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What is Ostomy?

An Ostomy is a surgical procedure creating an opening in the body for the discharge of body wastes. Certain diseases of the bowel or urinary tract involve removing all or part of the intestine or bladder. This creates a need for an alternate way for feces or urine to leave the body. An opening is surgically
created in the abdomen for body wastes to pass through. The surgical procedure is called an ostomy. The opening that is created at the end of the bowel or ureter is called a stoma, which is pulled through the abdominal wall.

There are various types of ostomies

Types of ostomies include Colostomy: (colon + ostomy); Ileostomy: (ileum + ostomy); Continent Ileostomy; Continent Urostomy; Ileoanal Reservoir

Colostomy: (colon + ostomy) a surgical procedure where part of the large intestine or colon is removed with the result that the rectum is no longer functional. An opening is surgically created on the abdomen and the end portion of the colon is brought through the opening to the surface of the abdomen. The part of the colon or bowel that protrudes is called a stoma. A person with a colostomy has no control over bowel movements, so a pouch will need to be worn over the stoma to collect the stool. The stoma may be located on the right side of the abdomen (ascending colostomy), in the center (transverse colostomy), or on the left side (descending or sigmoid colostomy). to collect stool. A temporary colostomy is created in cases where the diseased portion of the colon is allowed to heal while the functional colon continues to work. Sometimes, this is called a “double barrel” ostomy.

Ileostomy: (ileum + ostomy) a surgical procedure where the entire large intestine is removed and the end of the small intestine or ileum is brought through an opening to the surface of the abdomen. The part of the ileum that protrudes is called a stoma. A person with an ileostomy has no control over
bowel movements, so a pouch will need to be worn over the stoma to collect the stool. If the rectum is also diseased, it is removed. Sometimes, however, the rectum is left in place in the event that a re- connection is planned or possible in the future (see below: Ileonanal Reservoir).

Urostomy or Ileal Conduit or Urinary Diversion: Three names for the same thing! This surgical procedure involves the removal of the diseased bladder and the formation of a stoma to divert urine into an external pouch worn on the surface of the abdomen. The surgeon takes a six to eight inch piece of the small intestine (ileum) to form a conduit for the urine. The ileum, where the short length was removed, is then reconnected. The short length of the small intestine is now reassigned to act as a “tube” or conduit to carry urine instead of feces. One end of this conduit is sewn closed and the other end is brought out to the surface of the abdomen to form the stoma. The ureters from the kidneys are then grafted onto this conduit to carry the urine to the outside of the body and into the pouch.

Continent Ileostomy: A surgical procedure where the patient has lost the entire large intestine or colon and the end of the small intestine is surgically fashioned into an “internal pouch” where stool collects. This internal pouch, besides being connected to the small intestine, is also connected to the
surface of the abdomen where surgically created ‘one-way’ valves on the stoma prevent the stool from leaving the pouch. Therefore, in order to empty the pouch, one must use a special plastic tube or catheter several times a day to drain the pouch. No external pouch is required but a small absorbent
pad or cover is needed over the stoma.

Continent Urostomy: As in the case of a continent ileostomy, a portion of the small intestine is cut out and fashioned into an internal pouch to replace the bladder which has already been removed. This pouch is now the new bladder. The ureters from the kidneys are grafted onto this new bladder that will store urine. Special one-way valves are surgically constructed at the end of the internal pouch to prevent urine from leaking out. As in the case of a continent
ileostomy, a special catheter is used several times a day to empty the urine. No external pouch is required but a small absorbent pad or cover is needed over the stoma.

Ileoanal Reservoir: This surgical procedure involves the formation of a large internal pouch (similar to a continent ileostomy) except that the end of the pouch is surgically re-connected to the rectum to allow for normal controlled bowel movements. The frequency of bowel movements is greatly increased but no external pouches or absorbent pads are necessary.

How to treat Ileostomy blockage?

Symptoms: Thin, clear liquid output with foul odor; cramping abdominal pain near the stoma; decrease in amount of or dark-colored urine, abdominal and stomal swelling.

Step One: At Home

1. Cut the opening of your pouch a little larger than normal because the stoma may swell.

2. If there is stomal output and you are not nauseated or vomiting, only consume liquids such as Coke, sports drinks, or tea.

3. Take a warm bath to relax the abdominal muscles.

4. Try several different body positions, such as a knee-chest position, as it might help move the blockage forward.

5. Massage the abdomen and the area around the stoma as this might increase the pressure behind the blockage and help it to “pop out.” Most food blockages occur just below the stoma.

Step Two: If you are still blocked, vomiting, or have no stomal output for several hours:

1. Call your doctor or ET Nurse and report what is happening and what you tried at home to alleviate the problem. Your doctor or ET Nurse will give you instructions (ex., meet at the emergency room, come to the office). If you are told to go to the emergency room, the doctor or ET Nurse can call in orders for your care there.

2. If you cannot reach your ET Nurse or doctor and there is no output from the stoma, go to the emergency room immediately.

3. Important: Take this card with you to the emergency room and give it to the physician.

4. Important: Take all of your pouch supplies (eg., pouch, wafer, tail closure, skin barrier spray, irrigation sleeve etc.) Courtesy of UOAA

Intimacy after ostomy surgery - Sex and the Male Ostomate Fact Sheet

Making Love

After surgery, while you are recovering and learning to manage your ostomy, you may not experience any sexual feelings for days, weeks, or even months. On the other hand, you may begin to focus on sexual feelings while still in the hospital. You need to let your partner know what to expect from you about intimacy and sex.

Women recovering from ostomy surgery worry about many things: How they will look to themselves and if they will still be attractive to others, will there be pain, how to manage the pouch before, during and after sex. Remind yourself that your lovableness and self-worth do not depend on a body part.

If the rectum has been removed, the whole position and structure/size of your vagina may feel different. Be aware that for some women it is either uncomfortable and/or painful. Your vagina may feel too small or too tight. You may not come to orgasm the first time if things are too strange and different.

An intimate relationship is one in which it matters how well you can communicate about this intimate experience. Your partner will take the cue from you. But do not forget that your partner’s feelings are real, too, and they should not be denied any more than your own.

Potential Problems

The longer you lived with the conditions of disease process, the longer you adjusted your sexual activities to the limitation they placed on you. This will now change with some caring and sharing on both your parts. A helpful task for you now is to sort through these limitations to determine if they were from the illness or “ancient history” experiences.

Pain blocks good sexual feelings. Remember that the rectal-genital area consists of soft tissue that is rich in blood vessels and nerves; tissues like this bruise and swell easily when traumatized. They take time to heal. Another source of pain is lack of lubrication.

Most women who have experienced painful post-operative intercourse say that the pain diminishes with time, hormonal creams or lubricants, relaxation, gentle thrusting, and manual stimulation.

Factors Which Influence Sexual Intimacy

1. Desire: Sometimes you may experience little or no desire for sex. Illness and medical treatments often lower sexual desire as do pain, medication and just plain not feeling well. A change in body image and lowered self-esteem interfere with sexy feelings. Fatigue, depression, anxiety or anger is likely to dampen desire.

2. Loss and Grief: Ostomy surgery means a major change in your body. Even if your surgery has brought an end to years of illness and discomfort, or has been to cure a life-threatening disease, it still represents the loss of a natural body function. Not infrequently, grief is experienced as anger or fear.

3. Body Image: Body image is the way we see ourselves in the mirror and like to imagine our appearance. Although the change seems so great to oneself, most others do not see the ostomy as changing in any major way the person they love. Harmony within oneself precedes harmony in a relationship.

4. Medications: Drugs taken during illness and surgery may affect sexual behavior. Each person reacts individually to medication. Anesthesia can leave a person feeling off center for quite some time.

5. Surgical Procedures: If the rectum has been removed along with the colon, there may be a different sensation in the vagina during intercourse since part of its supporting structure is gone. In some women the angle of the vaginal barrel changes penetration, and orgasm may be harder to achieve. The uterus may change position, leading to difficulties in conception. If radiation therapy has been received, there may be vaginal tenderness and dryness.

Talking About Sex

It is your right to share or not to share information about your body. Sharing information about your ostomy may not be easy. If you find someone with whom you want to share a sexual relationship, then you need to decide when and how much you want to share about your operation.

Many a loving partner of an ostomate has admitted to feeling anger and resentment towards a sick mate. Such feelings are natural. Until they have been expressed and worked out, both of you may feel guilty and unlovable. There is nothing more frustrating and painful than dealing with a partner who refuses to talk about important issues in a relationship such as sex, anger, fear, rejection, or the ostomy. Going together to a professional counselor may be the answer.

Seek Professional Advice

Any sexual difficulty should be addressed by medical professionals, first your surgeon and/or an ET. Referrals may be made to gynecologist, therapist or counselors.

Intimacy after ostomy surgery - Sex and the Female Ostomate Fact Sheet

So You Have an Ostomy

Individuals with ostomies have proven that they can achieve anything they desire. An ostomy alone is not a deterrent to any activities you are otherwise capable of and that includes your social life.

Whether a person desires companionship, active participation in sex, or a serious romance leading to marriage, how one’s surgery will be accepted by a potential partner or friend is a normal concern.

Body image is the way we see ourselves in the mirror and like to imagine our appearance. Although the change seems so great to oneself, most others do not see the ostomy as changing in any major way the person they love. Harmony within oneself precedes harmony in a relationship.

Sharing the News

Whom. You can choose whom you want to tell. Sexual partners will naturally have to be told because, covered or uncovered, the stoma or pouch will be apparent during intimate moments. You should tell a prospective marriage partner, because being open and honest is important to the success of any marriage. In addition, the reaction to your disclosure gives a good indication of the person’s feelings about the whole you.

When. You can pick your time to tell but it seems better to tell early in a relationship. This not only relieves your anxiety, but also if there is an adverse reaction the letdown is not as harsh as it might be later. Most people prefer to tell at a time when there is a calm and understanding mood with their partner. Do not wait until “discovery is imminent.”

What. When you explain the surgery, do it clearly and confidently, with self-assurance. Start with a simple explanation. You need not be too detailed and technical at this point. Emphasize that this type of surgery was necessary and that managing your ostomy does not interfere with your activities and enjoyment of life.

Rejection. People do not fall in love with, or like, everyone they date. Nearly every would-be lover gets his or her share of romantic rejection. Individuals with ostomies are no exception. When you experience rejection your ostomy may seem to be the only reason for rejection; however, chances are it is really only a convenient excuse. Be sure it is rejection and not misunderstanding. Allow enough time for him, or her, to think it through.

Preparing For Sex

Just as you attend to personal hygiene when anticipating intimacy, ostomy hygiene is also important. Of course, good ostomy hygiene should always be practiced:

1. The covering for regulated or continent ostomies should always be clean and neat.

2. The pouch for other ostomies should be clean, neat and fastened securely. The pouch should be odor free and preferably opaque. If transparent, use a pouch cover.

3. Unless sex is absolutely spontaneous, the pouch should be emptied beforehand.

4. During intimacies, especially the first encounters after surgery or with a new partner, your partner may have a fear of hurting your stoma or dislodging your pouch or covering. Intercourse will not harm the ostomy nor will most positions disturb the pouch or covering.

Women can accomplish covering the pouch or stoma area by wearing a sexy shorty nightgown or crotch-less panties. Some men wear cummerbund type coverings, which encircles the midsection and the pouch can be tucked up out of the way. A pouch cover can be worn. There are many products available that can be purchased or you can make your own covering.

Physical Sexual Limitations

A physical impairment that affects genital sexual relations can occur with ostomy surgery, but people to whom this happens must realize there are also ways for them to enjoy sex, intimacy and marriage.

Extensive surgery in women may cause a physical impairment resulting in painful intercourse the first few times after surgery to remove the rectum. A decrease in clitoral feeling and possible inorgasm may occur.

Male potency can be affected by ostomy surgery because necessary surgical procedures may interfere with the nerve pathways that control the male’s ability to have an erection or to ejaculate. Every male with an ostomy should consider psychological factors before jumping to conclusions that an erectile problem is physically caused.

Any man or woman who has doubts or questions about sexual function after an operation should discuss the matter with a medical professional.

Additional Concerns

Ostomy surgery knows no demographic bounds. It also happens to people who are homosexual. The same concerns and anxieties are present in gay or lesbian relationships. Apply the same principles for coping with telling, rejection, and preparing for sex.

Since the closing of the anus may present a sexual impairment for some individuals with an ileostomy or colostomy, modifications for sexual fulfillment are necessary. The fact that a person is homosexual should be confided to the physician or surgeon if it is at all possible.

Seek Professional Advice

Any sexual difficulty should be addressed by medical professionals, first your family doctor surgeon and/or your ET. Referrals may be made to gynecologist, urologist, therapist or counselor.

Intimacy after ostomy surgery - Sex and the Single Ostomate Fact Sheet

Making Love

1. Ostomy Management: Good ostomy management is the key to establish confidence during lovemaking. The pouching system should be free of odor and leakage. Pouches should be emptied prior to lovemaking and some ostomates may wish to avoid eating or drinking anything that may give trouble. Consider opaque pouches and/or pouch covers to enhance intimacy.

2. Positions: If the pouch or other stoma covering seems to be in the way during intercourse, experiment with different positions.

3. Preparation: In addition to good ostomy management, preparation for sex is the same as it is for the non-ostomate: cleanliness, appealing nightclothes, privacy and a loving attractive manner.

Psychological Problems Following Surgery

Many sex problems that male ostomates experience after surgery may stem from psychological factors. It is often difficult to determine the difference between psychological and physical factors. If sexual difficulty should be
experienced, careful consideration of any psychological issues may help resolve the cause. Most of the following concerns apply primarily to the immediate post-operative period:

1. Serious anxiety or fear about one’s ability to perform sexually, the attractiveness of his altered body, the possibility of odor, and the security of his pouch or other stoma covering.

2. Failure because of attempting intercourse before strength returns following the operation.

3. Depression which many patients suffer following major surgery.

4. Medication, sedative or other.

It is important that the new male ostomate and his partner understand that impotence is not unusual and is usually temporary because of the foregoing reasons.

A cooperative partner is one who takes the ostomy for granted with warmth, tenderness, and patience. They engage in activities that provide both partners with maximum enjoyment. In some cases this may require that previous sex patterns may need to be changed. Any changes should be pleasing and acceptable to both lovers.

The presence of a stoma on the abdomen is quite a change in one’s anatomy and can make the ostomate self-conscious and may pose a psychological barrier in sexual relations. There should be some communication with one’s partner that intercourse will not harm it.

The ostomate should be relaxed and unworried. This may be difficult the first time, but subsequent encounters are likely to become easier. If the partner expresses concern about hurting the stoma or dislodging the pouch, one should not misinterpret it as rejection.

Sexual Difficulty

1. It is important that the male and his mate understand that failure to achieve and/or sustain an erection can happen, but in most cases the condition is temporary and potency will return in a few months. Be patient, do not panic.

2. This does not mean that the couple should avoid making love. There is much more to sex than erections and orgasm. Love play, or pleasuring each other, is delightful.

3. There are many ways a man can satisfy his partner sexually up to and including orgasm. There is is masturbation, manual stimulation, oral-genital sex, stuffing the flaccid penis into the vagina and moving the pubis without thrusting.

4. Uninhibited communication between both partners is the key to finding the best technique.

Organic Problems Following Surgery

The nature and extent of ostomy surgery in some instances may cause sexual impairment of a physical or organic nature. This is because of the location of the prostate glands and the nerves serving them in the case of urostomy surgery. When the rectum is removed in ileostomy or colostomy surgery, it is because of the location of the nerve system serving the genitals.

The types of sexual impairment that may result from removal of the bladder or the rectum are:

1. Impotence. Inability to achieve and/or sustain an erection.

2. Orgasmic dysfunction. Inability to have an orgasm or the lessening of the quality and intensity of orgasm.

3. Ejaculatory incompetence. Inability to ejaculate.

4. Sterility. Inability to produce sperm for impregnation of the female.

Seek Professional Advice

Medical professionals should address any sexual difficulty, first with your surgeon and/or an ET. Referral may be made to a urologist, therapist or counselor, and they may recommend new advances in medical and surgical interventions

Hints & Tips

1. Always have a change of clothes and extra ostomy supplies at work.

2. Set out your supplies on the counter when it is time to change your appliance before you remove the old one. (See video)

3. When travelling, always take 3 times as many supplies as you think you will need.

4. Keep a list of all important phone numbers, product codes of your supplies (and sizes), name of your ET, if you have one, and a step by step note of how to change your appliance in case you are unable to.

5. On an airplane, always carry your supplies with you. Lost luggage is an all too common occurrence.

6. When travelling in a vehicle, never store your supplies in the trunk or glove compartment. Excessive heat and cold can greatly affect your wear time. Keep them in a soft sided cooler in the car, use an icepack if the interior of the car gets too hot (making sure that the icepack is in a plastic baggie as not to get your supplies (wet).

7. Skipping meals will cause your pouch to fill up with gas.

8. Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Ostomates get dehydrated very quickly.

9. Medications that are time released or long lasting are not effective in ostomates. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for liquid or chewable form. (See video)

10. Make sure a family member or friend knows where you store your supplies at home, in case they need to get them for you in an emergency.

11. Always take your own supplies to the hospital with you.

12. Hernias are very dangerous for ostomates. Never lift more than 20 lbs if possible and always lift with your legs. When shoveling snow, use your hips as leverage against the shovel, not your abdomen. Better yet, let someone else do it for you!

13. When swimming for longer periods of time, use a skin barrier wipe on the paper tape of your flange to make it waterproof.

14. Itching under the flange is one of the first signs of a leak. If you detect a bit of odor along with the itching, then you can almost be sure that the seal is starting to break down.

15. Don’t wait until you run out of supplies before you order more. Your supplier might be out of stock and then you are really in trouble. a general rule of thumb could be, when you reach half of the box,order more.

16. When using a public restroom, attach the pouch clip (If you use one) to your watchband or beltloop. There is nothing more frustrating than having to fish it out of the bowl. It is also a good idea to carry an extra clip in your purse or pocket for that very reason.

17. A small amount of mouthwash in your pouch after emptying will keep it odor free for the next time when you have to empty it.(See video)

18. Eating a few large marshmallows may slow down output, which is helpful when it is time to change the

19. Chew, chew, chew your food to avoid blockage.

20. The first sign of blockage is either no output or very liquid output. Severe abdominal pain and vomiting will almost always accompany a blockage. See BLOCKAGE below

21. Leg cramps are a sign of not having enough fluids.

22. Wearing pants that are too tight for a long period of time will affect the wear time of the appliance.

23. Keep a diary of when you last changed your appliance in order to know whether the time has come when you should change it again.

24. To protect your skin from damage, don’t wait until your pouch starts leaking. Try to figure out how many days you usually get out of your appliance and change it before you get a leak.

25. Remember that your stoma might change its’ size and shape over time. Periodically check it with a mirror to make sure that your flange fits properly. The hole in your flange should be no more than 1/8? larger than your stoma.

26. Try to avoid bending over at the waist for long periods of time. This might cause some discomfort and might also affect the seal of the appliance.

27. If you notice any blood in the pouch, see your doctor immediately. Your stoma will bleed a little while you are cleaning around it, but it should stop within a minute or so. If it doesn’t then keep an eye on it and let your doctor know if the bleeding continues.

28. Your stoma should be a bright red colour , if it starts to look pale or grey, you should seek medical advice.

Courtesy of Niagra Ostomy Association


Abscess: A collection of pus caused by an infection in a closed space.

Adhesions: The formation of new fibrous tissue as a result of inflammation or injury, which created an abnormal union of surfaces or organs which are normally separate

Anastamosis: The surgical union of two hollow tubular parts (E.G. the ureter and the ileum) to form a passage.

Anoscope: A short (3 inch) lighted instrument that is used to visualize the anal canal.

Anus: The opening at the lower end of the large intestine.

Appliance Pouch and accessories: Worn by a person with an Ostomy, over the stoma to collect bodily waste.

Bladder: The organ which acts as a collector for urine.

Biopsy Sampling: A body tissue for microscopic examination in order determine the nature of a disease process.

Bowel The intestine’s: The part of the digestive tract between the stomach and the anus, composed of two parts: The Colon or large bowel, and The Ileum, or small bowel.

Bowen’s Disease: A non-invasive skin cancer that involves the skin in and about the anus.

Brooke Ileostomy: A technique of constructing a surgical connection between the small intestine and the skin that was described by Sir Brian Brooke in England.

Cancer: The uncontrolled growth of malignant tissue which is characterized by invasion and distant spread

CAT Scan (Computerized Axial Tomography): An computerized x-ray examination the permits detailed non-invasive examinations of internal organs.

Cecum: The first part of the large intestine, located just after the junction of the small intestine with the large intestine.

Chemotherapy: The administration of oral or intravenous anticancer medications.

Cholecystectomy: Surgical removal of the gallbladder.

Cholecystitis: Inflammation/infection of the gallbladder.

Cholelithiasis: Gall stones.

Colitis: An inflammatory condition of the large intestine. Also see Ulcerative Colitis

Colon & Rectal Surgery: The medical and surgical treatment of diseases of the small and large intestine, including the rectum and anus.

Colon: The large intestine, the final 3-4 feet of the gastrointestinal tract.

Colonoscope: The long flexible lighted instrument used for performing Colonoscopy.

Colonoscopy: An examination of the large intestine utilizing a long lighted fiber optic or video scope.

Colostomy: A surgically constructed connection between the large intestine (colon) and the skin. Requires an appliance or “bag” to collect intestinal waste. Congenital Present at birth.

Continent Ileostomy: Surgical technique of constructing an intra-abdominal pouch from part of the ileum. May be referred to as a Koch Pouch, or an ileo-anal reservoir. External appliance not required.

Continent Urostomy: Surgical technique of constructing an intra-abdominal pouch from section of the bowel for retention of urine, after dysfunction or removal of the bladder. May be referred to as a Koch Urostomy, or Indiana Pouch. External appliance not required.

Crohn’s Disease: An inflammatory immune disease of the intestinal tract that causes thickening of the intestinal wall and inflammation of the intestinal lining (mucous membrane). Crohn’s Disease can cause problems from the mouth to the anus. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, and weight loss. Complications include bleeding, obstruction, perforation and development of fistulas.

Defacography: A specialized X-Ray examination of the rectum.

Dehydration: Loss of fluids (water) or moisture. May be result of diarrhea, heat exposure, intestinal blockage or certain medications.

Diverticulitis: Inflammation of the colon that occurs in the region of existing diverticulosis. This results in intense pain associated with fever, constipation or diarrhea. Complications of diverticulitis include intestinal obstruction, perforation, bleeding, and the development of abnormal connections (Fistulas)
between the skin, intestine, bladder or vagina.

Diverticulosis: A condition of the large intestines characterized by the development of weakness in the intestinal wall that permits herniation or outpouching of the intestinal lining. Diverticulosis usually develops as a result of inadequate dietary fiber.

Dysfunction: Lack of normal function

Enema: A cleansing solution used for preparation for examination of the large intestine.

Electrolytes: Compounds (Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium) which maintain the body’s chemical balance. Ostomates must ensure they have adequate intake of these minerals through fluids and food.

Enterostomal Therapy: The treatment of patients with surgically constructed connections between the intestine or the urinary tract and the skin.

ET Nurse: A nurse who has taken specific instruction for the care of persons with ostomies, wounds or who are incontinent. An ET may assist with pre-and post-operative counseling and instruction.

Episiotomy: A surgical incision made in the back wall of the vagina and the skin between the vagina and the rectum to facilitate childbirth.

Familial Polyposis: A genetic (inherited) disease also known as FAP (Familial Adenatomous Polyposis) characterized by a proliferation of polyps in the colon and rectum. If untreated, polyps will become malignant. Symptoms may include rectal bleeding, mild to moderate diarrhea and weight loss.

Feces: Bowel waste, also excrement or stool.

Fiber: Fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Fistula: An abnormal connection from one organ to another or from the bowel to the abdomen. A fistula may develop spontaneously, but usually requires surgery to remove.

Gall Bladder: The sac-like organ located beneath the liver that stores bile.

Gastroenteritis: Inflammation of stomach and bowel. Symptoms may include cramping, diarrhea and fever.

General Surgery: The surgical treatment of diseases of the abdomen, abdominal wall (hernias), breast, and endocrine organs.

Hemorrhage: Uncontrolled bleeding.

Hemorrhoids: Dilated veins that are located at the anal opening. May be either internal or external.

IBD Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Term used to describe a group of bowel diseases which cause an inflammation in the bowel such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease

Ileitis: Inflammation of the small bowel (Ileum)

Ileostomy: A surgically constructed connection between the small intestine (ileum) and the surface of the abdomen forming a stoma for the discharge of stool (Fecal Material). Requires an appliance or “bag” to collect waste.

Ileum: Where the small bowel joins the colon (large bowel)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease.

Inguinal: Relating to the groin.

Intestinal Obstruction: Blockage of the small or large intestine by tumor, inflammation or adhesions. Symptoms usually include crampy abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distention and constipation.

Irrigation: Procedure which flushes bowel via insertion of water through stoma into colon. Only suitable for person with sigmoid or descending colostomy. Should only be undertaken after consultation with Physician or ET.

J-Pouch: A surgically constructed reservoir made from the small intestine and connected to the anal sphincter muscles in order to restore intestinal continuity and maintain continence in patients undergoing surgery for ulcerative colitis or Familial Polyposis.

Kidneys: Organs which filter impurities and waste from the blood and excrete them via the ureters to the bladder as urine.

Koch Pouch Also called Continent Ileostomy: A surgically constructed intestinal reservoir with a leak-free valve that is emptied by insertion of a catheter 3-4 times daily.

Laparoscope: A lighted camera used to visualize the organs in the abdominal cavity.

Laparoscopic: Referring to surgical procedures that are performed through a laparoscope.

Laparoscopy: The technique of visualizing the organs in the abdominal cavity using a camera and light source placed through the abdominal wall via a cylindrical “port.”

Laser: High energy light that is used for cutting and/or destroying tissue in surgery.

Mucosa: A moist mucous secreting lining of body cavities open to the exterior e.g. the bowel, mouth, nose, vagina. In bowel, enables contents to “slide”.

Ostomate: Person who has had surgery resulting in the creation of a stoma.

Ostomy: Surgical procedure creating an opening from the bowel or ureters to the abdomen, resulting in a stoma for the purpose of eliminating waste (Stool/urine).

Paget’s Disease: A non-invasive skin cancer that involves the skin in and about the anus.

Perforation: A hole in the intestine that permits the flow of intestinal contents into the abdominal cavity.

Perineum: The area of the body surrounding the genitals (sex organs) and the anus. Also referred to as the perineal area.

Peristomal: Around the stoma e.g. the peristomal skis is the skin around and closest to the stoma.

Polyps: A flat or grape-like growth of benign (harmless) or malignant (cancerous) tissue in the intestine or on the skin.

Proctocolectomy: The surgical removal of the colon and rectum.

Prolapse also called Procidentia: The protrusion of the rectum through the anus. Usually caused by relaxation of the normal supporting structures of the rectum.

Pruritis: Ani Itching of the anus and skin surrounding the anus.

Radiation Therapy: X-Ray treatment that is directed against cancers.

Rectum: The last 15cm (6 inches) of the intestinal tract.

Restorative Proctocolectomy: Surgical Removal of a diseased colon and rectum with the reestablishment of intestinal continuity utilizing an intestinal reservoir. Also called J-Pouch, Parks Pouch, Ileoanal Pull Through and Ileal Pouch Anal Anastomosis.

Sigmoidoscope: A rigid or flexible tube with a light source that is used to examine the last 12-25 inches of the large intestine.

Sigmoidoscopy: A visual examination of the lower 12-25 inches if the large intestine using a lighted scope.

Sphincter: The internal and external muscle that surrounds the anus. The sphincter permits continence or control over intestinal function.

Stenosis: Narrowing or constriction of a passageway.

Stoma Opening: When used in reference to ostomy care, it is a segment of bowel or ureter brought to the surface of the abdomen. It is formed of mucosal tissue, is red and moist in appearance. Ideally it will protrude about 1.5 – 2.5 cm.

Suppositories: Specially made medication that is inserted into the rectum.

Trauma: Injury caused by accident, violence e.g. car crash, stabbing. May be a cause of ostomy surgery.

Ulcerative Colitis: An Inflammatory Bowel Disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the colon and typically causes bloody diarrhea.

Ultrasound: A noninvasive, painless technique of visualizing the tissues surrounding the rectum using sound waves that are emitted from a specially shaped anal probe.

Urostomy: A surgically constructed method of bypassing a dysfunctional or removed bladder in order to discharge urine. Most commonly a conduit is surgically created from a section of the ileum and the ureters are connected to it. The open end of the conduit (ileal conduit) is brought to the surface of the abdomen to create a stoma.

Ottawa Ostomy Membership

Ottawa Ostomy Support Group’s 1 year national membership includes exclusive access to our monthly newsletters, 2 issues of the Ostomy Canada Magazine (Spring and Fall) and premium membership in Ostomy Canada Society + Everything from chapter membership. Yes! So much for a small cost of $40 annually. Our chapter membership is only $20 and that includes 9 newsletter meetings etc. Free assistance is available for our membership applicants.

$40.00 / $20.00
Ostomy Details

Below are a few pdf versions of some more ostomy details. Feel free to browse through them and download/save it for future use


We would like to acknowledge and thank the Vancouver Chapter of the Ostomy Canada Society for writing and compiling this Handbook for new ostomy patient

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