You are likely to be in hospital for around 5-10 days. The stoma will be swollen at first, but the swelling will go down in the weeks after surgery. You will be encouraged to begin looking after your stoma as soon as possible – but don’t worry, the stoma nurses and ward staff will help you at first. They will teach you how to manage it yourself before you are discharged so that you are able to take care of your stoma at home.
Everyone is different, but you should be back to your normal activity levels 6-8 weeks after your surgery, and be completely recovered by 3 months. You can probably start driving 6-8 weeks after surgery. Make sure you feel completely better before returning to work as you may find you are too tired or find it difficult to concentrate if you return too soon. It takes around 3 months for your abdominal muscles to heal completely, so wait until after then to lift or carry anything heavier than a kettle.
You can find advice on how to dress, foods to eat and avoid, what to do when you go on holiday and other tips to help with everyday life here.
Adjusting to your pouch needs to happen over a period of time – everyone is different but it is not unusual for it to take a year or more to adapt completely. Remember you are not alone and that your stoma nurse has a wealth of experience in helping stoma patients and will know exactly what you are going through. You can also find a sympathetic ear and some practical advice from our freephone Careline. Call 0800 585 125 if you are a new customer, or 0800 318 965 if you already use our home delivery service and would like some further advice.