09 Oct Enjoy life with your colostomy!
By: Fernanda Grou, specialized nurse in stomatherapy at the Local Health Unit in Baixo Alentejo
Performing a colostomy is a difficult thing! To clarify your doubts and fears, you can count on the collaboration of the stoma nurse, who will support you throughout the adaptation process. In a simple way, I leave you some advice that I believe will help you get back on with your life.
To prevent complications, you should take care of your colostomy and peristomal skin, properly remove the device, perform good hygiene and take advantage of this moment to proceed to a closer look at the stoma (color, moisture, shape, size and the existence of injuries) and peristomal skin and, finally, put the device on, ensuring that it fits to the stoma to prevent leakage.
A colostomy is the externalization in the abdomen of a part of the large intestine to eliminate feces. Let’s talk about your daily routine and some adaptations that will allow you to keep up your day-to-day activities.
You must maintain personal hygiene habits and take a shower normally, the devices guarantee adhesion even when exposed to water and heat, in the end dry the device with the towel. The decision to remove the device atthe time of the shower is yours, but pay attention to the water temperature and do not focus the water jet on the colostomy, as it can cause bleeding.
Regarding the diet, you shoul gradually reintroduce food in small quantities, which will allow you to identify those that cause discomfort or change in your stool. You should have a balanced and varied diet, eat 5 to 6 small meals throughout the day, chew your food well, try to keep to meal times, in order to regulate the functioning of your intestines and ingest at least 1.5 liters of water, while throughout the day.
You can wear the clothes you were wearing before the colostomy, avoiding wearing tight clothes or the waistband of your pants / skit and / or belt beign on the colostomy, as it may cause an injury.
Returning to work depends on your physical and emotional conditions, remember that with small adaptations you can return to your daily routine. Avoi making great efforts and carrying weights, to reduce the risk of prolapses and hernias!
Sex is part of life, but the presence of a stoma and the change on body image can impact your sexuality and intimacy. The stoma therapist nurse can help you and your partner, guiding them to another health prefessional so that, together, they can overcome the difficulties experienced, both physically and psychologically and be able to adapt to the new condition. Keep in mind that it may take some time for things to get back to normal, keep a positive attitude!
If you like walking and traveling, you ca resume these activities as soon as you feel confident with your colostomy, justtake care and take enough ostomy material with you to have a smooth holiday.
It has multiple benefits as soon as it is recovered, and, according to your preference, you can walk, run, swim, ride a bike, avoiding sports that require physical contact, as thet can cause adbominal trauma. Pay attention to humidity, sweat and heat as they can change the stickiness of the device and reduce the time of use.
Remember, you are much more than your colostomy, it was performed to help you live and count on the collaboration of your stoma nurse whenever you need it! BE HAPPY and enjoy life!