Ostomy

The word Ostomy is a descriptive word that refers to surgically opening the body to allow a different pathway for waste to be removed. Ostomy is a suffix. The word in front of ostomy describes the location of the surgical cut. Understanding medical prefixes and suffixes help you know exactly what the doctor is going to do. When explaining things to us, doctors tend to use these big words. Most of the time the words are not as difficult as we think if we know the meanings of each part. Just by understanding the word ostomy, you will know what type of procedure the doctor is going to perform.

When the doctor says he is going to perform some type of ostomy, I’m sure your eyes get big. Your first question may be what does that entail? Your second question may be what part of the body are you going to work on? These are both valid questions. An ostomy is a surgical procedure that deals specifically with the organs of the digestive or urinary system. Typically ostomies help treat diseases of both the digestive and urinary tracts. There are several different types of ostomies. Whenever you are talking about an ostomy, you have to talk about a stoma because an ostomy creates a stoma. The ostomy is the actual cut made, and the stoma is the opening made from the cut. The cut is for the purpose of expelling body waste.  

An ostomy can be temporary or permanent. When you are dealing with certain types of diseases, you will have to have an ostomy to reroute the waste that comes out of your body. This can be urinary waste or bowel waste. Part of the intestine may be diseased or cut away causing you to need an ostomy. You may also have problems with a diseased bladder. Some of the most common diseases that require an ostomy include cancer of the bladder or colon, inflammatory bowel diseases, blockages in the bowel or urinary tract, and ulcers.  Any bowel related ostomy typically puts part of the intestine through a stoma in the abdomen. Instead of waste removal through the rectum, it comes through the abdomen. In every ostomy procedure, the doctor adds a pouch. The pouch collects the waste and covers the stoma.

Types of Pouches

There are two different types of pouches used. The pouches are either one-piece pouches or two-piece pouches. Both pouches have a protective barrier that prevents the waste from touching the skin. The one-piece pouch connects the skin barrier to the pouch. Whenever it is time to change the pouch, you have to change the skin barrier as well. The two-piece pouch separates the pouch from the skin barrier. Unlike the one-piece pouch, when you are changing it, you do not have to change the skin barrier. The pouches can either be closed or drainable.

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There are several different types of ostomies. One of the most common types of ostomies is a colostomy. A colostomy requires the redirection of the large intestines through the abdominal wall. This creates a bypass for waste. It avoids the rectum and anus. Ileostomy procedures require the redirection of the end of the small intestine. This procedure allows waste to avoid the colon altogether. A urostomy is different because it deals with the bladder. A urostomy takes the urethra tubes and connects them with a stoma. This procedure allows urine to avoid the bladder altogether. Sometimes these procedures can be temporary and allow redirection only when other parts are healing or in need of rest. Permanent ostomies typically happen because the parts of the urinary or digestive tract are removed. If you have no bladder, you will always need a pouch to catch the urine. If parts of the rectum or anus are removed, a pouch is needed to catch waste.

What to expect

Any ostomy surgery can be nerve-racking for you, but understanding the procedure can put you at ease. An ostomy is simply a redirection of parts of the bowel or urinary system into a pouch. Having a pouch can be uncomfortable at first. As you get used to it, you will realize you can do all the things you previously did. You do not have to stop the physical activity because of the pouch. You also do not have to change your eating habits. After recovering, you can go back to work. Most people will not even know you had an ostomy unless you tell them. Life does not stop because of ostomy surgery. After you heal, you can go about your normal activities.

Understanding the word ostomy helps you understand the upcoming procedure. The thoughts of having parts of your bowel or urinary system coming out of your body can be scary. You may think your life is over. The good news is that after healing, you can go back to your normal activities. You do not have to be embarrassed about the procedure because most people will not even know you had it. If you are in need of an ostomy hopefully getting all the facts about it will help ease your mind about the process.   

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