Ostomy Care

Learning how to care for your ostomy is an important piece of maintaining your quality of life. That’s why MaineHealth takes a multi-disciplinary approach to give you the best possible care.

What is an ostomy?

An ostomy is a surgically made opening in your belly that helps remove waste from your body.  Usually this waste will empty into a pouch outside the body.  An ostomy can help someone whose body can no longer get rid of waste safely or effectively. Some conditions that may require an ostomy include:

  • Some cancers, such as colon cancer or rectal cancer

  • Trauma

  • Bowel blockages

  • Crohn’s disease

An ostomy can be temporary while an organ of the body heals. Or an ostomy may be permanent, if you need to have surgery that takes out your colon or bladder. 

How is an ostomy performed?

During an ostomy surgery, a doctor will attach the end of your small or large intestine to the outside of your body. This new opening in your belly wall is called a stoma.  Your body waste will pass through the stoma into a collection system where you can then dispose of it.

Caring for your ostomy

There is a lot to learn about how to care for your ostomy. The Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses at MaineHealth are here to teach you everything you need to know. Care is available both at home and in the hospital, so you will always be able to get the help you need.

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