Friday, July 15, 2016


During your lifetime, you or your loved one may experience a health condition that requires you to have an ostomy.  We are sure you have heard of a “colostomy” at some point or another.  In general, an ostomy is created by a making surgical opening (stoma) from the inside of the body to the outside in order for wastes to adequately exit the body if the intestinal function is compromised.  Ostomies can either be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause.  An ostomy definitely is not the ideal elimination system, however sometimes we do what we have to do.

The main focus of this article is on ostomies in the abdominal area, which include:

·         Ileostomy – a surgical opening into the ileum (the third portion of the small intestine) to drain stool.
·         Colostomy – a surgical opening into the large intestine to drain stool.

An ileostomy is generally performed when the entire colon must be removed due to disease, such as Crohn’s disease, which targets and disrupts the functioning of the bowel.  Whereas a colostomy is performed when a portion of the bowel must be removed or requires rest for healing purposes.  For example, a colostomy may be indicated if colon cancer causes a portion of the intestine to be removed, or if the bowels need rest to heal from a condition such as diverticulitis or from a traumatic situation.

Your healthcare provider will have decided which ostomy is the best choice for you based upon your condition and to the extent that it is affecting your health.  It is important that you are educated and you fully understand the procedure before your ostomy is created.  Your health care provider should take into account how ready you are for the procedure, how well you understand what the procedure involves, and your support system for after the procedure should also be evaluated so that you continue to receive the best care possible for the time period you have your ostomy in place.   

Total Home Health has a program with professional staff that is waiting for you today!  We have highly-trained individuals who have numerous of combined years of ostomy experience in order to take care of you or your loved one without any worries.  There are some very important factors that come into play when managing your ostomy that we encourage and would like to share with you, including:

·         Continuously monitoring for leakage around your stoma in order to keep the surrounding skin clean, dry and intact so open areas do not form on your skin…because if stool were to get into an open wound, it could be a huge infection risk!
·         Monitor the stoma and make sure it remains pink in color, and moist at all times.  If it were to turn dark red or purple…it will most likely require invasive medical attention.
·         Before applying a new appliance with each change, you should apply skin barrier and adhesive paste so that the new appliance will have a decreased chance of breaking loose and causing leaks.
·         The output from the stoma should always be monitored for certain characteristics depending upon where it is located.
·         Always empty the ostomy bag when it is ¼ to ½ full of waste.
·         Be aware that certain foods can cause increased odor (fish, eggs, asparagus, garlic, beans, and dark green leafy vegetables).
·         Be aware also that certain foods can cause increased gas (dark green leafy vegetables, beer, carbonated beverages, dairy products, corn), you can consume extra yogurt in order to cut down on some gas.
·         Ensuring that your appliance system fits your stoma well will prevent excess odor when the drainage bag is not open.  There are filters and deodorizers you can use, or even placing a breath mint into the pouch can minimize the odor while the pouch has to be open.

Overall, Total Home Health professionals are ready to take your care into our hands today.  Invite us into your home and allow us to help manage your ostomy.  Throughout the entire journey we will be attentive to any changes that could place risks on your health.  We will report any changes right away for immediate medical interventions in order to always adjust your care to keep you as safe and healthy as possible.  The education and support we provide for you will be ongoing and we will always encourage you to express any thoughts, feelings and/or concerns you may have.  Enroll with our one-of-a-kind programs today and you will not be disappointed in the professional care you receive day in and day out.

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