is because it has two openings. One opening is to expel waste material, and the other is to drain naturally occurring mucus that is used by the colon for self-protection.
Despite being partially dissected, the damaged or diseased part of the colon that is bypassed may still produce this mucus. It may either pass out of the second opening in the stoma, or it may work its way down the remainder of the colon and rectum and passed through the anus.
In this procedure, the colon divided into two sections by the surgeon, and two distinct stomas formed on the surface of the abdomen. This still serves the same function of the loop variety by having separate avenues to excrete wastes material and mucus.
This done at the very start of the colon near the small intestine. Waste material expelled from the stoma is very loose and usually contains digestive enzymes in liquid form.
These are used to break down food and waste material and pose a higher risk for skin and stoma irritation, so special care must take. It is also the least common of the three types that performed.