When you are in the hospital, you will be taught how to care for your stoma. Your nurse will help you find the right products and pouching system for your individual needs. You should be given enough product samples to allow you to try a variety of system types and determine which is best for you. Make sure you contact your nurse if you or your caregiver is having trouble with the equipment.
You should also know that your stoma will shrink during the months following surgery. Your ostomy nurse can help you adapt your pouching system appropriately. Additionally, any changes to your belly size (from pregnancy, weight loss/gain, exercise, etc.) may require re-sizing of your pouching system.
Questions you may want to ask
After your surgery, you may have questions about many things: diet, clothing, returning to work, intimate relations, etc. Below is a starter list of questions you may want to ask your healthcare professional before you leave the hospital, or at your post-surgery appointments:
- My stoma looks large. Will it always be this size?
- Who should I tell about my surgery?
- How active can I be after surgery?
- Should I bathe or shower with my pouch on? Do I need to use special soap?
- Will my pouch cause odor? How can I control this?
- How many times a day will I need to empty the pouch?
- What is the correct way to empty a drainable pouch?
- How long can I wear one appliance between changes?
- Where can I purchase supplies?
- Will my medical insurance cover the cost of my ostomy supplies?
Going home from the hospital
Leaving the hospital is an important milestone, but it also can cause anxiety for anyone with a new stoma. It’s normal to feel nervous about living with an ostomy, but it’s also important to remember that you are never alone.
You may find that you have many questions in the days and weeks following your surgery. During this time, you may also find that you are feeling depressed, down or angry. You may experience some frustration until you get comfortable with your pouching system. All of these feelings are perfectly normal.
Reach out to your ostomy nurse for help and encouragement. You can also contact our Customer Relations Center to ask product-related questions, or even if you just need reassurance that what you are doing is correct.