Did your doctor just announce that you will be undergoing a colostomy surgery soon? You don’t have to be dejected and it is not the end of life.
You will need to prepare yourself for what lies ahead, intimate yourself with colostomy surgery and even how do colostomy belts work.
Colostomy is considered as the next best step when the rectum, colon or anus is damaged or diseased and unable to fulfill its function in fecal discharge.
The colon is part of the large intestine and functions in the reabsorption of water, nutrients and electrolytes from fecal discharge to meet body needs.
But when any of this organ is damaged, you will be unable to pass stool through the normal discharge pathway. Hence a stoma (opening) is made to provide a pathway from the colon to the surface of the abdomen so as to enable the body to get rid of wastes. This opening from the colon is called Colostomy and it could either be permanent or temporary.
Now let’s intimate you with both the temporary and permanent colostomies.
A colostomy is deemed permanent or temporary depending on the location of the stoma, if the stoma is located on a lower part of the gastrointestinal tract requires rest. It is therefore kept empty by making a stoma to prevent feces from reaching there which allows it to heal.
Findings show it may take a couple of weeks, a few months or even years for the GIT to heal before the colostomy is removed and the feces start passing through the anus.
This is the complete opposite of temporary, here the colostomy is not removed ever. This is because the gastrointestinal tract is never expected to heal, maybe because it is diseased or requires to be removed completely.
But how do you know if you are undergoing a permanent or temporary colostomy. The usual practise is to understand the cause of your ailment in the first place. Here are a few possible reasons why you may want to undergo colostomy. These include:
- A sustained injury to the colon, rectum or anus.
- If the Gastrointestinal tract is partially or completely blocked.
- If a baby is born with defects like a blocked anal opening or in some cases, a completely missing anal opening, this is also called an imperforate anus.
- Serious infections like diverticulitis (inflammation of little sacs on the colon)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Rectal or colon cancer, and so on.
But are there any risks to undergoing a colostomy surgery? Yes there are but the fact is, many authorities view this colostomy procedure as totally uncomplicated and safe because the patient is usually operated after being subjected to doses of anaesthesia so he or she will feel no pain while the surgery lasts.
Risks of Colostomy:
- Because the patient is operated under the influence of anesthesia, he or she may experience breathing problems or poor reactions to medications.
- Internal bleeding
- Prolapse of the colostomy: prolapse is the abnormal lengthening of the colostomy usually caused by the surgical procedure, obesity, pregnancy and so on.
- Damage to other body organs
- Scar tissues that blocks the digestive tract
- Skin irritation
- Wound opening
- Hernia: this is a condition that occurs when the internal organ pushes out of the colostomy. They are the most common types of complication in colostomy and are often a result of pressure build in the abdomen. Maybe due to chronic coughing, sudden weight gain or fluid buildup.
And lastly understand that colostomy does not make you incapapcitated or less of a complete human being. It is just another life saving surgery that must be done.