Colostomy

General

A colostomy is created by bringing part of the large intestine (colon) through the abdominal wall. The location of the stoma depends on which part of the colon is used to create the stoma. A “Sigmoid” colostomy is usually on the lower left side of the abdomen. A “transverse” colostomy is higher on the abdomen and can be on the left, right or in the middle. If part of the rectum remains after surgery, it is possible that the colostomy may be temporary. The output from a colostomy will be pasty to soft-formed, and the pouch will need to be emptied 1 to 3 times per day.

Recovery

The stoma will begin to function on the third or fourth post-op day for a transverse colostomy, and on the fifth day for a Sigmoid colostomy. Output will be pasty to soft-formed. Your stoma will be swollen at first and will eventually shrink to its final size in 6 to 8 weeks. Avoid lifting until your doctor approves it because it can easily cause a hernia.

Dietary Modifications

For the first 6 to 8 weeks after surgery, avoid high fiber foods because your intestines may be swollen. After that, there are usually no restrictions. You may want to be conscious of which foods cause more gas and odor.

Pouching

Drainable or closed end, filter to help with gas.