When a portion of the colon is removed, waste can’t exit through the rectum and anus. The colon is therefore attached to the wall of the abdomen. A colostomy allows your waste to excrete through a hole, or stoma, in your abdomen into a secure pouch. A colostomy can be performed at various points in the small or large intestine, and may even involve the removal of the anus and/or rectum.
Having a stoma and pouch can be extremely emotional for some people. This is in large part due to the myths surrounding colostomy pouches and stomas.
Myth: It will be obvious I have a colostomy pouch
This is completely wrong. Today’s pouches are designed to be extremely discrete, and lie flat and secure under normal clothing. No one will know you have a stoma or a pouch unless you tell them.
Myth: I’ll never have sex again
Also untrue. Plenty of people have rich, fulfilling sex lives after they have a colostomy. If you’re with someone you trust and who respects you, it’s really not that big of a deal.
Myth: My bag will stink
Nope again. Colostomy pouches are made out of a special kind of plastic that prevents odors from escaping, and the pouch seals securely to the stoma. You shouldn’t have any issues with odor, even when your pouch is filling.
Myth: I have to have this pouch forever
Maybe, maybe not. Many ostomies are temporary, designed to let injury or disease of the small intestine heal. For larger colon resections, your pouch may end up being part of your daily life.
Myth: I can’t eat the foods I love
While you may have to adjust your diet slightly, the secret to a regular bowel movement is balance, not giving up everything you like to eat. The biggest changes will need to be made while the stoma is still healing, in which case Dr Ambe may tell you to avoid raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, and dried fruit.
Myth: If I fly on a plane, my bag will explode
We aren’t sure where this tale started, but it’s not true. Your pouch might puff out a little bit due to the change in altitude, but you can use a filter to release gas in the privacy of the bathroom, or simply disconnect the pouch, deflate it, and reattach it.
Still worried about having a colostomy? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Ambe and his team by calling 832-280-6782, or request an appointment online.