What to expect after a colostomy?
March 9, 2007 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Resources for a family member who will soon be getting a colostomy?

A family member, in his 60s, will probably be getting a colostomy in the next month or two. He's had severe ulcerative colitis for several years that's not been alleviated by other surgeries or medications, so this will be permanent. I have found this from the United Ostomy Association; any other recommendations for quality websites (not message boards/mailing lists) and books would be great - many of the books I've seen on Amazon seem to date from the early or mid-90s, but I assume there have been advances in procedures and equipment since then. Thanks!
posted by fizzyliftingdrink to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My aunt's just had a permanent colostomy installed as well, so while I can't offer an answer, let it be said that I'm also interested in answers.

(Although from what the surgeon told me, there really haven't been too many radical advancements in the colostomy field in a long time...)
posted by mykescipark at 4:04 PM on March 9, 2007

Check with the hospital where your family member will be having surgery. They most likely will have a ostomy support group.

Is your family member a candidate for a J-pouch? There are alternatives to colostomy, even if the entire colon is damaged.
posted by LoriFLA at 4:23 PM on March 9, 2007

Lori - I believe his previous surgery (6+ years ago) did create a J Pouch (it's hard to get precise info from him - he's extremely reluctant to talk in detail, and also reluctant to get details from his doctor or contact a support group - but the description of the J Pouch sounds like what was done surgically at that time). He still has a lot of discomfort, cannot sleep well at night because he has to go to the bathroom so frquently (every few hours), etc. I don't know if this is pouchitis, anal fistulas, etc. (see above about not being able to get precise info!), but from what I can gather, the colostomy seems to be the only further option available to him.
posted by fizzyliftingdrink at 4:45 PM on March 9, 2007

I got all of these links from the Medline Plus page on ostomies:

- Adapting to life after colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy from the Mayo Clinic
- Ostomy Self-Care and Food and Your Stoma, both from Greenwich Hospital
- Colostomy tutorial from the National Library of Medicine (Flash)
- Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America

Is this the kind of information you're looking for? If you have more specific questions, I am glad to look for more information.
posted by Siobhan at 5:36 PM on March 9, 2007

This book is the best one I have come across for non-intimidating information about stomas and surgeries. Very helpful and thorough - highly recommended.

Also, shortly before or after his surgery, he will probably likely receive lots of information from his ET/ostomy nurse who will also be able to answer any questions he or his family have.
posted by raxast at 5:53 PM on March 9, 2007

Oh, and most of the surgical advancements have been in regard to creating j-pouches or laparoscopic surgery. But creating a permanent ostomy is a pretty standard procedure, so information about surgeries from the last couple of decades or so is probably valid.

Bags and other ostomy supplies have advanced A LOT in recent years, but again, the best person to demonstrate all that stuff would be an ET nurse.
posted by raxast at 6:08 PM on March 9, 2007

Siobhan and raxast, thank you both for those suggstions - they look like a very helpful place to start. thanks again!
posted by fizzyliftingdrink at 11:33 AM on March 10, 2007

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