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FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

OSTOMY

Here you can find the answers to some frequently asked questions about ostomy appliances and living with a stoma.

Most people probably won't be able to notice that you have a stoma unless you tell them, and with time and experience you will be able to determine which clothes are best suited to “cover up” your ostomy system.

To avoid unpleasant odours and possible accidents with your stoma, it is also very important to properly use the ostomy system and to change it regularly. If you empty the bag in time, then it should not be visible under the clothes.

The fact that ostomy systems and accessories are designed to be discreet and practical.

 

After postoperative recovery, your stoma should not prevent you from doing any kind of work. However, if your job involves significant physical effort, consult your doctor and your stoma therapist to avoid any problems.

There is no answer to this question that applies to every person. When and to whom you should tell that you have a stoma is your personal decision. Your closest people will probably know about it, and when you feel the need, you can also tell others if you feel that it would be better if they knew it.

In some cases, concealing the stoma can be challenging and impractical — for example, if your job involves changing in a common locker room.

In practice, it might be easier if people who are close to you and your colleagues know about it. In this way, unpleasant situations can be avoided and the stress of wondering: What if they find out? In any case, don't rush, share your ostomy story with others when you feel it’s necessary and when you feel confident enough.

As a rule, you can practice most of the sports and other physical activities that you have before. You can, for example, hike, run, play tennis, cycle and even swim because ostomy systems are waterproof.

However, contact sports require additional caution as accidents are always possible, and depending on your specific case, your doctor may also advise you to avoid them. The same applies to weightlifting, so it is best to consult a doctor before engaging in that activity. 

It is important that you recover from the procedure first and that you return to physical activities gradually, listening to the advice of health professionals.

Once you have recovered from the procedure, you can, as a rule, continue to have intimate relationships. However, ostomy can affect your impression of your own body at first, which will consequently also affect your intimate life. Your stoma will probably look foreign to your body until you get used to it over time.

Open communication with your partner is very important for intimacy after ostomy, it can encourage you and make it easier for you to get used to your new state.

Ostomy doesn't stop you from traveling. However, when traveling, you must make sure that you always have enough ostomy bags and other accessories you use. It is also advisable to take a larger amount of accessories than you normally need for the same period at home.

A stoma can have different shapes (usually round or oval), and should be reddish, moist and shiny. In weeks and months after surgery, your stoma will gradually decrease to its typical size. However, later it can sometimes change its size and shape, for example if you lose or gain weight.

The stoma contains many blood vessels, so a small degree of bleeding when performing skin and stoma care is not unusual. If you notice traces of blood somewhere, gently lay a clean and dry towel on that part. Once the bleeding stops, you can continue with stoma care and a new ostomy system. However, if you notice that the bleeding is abundant, does not stop and lasts for a long time or comes from the inside of the stomach, you must contact your doctor immediately.

It usually takes a few weeks of recovery after ostomy surgery for a person to start driving a car again. It is certainly important that you recover enough to be able to meet all the requirements of safe driving. As the answer to this question depends on your specific case and the duration of your recovery, it is best to consult your doctor and/or stoma therapist about driving.

Although you can return to your usual diet after recovery, in the weeks after the procedure you should follow special instructions regarding diet given to you by your stoma therapist. In the transitional period after the procedure, it is typically recommended to have a low-fibre diet to allow the gastrointestinal tract to recover.  

With urostomy, there are generally changes in diet compared to the pre-operative period.

Since ostomy is a serious intervention, it is understandable that you are wondering how it will affect your satisfaction with life. The recovery period can be challenging and involves issues that inevitably affect your adaptation to the new situation.

Although each case is specific and therefore cannot be generalised, many people still notice improvements in the quality of life after postoperative recovery, especially if they no longer have symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Ostomy is always a process that seeks to save people’s lives or alleviate a person’s serious health problems. Therefore, although ostomy surgery is undoubtedly a significant change for you and your family, it is also a procedure that ultimately brings important improvements to your life.

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