Home > Living with a stoma > You are a colostomate

You are a colostomate

A colostomy is a surgically created opening in the colon through the abdomen. It takes the role of eliminating waste from the bowel.

Why might you have a colostomy?

There are different reasons that can lead to someone needing a stoma. The main reasons are:
  • cancer
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • familial polyposis syndrome
  • trauma
  • congenital defects

A colostomy can be a permanent procedure or a temporary one.

There are 2 main types of colostomies, right transverse colostomies and left colostomies, both of which can be either temporary or permanent.

Temporary colostomy

After a trauma or surgery, a part of your colon may need time to heal and therefore a temporary colostomy might be needed. In this case the continuity of the bowel is not interrupted as the stoma is a continuity of the digestive tract. Often a loop stoma is created-meaning that a mobile loop of the bowel is brought to the abdominal wall and maintained on the surface.

Note that the rod is usually removed, a painless matter, after 10 days and that your temporary stoma will be removed after 3 to 6 months. The operation to close the stoma will not usually involve opening up your scar;

Permanent colostomy

If you have a permanent colostomy you will most likely have to change your appliance one to three times a day.
Eating regular healthy meals will help your stoma settle into a pattern of working within  a month at home.

Colostomate patient guide