The stoma - the artificial connection between inside and outside

A stoma is a surgically created connection between the inside of the body and the skin. Although stomas are first getting used to, they still cause many people to suffer from chronic discomfort and sometimes even to improve their quality of life.

What is a stoma?

A stoma refers to an artificially created body opening to the outside, which connects an organ - whether trachea (urinary tract), bladder (urostoma), stomach (gastrostoma) or intestine (ileostomy, colostomy) - with the body surface. There are various reasons for the surgical operation of a stoma - all have in common is that without a stoma the health of the person would often dramatically worsen.

What do you have to consider as an ostomist?

Many sufferers respond spontaneously defensive when they are confronted with the treatment option "stoma system" for the first time, because a tracheostoma with its exposed position inevitably attracts attention, a urology or colostomy is automatically connected with the risk of "leakage" and " Smell ".

In most cases, the establishment of a permanent stoma is also associated with a serious underlying disease - be it cancer or a chronic bowel disease - which has sometimes led to a reduction in the quality of life for years. The chronic intestinal diseases Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis lead to recurring bleeding, constriction of the intestines, massive colic and an increased risk of cancer. Often the stoma system in patients with intestinal inflammation to improve the quality of life in cancer patients, the stoma in addition to the cancer diagnosis is still an additional problem.

Many questions concerning the handling of the stoma can be clarified in advance. Each hospital works with trained stomatologists who together with the person concerned can select the best possible stoma care and dispel many concerns. Of course, wearing a stoma often requires a rethink: Some sports or professional types are limited with stoma possible, even the partner has to cope with the new situation.

Limitations by stomas

With a tracheostomy, smelling and tasting will only be possible to a very limited extent because the respiratory air no longer flows past the olfactory cells. Speech is usually only possible with a voice cannula, because for the speech process, some air must flow through the larynx and set the vocal cords in vibration. For Uro- and Kolostoma, the most important thing is the individually fitting bag system.

There are one-part and two-part systems: In the two-part system, a tight-fitting plastic ring is glued around the stoma and attached to it is the transparent, white or natural-colored ostomy bag, whose filter insert ensures that no unpleasant odor can escape. One-piece system combines adhesive ring and bag. The two-part system has the advantage that the adhesive ring can remain on the skin for 24 to 48 hours.

Complications with stomas

The tracheostoma bypasses the upper respiratory tract, where the breathing air is normally cleaned and moistened - a bronchial infection is susceptible to infection. In all stomata, the hollow organ located inside the body can retract (retraction), which can lead to a reduction in stoma opening (stenosis) and sometimes has to be repaired surgically.

In the event of inflammation of the stoma environment or an allergic reaction to components of the adhesive ring, the stomatologist will continue to help. Leaky or "smelling" bag systems are usually due to incorrect operation - several surveys of the German ILCO eV have shown that these problems are rarely stated by those affected.

Serious problems include the mental burden of uro-and colostomy with the fear of loud intestinal noises and associated with the stoma disorder of sexual function, which are mentioned by almost half of those affected. Sometimes sharing in a support group can be helpful.

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