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Having a stoma

Find out more about living with a colostomy or ileostomy after bowel cancer, how it can affect you and what can help.

Getting used to your stoma

When you have a colostomy or ileostomy the end of your bowel is brought out into an opening on your tummy (abdomen). The opening is called a stoma. 

You might have a temporary colostomy. This is done after surgery to allow time for your bowel to heal. You have another operation to close the stoma after a couple of months.

Or you might have a permanent colostomy or ileostomy.

It can take a while to get used to dealing with a stoma.

You'll have help both practically and emotionally. There is a lot of support available. Your stoma nurse can give a lot of advice and support. As you learn to manage your stoma, it should have less and less impact on your day to day life.


Last reviewed: 
29 Sep 2015
  • Practical stoma care
    P Black
    Nursing Standard. 2000, 14(41), 47–53.

  • Cultural and religious beliefs in stoma care nursing
    P Black
    British Journal of Nursing. 2009. 18(13):790-3

  • Problematic stomas - rectal discharge
    Colostomy Association. December 2012

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