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Your First 12 Weeks After Stoma Surgery

Your stoma surgery is finished, and you are at home. For many people, surgery can be the beginning of a more comfortable life. But it still requires adjusting to life with a stoma—physically and mentally.
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Welcome to the start of your new journey.

Surgery is done. And you’re on the path to growing a healthy bond between you and your stoma, so that you can be free to grow a healthy bond to the world around you. Of course, you’ll probably have questions and concerns. Particularly during the first 12 weeks of living with an stoma. This is natural. You may feel nervous, confused or even angry. You may be excited by the freedom, improved health and new activities you can enjoy after healing from your surgery. Or you may have a mix of these emotions. Again, all of these reactions are perfectly normal.

More importantly, you’re not alone. Your stoma nurse and healthcare professionals are there to assist you every step of the way. And so are we.

Questions you may want to ask

After your surgery, you may have questions about many things: diet, clothing, returning to work, intimate relations, etc. Below is a starter list of questions you may want to ask your healthcare professional before you leave the hospital, or at your post-surgery appointments:

  • My stoma looks large. Will it always be this size?
  • Who should I tell about my surgery?
  • How active can I be after surgery?
  • Should I bathe or shower with my pouch on? Do I need to use special soap?
  • Will my pouch cause odour? How can I control this?
  • How many times a day will I need to empty the pouch?
  • What is the correct way to empty a drainable pouch?
  • How long can I wear one appliance between changes?

Bonding with your ‘new normal’

During the first few months after stoma surgery, it is important to recognize you and your loved ones will be undergoing a major period of adjustment. Life has changed. And it often takes time to adjust to the ‘new normal’. But you’ll get there. 

If you’ve had a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy, for example, you’ll need to learn how to manage the passage of body waste through your stoma, as well as how to care for your skin after stoma surgery.

Going home from the hospital

Leaving the hospital is an important milestone, but it also can cause anxiety for anyone with a new stoma. It’s normal to feel nervous about living with a stoma, but it’s also important to remember that you are never alone.

You may find that you have many questions in the days and weeks following your surgery. During this time, you may also find that you are feeling depressed, down or angry. You may experience some frustration until you get comfortable with your pouching system. All of these feelings are perfectly normal.

For the first six to eight weeks, your stoma will most likely shrink in size. Regular measuring will help ensure you are wearing the correct size of pouching system, increasing your confidence, and reducing discomfort. 

Over time, your stoma will become more a part of you as a healthy bond grows between it and your body. Managing your stoma will become part of your daily routine. And to help you get to that point, remember to keep in close contact with your stoma nurse. The answers to any problems or concerns about post operative stoma care are usually just a phone call away.

Reach out to your stoma nurse for help and encouragement. You can also reach out to our expert team of Amcare stoma nurses and product specialists. For product-related questions or even if you just need reassurance that what you are doing is correct, you can call 0800 282 254 or email us at stoma.webcare@convatec.com.

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