Live Your Best Life With an Ostomy

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An ostomy is a piece of intestine that is brought to the skin. People with anal cancers or rectal cancers or severe bowel leakage will often note that they're not able to control their bowels anymore. And so we create an alternative pathway for the bowels to come out.

The ostomy is a better way to bring the intestinal content to the skin, where you can place a pouch or a bag to collect it. So the biggest preparation for elective surgery is going to see an ostomy nurse ahead of time.

So education on where it's going to be placed. They mark you. They look at your skin folds. They look at your body shape so that we place the ostomy in the right spot. So it's easy for you to see, it's easy for you to take care of, and it's good for your skin in the area that they place it.

And they spend a lot of time teaching you how to take care of it ahead of time so that you're not trying to learn about it after it's already been created after surgery. Once people get used to having the ostomy, they get into a routine. They know what kinds of foods they can eat that will produce more gas or less gas, how quickly things move through. It's very similar to your bowels.

People have wonderful lives after ostomy creation. People still scuba dive. They still swim. They still jog. They still exercise. People still play soccer and basketball. It's all with control of a pouch or a bag.

The biggest fear that people have is really, what is this going to be like? They're worried about, is there going to be leakage around the ostomy? But I tell people, it really is how you manage to apply the pouch to your skin.

So there's products that are similar to caulk, but meant for human skin to help seal the pouch onto your skin. A lot of pouches have charcoal filters to allow the gas to escape and to catch the odor.

People do lots of little tricks like putting in TIC TACs or ALTOIDS into the pouch to absorb odor. People will put-- it looks like almost like a little tiny Ziploc bag inside their pouch so that when it fills up, they literally-- they take off their pouch, they pull out the Ziploc, and throw it away.

Ostomies really can open up a whole new world where you just go live. It really is another location for where you expel either stool or urine. And it is maintainable and controllable.