Generated by Clearspace on 2008-09-04-04:00
Coping With Colostomy
Coping With Colostomy By Diane Griffith, HealthAtoZ writer
Your recovery is difficult enough to handle. When you're also dealing with a colostomy, the
changes in your life can seem overwhelming.
How do you adjust to this new way of life? Like any serious life change, it takes time and
patience. And yes, it can be difficult and, at times, inconvenient. But many people have
learned how to deal with colostomies so they can continue to travel, socialize with family and
friends and do the things they love doing.
What is colostomy?
Colostomy is an opening into the colon from outside of the body. It provides a new path
for waste material to leave the body after part of the colon has been removed. Some
colostomies are temporary and can be reversed after your bowel has healed. In these
cases, the bowel is not removed, but instead temporarily sewn up. Other colostomies are
permanent, usually the result of colon or rectal disease. Cancer, diverticulitis and other
conditions can create the need for colostomy. A pouch - also called a colostomy bag - is
worn over the abdominal opening to collect wastes. This opening, called a stoma, is usually
located on your left side, just below the belt line.
With a colostomy, you can no longer control the passing of wastes, since you have no
muscle control over the stoma. Gas, diarrhea and constipation can cause embarrassment.
The best way to avoid these problems is to watch your diet. Avoid carbonated beverages
(especially with meals) and foods like beans, nuts, peas and chocolate to help prevent gas.
Also, chew food slowly to avoid swallowing air.
Too many spicy foods, fruits and greens can cause diarrhea. So can things like dark
chocolate and beer. Anxiety and stress can also have an effect. A large, drainable colostomy
pouch is usually the best solution. Check with your doctor if diarrhea persists.
Such foods as celery, nuts, eggs and rice can lead to constipation. Exercise, as well as fruit