Updated: Dec 5, 2022
A colostomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of one end of the large intestine through an opening (an ostomy) in the left side of the abdominal wall. One end of the large intestine forms a stomata through an incision in the abdominal wall during this process.
A stoma is a skin opening to which a bag is attached to collect feces. Colostomy bags are attached to the sides of patients who have a long-term or temporary colostomy for the collection and disposal of feces.
A colostomy bag is a plastic bag that is attached to the patient's side and is used to collect stools from the abdomen via an opening (stoma). Patients must use it following surgery. It can be difficult to select a colostomy bag for the first time after surgery. Here are some things to think about when using a colostomy bag.
Consult with your Nurse
Patients who are receiving their first colostomy bag following surgery should consult with an ostomy nurse about the best fit for your situation in terms of size, shape (telescoping, retracting, flushing), and peristomal skin anatomy.
When choosing a colostomy bag, look for one that is resistant to odor; this is an important factor to consider when purchasing a colostomy bag. Obtaining an odor-resistant bag will boost the patient's confidence when out in public.
A bag that is impossible to notice under clothes
Patients with a colostomy can still walk around and do normal leisure activities like running, dancing, jogging etc. To avoid attracting unwanted attention, it is best to get a colostomy bag that is difficult to notice under clothing.
A Leakproof Seal
When choosing a colostomy bag, choose the most reliable pouch system. Get a bag with a leak-proof seal that can last up to three days. That gives the patient confidence that there will be few unwanted leaks while the device is in use.
One-piece and two-piece Colostomy Bag
You must replace the entire unit with a one-piece colostomy system. While a two-piece system only requires changing the wafer, the entire bag requires fewer changes. If there is a leak from beneath the wafer, you will need to replace the bag/wafer.
Patients need frequent bag replacement during the first few weeks after surgery. Replacement is recommended every two days or more. Do not use the same colostomy bag for more than 7 days. This is undesirable and has side effects.
After receiving your colostomy bag, your ostomy nurse will advise you to watch what you eat in the days following surgery. The patient must follow the diet instructions to avoid irritating the abdomen and causing bag leakage.
Finding the right colostomy bag for your particular lifestyle and stoma condition improves your quality of life as a colostomy patient.