There are approximately 102,000 people in the United Kingdom with a stoma, and around 21,000 new ones are formed every year.
Dealing with your child’s stoma may be challenging at first but don’t worry − it will soon become part of your daily routine and there is a lot of support available.
Your stoma nurse will be able to answer any questions you have and show you where to find more information if you need it.
The word ‘stoma’ comes from the Greek word meaning ‘mouth’ or ‘opening’. The three main kinds of stoma are colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy.
Simplified diagram of the digestive system
A colostomy is an opening created in the colon (the large intestine),(3) diverting it outside the body, often on the left hand side of the torso. This can be necessary if part of the rectum (4) and/or colon needs to be removed or bypassed. Waste matter (faeces) comes out of the stoma and collects in a stoma pouch that is attached around it.
The surgeon will move the end of the ileum (part of the small intestine) (2) to the surface of the abdomen – the end of the ileum is the stoma.
Instead of being passed via the bladder, urine is diverted to come out via a stoma on the outside of the body. A watertight pouch is fitted over the stoma to collect the urine.
It is important to remember that there aren't any nerves that feel pain in the stoma. Although the stoma may look red/dark pink and raw, and may even bleed, your baby or small child will not feel any pain in the stoma. See a stoma nurse if bleeding persists, if there is blood coming from inside the stoma, or if there is blood in the stoma bag.