Living with an Ostomy/Stoma, whether it’s a urostomy or colostomy, can be a significant adjustment for individuals. An ostomy involves creating a surgically created opening on the abdomen to divert urine or feces into an external pouch. While the process may initially seem overwhelming, with proper support, care, and a few lifestyle adjustments, individuals can lead fulfilling and active lives. In this article, we will provide guidance and practical tips for individuals living with an ostomy, focusing on urostomy and colostomy care.
Adjusting to life with an ostomy can be emotionally challenging. Reach out to support groups, online communities, or local organizations that specialize in ostomy care. Connecting with others who have gone through similar experiences can provide valuable insights, emotional support, and practical tips for managing daily life.
Proper Ostomy Care:
Proper ostomy care is essential to maintain skin health and prevent complications. Follow these general guidelines:
- Cleanse the skin around the stoma with warm water and a mild, pH-neutral cleanser. Avoid using soaps or wipes that contain fragrance or alcohol, as they can irritate the skin.
- Gently pat the skin dry, avoiding rubbing or scrubbing the area.
- Use an appropriate skin barrier or protective powder to protect the skin from contact with output.
- Ensure the pouching system fits securely and comfortably, without causing pressure or leaks.
- Empty the pouch regularly to prevent overfilling and potential leakage.
- Hydration and Diet:
- Maintaining proper hydration is crucial to prevent dehydration and promote healthy output consistency. Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day, unless otherwise advised by your healthcare professional. Be mindful of your diet and make necessary adjustments to manage output consistency. Consult with a registered dietitian who specializes in ostomy care for personalized dietary recommendations.
Clothing and Accessories:
Choosing the right clothing and accessories can help increase comfort and confidence. Look for clothing with elastic waistbands or adjustable waistlines to accommodate the pouch. Some individuals prefer to wear compression undergarments or specialized ostomy belts to provide added support and discretion. Experiment with different options to find what works best for you.
Living with an ostomy does not mean you have to limit physical activity. Engage in regular exercise and activities that you enjoy. Consult with your healthcare professional or an ostomy nurse to determine any precautions or modifications required. Wearing a supportive ostomy belt during physical activity can provide added security and prevent unnecessary pouch movement.
Living with an ostomy can impact emotional well-being. It’s essential to address any emotional challenges and seek professional support if needed. Engage in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction, such as meditation, yoga, or hobbies that bring joy. Openly communicate with your loved ones about your concerns and seek their support and understanding.
Traveling and Outings:
With proper planning, traveling and participating in social outings are still possible with an ostomy. Pack necessary supplies, including extra pouches, wipes, and a change of clothes. Carry a small discreet bag to dispose of used pouches. Research restroom facilities at your destination to ensure accessibility and privacy.
Living with an ostomy, whether it’s a urostomy or colostomy, may present initial challenges, but with the right support, care, and lifestyle adjustments, individuals can lead fulfilling lives. Seek support from the ostomy community, prioritize proper ostomy care, adjust hydration and diet as needed, and engage in physical activities and social outings. Remember to address emotional well-being and seek professional help if required. With time and a positive mindset, individuals with an ostomy can adapt to their new circumstances and continue enjoying a high quality of life.