The word “stoma” means an opening in the body. It is derived from a Greek word meaning “mouth”. There are naturally occuring stoma in the body, like our mouth and anus, however we are particularly interested in stomas that are artificial or made by a surgeon. These types of stoma allow either urine or stool to pass out of the body. There is no control over the passing of stool or urine from many types of stoma, so a pouch is fitted to collect the waste, protecting the skin and containing the output (either urine or stool). The stoma is pink or red in colour, can be round or oval in shape, moist to touch and can bleed easily.
There are a few different words you may see that refer to a stoma such as an ostomy, a colostomy, a urostomy, an ileostomy or an ileal conduit.
The products and pouches used for each different stoma are designed specifically for each type. Different types of stoma behave differently and you may experience different challenges.
It is also important to know that while there are many different types of stoma pouches and products available, not all of them are suitable for or needed by every person, and your Stomal Therapy Nurse will be the best to guide you in what is appropriate for you and your stoma.