Everything You Need to Know About Ostomies

Ostomy Care

Ostomy surgery can occur as a result of a medical condition including cancer, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and more.  Depending on the severity of the condition, an ostomy can either be temporary or permanent. Whether you’re about to get an ostomy, looking for help taking care of yours, or are learning on behalf of a family member, Agility Health is here to provide everything you need to know.

What Are Ostomies?

The term “ostomy” dates back to the 1950s, and means, “a surgical operation making a permanent opening in the body,” as per the Online Etymology Dictionary. Today, ostomies refer to a change in the way waste (urine or stool) leaves the body due to a surgical procedure. Ostomies are connected to a “stoma,” which refers to the opening created by surgery. A pouch is worn over the stoma, and it collects stool or urine as it is processed in the body as opposed to stool or urine leaving naturally. 

Reasons For an Ostomy

Ostomies are common among people that are living with digestive, urinary, and/or kidney diseases. The most common reasons for obtaining an ostomy are cancer, trauma, inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and more), bowel obstruction, infection, fecal incontinence, and diverticular disease.

Types of Ostomies

There’s a wide variety of reasons a person may obtain an ostomy, which means there are naturally many kinds of ostomies. Among them are the following:

Ileostomy

Connects the last part of the ileum, or small intestine, to the abdominal wall.

Colostomy

Connects part of the colon, or large intestine, to the abdominal wall.

Temporary

A form of ostomy that can be reversed later via surgery. These ostomies tend to be a form of ileostomy, and prevent stool from passing below the stoma site. Temporary ostomies allow for healing after surgery within the intestines, with the stoma before the area of surgery.

Permanent

A form of ostomy that remains in the body permanently. These ostomies tend to be a form of colostomy, used when parts of the rectum, anus, and/or colon have been removed due to disease or disease treatment. Additionally, if accessory body parts that control bowels no longer function, causing incontinence, a permanent ostomy can be used.

Agility Can Help

Learning how to clean stoma openings as well as ostomy pouches can be confusing, frustrating, and cumbersome for those living with other medical conditions. Establishing a routine that is effective and safe is essential for living with an ostomy, but specific direction about how and when to change the ostomy bag is not always properly provided. At Agility Health, our licensed nurses are certified to provide medical assistance that promotes stoma health. Not only do our providers offer professional and sanitary ostomy care in the convenience of your home, but they educate patients on cleaning and maintenance. In doing so, we give our patients independence and confidence to continue caring for themselves in the future – which are paramount when handling sensitive medical issues like these. 

Your Ostomy Team

Our nurses are specific to ostomy care, and you or your loved one will have access to highly trained Wound, Ostomy, and Continence (WOC) nurses and caregivers. Our services include changing ostomy bags, cleaning stomas, leakage prevention, and infection prevention. Every one of our caregivers is fully screened and licensed. Additionally, every patient has their own Agility Health personal care manager for assistance through the whole process. They supervise your in-home care team and provide assistance with hospital visits, transportation arrangements, and medical referrals. If you’re looking for ostomy care and more in-home services, call us today!