It’s estimated one in 500 people in the UK live with a stoma (or ostomy) – a surgical opening made in the skin as a way for urine and faeces to leave the body.
It often has a bag attached to it to collect the waste, which people then have to manually empty.
There are many reasons why a person might need one: they might have had cancer or a bowel obstruction, or they could be living with a condition like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
There are three different types of stomas: those which allow waste to leave from the intestines are called an ileostomy or colostomy, while a urostomy allows waste to leave the bladder.
Regardless of the type of ostomy a person has, it can be difficult to come to terms with this new addition to the body – especially when, as a society, we place so much value on appearance.
Many people with ostomies agree that greater awareness and understanding from the wider public is needed to help them feel more comfortable. To do just that, here are nine things they want you to know.
1. It can be hard to adjust to life with a stoma.
Fiona Munro had a stoma fitted after undergoing intensive treatment for ovarian cancer. She said that immediately after surgery it was hard to come to terms with: “It felt like the final shred of dignity I had left had been removed.
“I no longer had control over my bodily functions. In a ‘normal’ body you are able to control when you poo using the muscles in your anus. Your colon, however, doesn’t have muscles that you can consciously control. So if you have a stoma your body excretes waste whenever it wants. Any time. Any place. No warning. No control.”
But over time, things improved.
“Whilst it was hard to come to terms with at first, I began to realise that this was a result of life enhancing surgery,” she wrote in a blog post on HuffPost UK. “Would I, if given the chance, turn back time and say ‘no wait actually could you just leave that cancer in my bowel I’d rather not have a stoma’? Hell no!”
2. Travelling light is a thing of the past.
Paul Silver, 34, from Enfield, London, says there are certain things you begin to miss when you have an ostomy bag fitted, including being able …read more
Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Tec