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Many people in the UK grow up with stomas
Approximately 102,000 people in the United Kingdom have a stoma and around 21,000 new ones are formed every year. It's a misconception that stomas are only formed in elderly people - many stomas are required by those who are much younger, including babies and children.
Most stomas in babies and children are temporary, but not always - there are a large number of medical circumstances that could cause need for a stoma. Sometimes it's felt that a permanent stoma would be best because of the relief from symptoms it can offer. Other times, complications during surgery when the stoma is formed may mean that it can't be reversed.
Advice for parents and carers
It can be difficult to see your little one undergo stoma surgery. You may feel worried and anxious about your child's needs or how their stoma will impact their life as they grow.
There will be a learning curve for you and your family as you learn new skills to treat your child's medical condition but it's important to remember that there is support available. Your Stoma Care Nurse can provide advice and support, as well as your child's doctor. Sometimes Stoma Care Nurses are able to provide training to school nurses so, when it's time for your little one to go to school and if you're worried about their ability to self-care, it might be worthwhile contacting your Stoma Care Nurse to see if this can be arranged.
More advice and support for parents or carers of children growing up with a stoma can be found throughout this section.
Advice for teenage ostomates
Becoming a teenager can be hard at the best of times, with your body changing: having a stoma can make things even harder. It's important to remember that you are not alone (just re-read those statistics on the number of new UK ostomates each year!). If you're growing up with a stoma, this information may be helpful to you.