How to Care for a Colostomy

Care for a Colostomy
Care for a Colostomy

How to Care for a Colostomy. A colostomy is a surgical opening from the colon through the abdominal wall to the outside of the body. The purpose is for waste products (stool) to leave the body. A colostomy is performed for a variety of reasons including cancer, infections and certain diseases. Occasionally, the colostomy is only temporary until the colon heals and then it is reversed, but most of the time a colostomy is permanent.

Empty the colostomy drainage bag several times each day. It's best to empty the bag before it gets too full to prevent leaks and spills.

Remove the old colostomy bag by detaching it carefully from the skin every four to six days and discard it.

Thoroughly clean the skin around the stoma and dry thoroughly. The skin around the stoma where the bag is attached is very tender and must be kept clean and dry.

Apply antibiotic powder as directed to the skin around the stoma to help prevent irritation and yeast infection.

Replace the skin barrier disk or paste to the tender skin around the stoma.

Attach a new colostomy bag carefully over the stoma.

Order ostomy supplies to be delivered as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • The stoma is the surgical opening in the abdominal wall where the waste is passed outside the body into the colostomy bag.
  • In about three to six days after surgery, the colostomy will start functioning. The nurse or enterostomal therapist (E.T.) will teach the patient and a close family member how to care for the colostomy.
  • Order ostomy supplies as needed and directed by your physician.

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