NEW Stoma Bag
For people who have suffered with long-term health conditions, stoma surgery can be a very positive thing. If it’s the result of an unexpected accident, illness or injury, it could come as a shock. Either way, stoma surgery is still a life-changing event that takes time to process and accept. We‘ve put together some useful information which will help you to adjust after your stoma surgery and be prepared for what happens next.
When you wake up after stoma surgery you might feel a bit overwhelmed. Your surgical team will visit you to tell you more about your operation and make sure you have enough pain relief to remain comfortable. You will already have a clear stoma bag attached, but your stoma won’t start working right away. It sometimes takes a few days for the swelling to go down and your body to adjust. Your stoma may even bleed a little. Contact bleeding may occur at anytime after surgery. This can be completely normal and nothing to worry about, if you do have concerns contact your stoma nurse who will be able to support you.
The day after your operation, your stoma care nurse may visit to check your stoma and begin to teach you how to look after it. Your stoma care nurse will also recommend any other products you might need to help provide the best fit and protect your skin. Once your stoma is working properly, and the surgical team think you are well enough, you will be able to go home. Your stoma care nurse will arrange to visit you at home a few days after your discharge. In most areas, the stoma care nurse will visit you at home several times, until you are fully confident with your stoma care, or are well enough to visit the stoma clinic at the hospital.
Your nurse will give you enough supplies of stoma bags and accessories to last a few weeks and will explain how to order more. They will also check that you know how to remove your stoma bag, clean the area around it and reattach a fresh one. How often you change your stoma bag is dependent on what type of stoma surgery you have and how much ‘output’ you produce. What type of bag you can also be a factor. The most important thing is that you always feel clean and comfortable without pain or sore skin. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you have any questions. It always helps to write them down too.
After your stoma surgery you will start on fluids and gradually build up to firmer foods, this often depends on the surgeons preference, you may be eating solid foods quite quickly! It should only take a few days for your diet to get back to normal, but you may choose to stick to easily digestible foods. Everyone is different and reacts to food and drink in different ways. You’ll soon discover what works for you and shouldn’t find having a stoma affects your choices too much. Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet and stay hydrated.
Choosing vegetables and fruit with high water content can help, but you may want to remove any peels that can be hard to digest. You should make sure that meat is chewed well or cut into smaller pieces. Be aware that nuts and mushrooms may cause a blockage if eaten in large quantities.
It’s important to get up and move around as much as possible in the beginning, without overdoing it. Gentle exercise is great for all aspects of your recovery, both mentally and physically. It also helps to get your bowels moving if you’ve had colostomy or ileostomy surgery. You might feel more tired at first but take it easy and build up gradually. Even short walks around the garden can help to build up your strength and accelerate your recovery.