Doctor taking blood pressure of patient.


We understand how certain treatments present a big change in lifestyle. When your “new normal” involves an ostomy, you can feel overwhelmed and unsure how to return to the activities you’re used to. That’s why Providence provides ostomy options that best fit your condition and ongoing support to help you get on with your life.

An ostomy is a surgical procedure that creates a stoma, or opening in the wall of the patient's abdomen, to discharge waste from the bowel or the bladder. Ostomies are necessary when part or all the intestine or bladder are removed or when patients need time to recover and heal from an injury or surgery that affects that area of the body. Ostomies may be temporary or permanent.

There are two types of ostomies: end ostomy and loop ostomy. An end ostomy uses the end of a segment of bowel that is attached to the skin opening of your abdominal wall. A loop ostomy uses a loop of intestine that is pulled through the opening and cut so that the two ends are attached to the ostomy.

Some conditions that may lead to ostomy surgery include bowel or bladder cancer, diverticulitis, polyps, birth defects, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's Disease and trauma.

Depending on your condition, your doctor will determine the location of your stoma. He or she will also consider the best place for your ostomy based on your body and ease of movement and access.

Ostomy surgery is done while you’re under general anesthesia.

After surgery, your doctor will provide instructions for how to care for your stoma and ostomy appliance. You may also receive education, counseling and care from a wound ostomy nurse, including:

  • Demonstration and selection of supplies
  • Lifestyle support and counseling
  • Referral to other resources as needed
  • Emergency assistance as needed

Having an ostomy likely causes a big lifestyle change. However, with proper care, you can continue the activities you’re used to.

Stomas are a relatively common surgery and are considered safe. However, there are possible complications. Leakage may occur if your ostomy appliance doesn’t fit properly. Skin irritation is a common problem with the adhesive of your ostomy appliance that can be remedied with a different appliance or type of adhesive. Retraction (the stoma moves inward) and parastomal hernia (the intestines pushes outward through the opening) sometimes occur and can go away on their own or may need surgery to repair them.