Decorative image

Having a colostomy or ileostomy

Read about having a colostomy or ileostomy, and find out where you can get further information. 

What is a colostomy

A colostomy is an opening of the large bowel onto the surface of the tummy (abdomen). You wear a bag over the opening, to collect the waste matter from digestion that would normally be passed from the body as a bowel motion (stool).

Some people with bowel cancer need to have a colostomy. Most of these will be temporary. They will be closed a few months later, when the bowel has fully healed.

Women with vaginal cancer, or cervical cancer that has spread outside the womb, may need to have a big operation called a pelvic exenteration. This operation involves having a permanent colostomy.

There might be other situations with other types of cancers where you need to have a colostomy. But it is not common.

What is an ileostomy

The small bowel is called the ileum. An opening onto the skin from inside the body is called a stoma. Your surgeon stitches the end of the small bowel to a hole cut in your skin of your tummy (abdomen). This is called an ileostomy. Your poo passes out through the stoma. You wear a bag stuck onto the skin over the stoma to collect your poo. It will be a mixture of bowel liquid, semi solid poo and some wind. 

Information and help

Dangoor sponsorship

About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.