An ostomy is a surgically created opening, typically in the abdomen, that is made to remove waste from the body. Most people who require an ostomy either have a colostomy, which involves removing part of the large intestines from the abdomen to form a stoma, or an ileostomy, which involves removing a small portion of the small intestines from the abdomen to create a stoma. A pouch is then connected to collect bodily waste. If you have learned that you will need a colostomy or ileostomy, use the following tips to care for the area and feel more comfortable:

Change Pouches Properly

It is important to observe the pouch connected to your stoma so you can see when it is getting full. It is often recommended that you change your pouch in the morning prior to eating or drinking anything. Always remember to prepare your new pouch before you remove your old pouch to make the change easier.

Get Used to Using Your Skin Barrier

A skin barrier is used to protect the skin around the stoma and to hold your pouch properly in place. As you become used to your ostomy, applying the skin barrier will most likely become second nature. But when you first start get your ostomy, you will need to practice applying the skin barrier properly. Be aware that you will need to apply gentle pressure to your skin barrier for a couple of minutes to ensure that it completely sticks to your skin so you can go about your day to day activities without any problems.

Know How to Take Care of the Ostomy and Stoma

Since bodily waste comes out of the stoma and is collected in the pouch, it is important to keep the area clean. In most cases, simply using warm water around the stoma is enough to keep the area in good condition. If you prefer to use soap, use a very mild formula that does not contain any type of lotion or cream-- these things can leave a film on your skin that can prevent your skin barrier from sticking. As you care for the skin around your ostomy and stoma, watch for irritation-- this is not normal, and you should immediately contact your doctor if you develop a rash or other signs of irritation.

Purchase Ostomy Deodorizer

It is not uncommon for people with a colostomy or ileostomy to be self-conscious about the smell of the waste being collected in their pouch. A simple solution to prevent smells and feel more comfortable is to purchase ostomy deodorizer. These products are specifically designed to prevent bacteria or human waste from having a strong smell, so you can feel confident throughout the day.