Everything about Ileostomy and Colostomy

A surgical procedure that alters the passage of bowel contents outside the body is known as Ostomy. The hole that is made in the abdomen, as a result, is called a stoma.

The type of Ostomy which allows a patient to pass out feces through the stoma is referred to as ileostomy or colostomy.

A stoma is a part of the large intestine (colon) or small intestine (ileum) that is pulled throughout the cut in the abdomen (stoma). It is an alternative path that allows feces to leave the body.

The feces are then collected in a pouch that is worn outside the stoma. The shape of your abdomen and kind of ostomy decides the size and site for the stoma.

Typically, all stomas are the same and they will:

  • Protrude outward, such as inch over the skin
  • Differ in size
  • Have eclipse or round sphere shape
  • Red and damp
  • No sensation
  • It will look swollen initially but then it will shrink with time.

Which individuals demand Ostomy?

Any reason that causes blockage in the drainage and flow of the feces demands Ostomy. These conditions are:

  • Cancer
  • Trauma
  • Diseased colon
  • IBD

In case if the repair of the intestine is not possible, then an Ostomy is needed. Then the feces are directed to a new path (stoma).

What do you need to know about your digestive system?

Food enters your mouth and passes through the esophagus and finally reaches into the stomach. The breakdown of food takes place in the stomach and then it goes to the small intestine.

Enzymes work on the food particles in the small intestine and convert them into a thick liquid. Then water and important vitamin are absorbed. This liquid-type material is then passed into the colon, a part of the large intestine. The reabsorption of water takes place in the colon. Stool moves from the colon into the rectum and it is defecated out through the anus. In an Ostomy, either the small or large intestine is brought to the abdominal surface.


When a surgeon uses a small intestine (ileum) for the creation of a stoma is called an ileostomy. . Ileostomy can be permanent or temporary. Less water is reabsorbed in the ileostomies because they are higher. The bowel content as a result is watery. It will become loose over time.


When a colon is used to create a stoma and passing out feces, the Ostomy is called a colostomy.

The colostomies have been assigned different names based on their location. For example: ascending colostomy, descending colostomy, sigmoid colostomy.  Colostomy can be permanent or temporary. The feces formed as a result are more firm.

All you need to know about your pouch

When your feces leave the body it is collected in a pouch or bag termed Ostomy bag or pouch. This pouch collects the feces and can be changed from time to time. You can’t control your bowel movements after the Ostomy. That’s why you always need to wear a pouching system over your stoma.

The pouching system has sticking and adhesion properties. It helps in:

  • Collection of the stool
  • Captures the foul smell
  • Protects the peristomal skin

There is nothing wrong if the feces come in contact with your stoma, but if the feces remain intact with the peristomal skin it can cause irritation and infections.

Pouching systems vary in size and orientation. They are very light in weight and easy to carry around.

You can seek help from your PCP or ET nurse for the selecting best pouching system for you.

Types of pouching systems

The ostomy pouching system consists of a pouch that is issued for the collection of the feces and a skin barrier or flange that keeps the pouch in place. The pouching system has two types

  • One-piece pouching system
  • Two-piece pouching system

One piece-pouching system

The flange and the pouch are attached.

Two-piece pouching system:

There is a spate pouch and skin barrier.

Drainable pouch:

The pouch that has an open end to drain out feces is known as a drainable pouch. You don’t need to remove it off the skin. You can hold it in the same place for several days.

Closed-end pouch

It has no opening and you can simply dispose of it off when it is filled. It is not recommended for ileostomy patients because it needs to be changed frequently.

Pouch accessories

You can use different products to keep your pouching system in place and sealed properly.


Pouch filters are used for lessening the odor in the pouch

Ostomy belts or wraps are used to keep the pouching system in place while physical activities such as swimming.

Pouch covers are worn over the pouch. They help in concealing your pouch under the clothes.