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Surgery can improve your life. Depending upon your needs, the surgery will remove the part of your bladder (urostomy), small intestine (ileostomy), or large intestine (colostomy) that is too damaged by your medical condition to recover on its own.

During the procedure, your surgeon will also create a stoma, an opening on the outside of your abdomen for waste materials to leave your body. Your ostomy will, in most cases, improve your general health and get you back to living a full life.

What is an ostomy?

When you have ostomy surgery, an opening called a stoma is created in the abdomen (belly).

Your stoma provides an alternate way for waste materials to leave your body. The location of the stoma depends upon the type of surgery you need.

There are many common reasons for an ostomy, including:2

  • Colon, bladder or rectal cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Inherited conditions, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (a type of colorectal cancer passed down through families)
  • Birth anomalies
  • Penetrative wounds and other trauma to the abdomen
  • Spina bifida or other congenital conditions
  • Obstruction of the ureter

Depending on the disease or wound, an ostomy may be temporary (to allow for healing and a return to normal elimination) or permanent.2 Your doctor will tell you whether your ostomy will be temporary or permanent.

There are 3 primary types of Ostomy Surgery

If you are having a colostomy or ileostomy, you will lose voluntary control of your bowel movements. If you are having a urostomy, you will not be able to control urination. These elimination processes will be contained by a discreet pouching system attached to your abdomen. Different pouching systems are available for different lifestyle needs.

It is very important to take proper care of your stoma and to make sure your pouching system fits correctly. Select your type of surgery above to learn:

  • What to expect and how to care for your stoma
  • How to deal with the passage of body waste through your stoma
  • How to care for the skin that surrounds the stoma, in order to avoid skin irritation and complications
  • How your chosen pouching system fits into your daily life