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What is Ileostomy? – Life with Ileostomy Appliances

An ileostomy is the name of a surgical opening in the abdomen of a patient. During this surgery, doctors bring a loop of the small intestine or ileum to the belly skin. Well, the hole or opening they create is called a stoma. It collects the waste of the patient’s body into a bag that is attached to the hole. This stoma is on the right side of the abdomen. When a person is unable to pass out the waste from the natural pathway, then doctors have to create an artificial track for this purpose.

Why is Ileostomy Necessary for a Person?

Well, it is obvious that when a person has some diseases or problems in excreting the waste or in the ileum, then he/she needs the ileostomy surgery. However, it is necessary when a patient has an injury in the small intestine, blockage in the ileum, the bowel does not work, cancer in the ileum, defect in the process of passing the waste from small to the large intestine, or removal of the bowel (partially or wholly).

Some diseases that need ileostomy surgery are Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, familial adenomatous polyposis, a side effect of cancer radiation treatment, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, tumor in the small intestine, dysfunction of ileum, or Hirschsprung’s disease. In a few cases, the ileostomy is temporary such as obstruction of the small intestine. When ileum heals and can perform its duties, doctors close the artificial opening and attach the ileum back to its original location.

Temporary Ileostomy and Permanent Ileostomy

Well, the duration of the ileostomy opening depends on the type of surgery. It has two main types: permanent ileostomy and temporary ileostomy.

In some cases, a patient needs the ileostomy surgery for a few months. Thus, doctors create a stoma in the abdomen but keep the lower portion as it is for future reattachment of the ileum. Once the internal organs, ileum, and stoma heal, and the small intestine can perform its function, then surgeons reattach the ileum to the colon and close the stoma. But, for permanent ostomates, it is impossible to bring back the ileum to its original position. They have to use an artificial path for the excretion purpose. The type of surgery depends on the seriousness of the illness and the capabilities of the small intestine.

Life of a Patient with Ileostomy Appliances

Well, ileostomy brings a few tools along with it. Therefore, a patient has to welcome an opening in the abdomen plus some appliances. These are some necessary things for the ostomate and stoma. Well, the first equipment is an ostomy bag or pouch. Every ostomate needs this. The stoma pouch collects the waste ileum passes to the opening. A person can wear it with their own hands. However, an ostomate has to learn about the ostomy tools from the nurse or doctor in the hospital. Well, your healthcare team will guide you about the pouch, skin barrier, flanges, and adhesive when you will be in the hospital.

Once you are home, you will have to change and wear the tools on your own. The stoma pouch comes in two forms and that is a one-piece ostomy pouching system and two-piece ostomy pouching system. These appliances are waterproof. A person can live his life freely with the stoma bag and other appliances. It does not irritate a patient. Of course, you will face some changes and issues in the initial days, but by the time, you will get used to the new normal life. The key to the happy ostomy life is you should know which type of pouching system is suitable for you and when to empty and change the stoma pouch.