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What Can I Eat After Colostomy Surgery?

by Jessica May 23 2018 05:46
what can i eat after colostomy surgery

One of the most common questions people living with colostomies have is how their eating habits may change after having their ostomy procedure. After all, food is not just a necessity for living; it is also a focal point of many social gatherings, like family dinners and dates. 

If you have recently had your colostomy procedure, your main focus is probably on healing from your procedure, as well as learning how to put on and take off your colostomy pouching system.

However, knowing what you can and cannot eat will go a long way in helping you go back to your normal routine as you heal.

Let's take a moment to go over some of the basics of eating after a colostomy. 

Colostomy Nutrition Tips

First, let’s dispel one myth right away. Having an colostomy does not mean that you have to let go of your favorite foods forever. Many people who have an ostomy procedure are able to return to their normal diet within six weeks or so. 

woman eating pizzaKeep in mind that everyone's anatomy is different, so certain types of foods may cause a reaction in one person while it doesn't at all in another person, whether or not they have a colostomy.

For example, you may know someone who loves spicy food and can eat hot salsa and peppers easily, while foods like that can be a gastronomical nightmare for someone else. 

Remember that you are an individual with unique needs. Consider eliminating any foods that may trigger allergies or any condition you may have, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). You'll probably also want to eliminate any foods that you may not have tolerated well in the past before your colostomy.

For the most part, however, most people can return to their old diet after healing from their colostomy surgery with an okay from their treating physician.

Of course, there are certain foods that may cause more gas or odor, as well as other foods that can loosen or thicken your stool output. Just talk to your doctor about your diet to know for certain which foods you should avoid and which foods you can include back into your diet after your ostomy procedure. 

To get a better understanding of food for ostomates, check out this ostomy nutrition guide from the University of Pittsburgh. 

talk to your doctor about diet after ostomy

Colostomy Nutrition Tips

After your surgery and during follow-up appointments to see how your stoma is healing, your doctor will likely go over some nutrition basics with you, including what foods you may want to avoid or include in your diet, based on your individual needs.

steamed meat and veggie bowlHow quickly you can return to a normal diet will depend entirely on your situation, including your medical condition and any food allergies you may have. Your doctor will take all this into account, including how well you are healing from your ostomy surgery.

Here are a few things that your doctor may advise to make digestion and caring for your colostomy easier:

  • Eat slowly
  • Chew your food very well
  • Eat regularly and in smaller portions to avoid excess gas 
  • Take it slow with re-introducing certain foods after your doctor has approved it
  • Drink enough fluids to stay properly hydrated

The most important thing to remember about your new colostomy is not to worry too much. Simply focus on healing well and getting used to life as a new ostomate. 

If you experience any issues, be sure to talk to your doctor or Wound, Ostomy, & Continence Nurse (WOCN).

And remember, if you need quality colostomy products from a reliable, top-rated ostomy supplier, 180 Medical is the place to go! Contact us today.

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Heidi Overcame Hurdles to Advocate for Those with Disabilities

by Jessica April 20 2018 06:25
meet heidi scholarship recipient 180 medical

Last fall, we were excited to announce the 2017 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients. All of the applicants' essays were incredibly moving, and our seven finalists were certainly no exception!

Take a moment to get to know our previously featured recipients: 
MeghaFrankChelseaJoseph, and Elizabeth.

Today, we'd love for you to meet Heidi!

180 medical scholarship recipient heidi 2017 quote

Educating & Advocating for the Disabled

While Heidi goes to school to further her education, she works as an Adult Basic Educator and helps adults improve their basic skills in math, reading, and even with American Sign Language.

As a deaf and disabled woman who is a Disabilities Advocate, Heidi also has the amazing opportunity to help adults and children living with disabilities. She uses dolls that have been fitted with MIC-KEY buttons (a low-profile feeding tube) and colostomy stomas in order to help familiarize children who may be new to living with a feeding tube or an ostomy.

But if you had asked her twenty years ago what she would be doing with her life, she would never have imagined that things would turn out quite the way they have.

heidi and ostomy dolls for childrenHeidi with some of the educational tools and dolls that she uses to help familiarize children with their condition and normalize living with an ostomy and/or a feeding tube 

Unexpected Illness & Loss Changed Everything

Before Heidi got started on her current career path, she earned degrees in Nursing as well as Music Education. For many years, she worked as a Developmental Nurse Educator.

helping disabled kidsHeidi says, "I provided families with the tools necessary to gently shape their precious children's global development, while also sharing in the celebration of successes, comforting them in times of grief, acknowledging their fears, validating their hopes, and empowering them to advocate for their children." Her profession, at the time, truly fed her soul and allowed her to use her experiences, education, and gifts in helping others.

But then, everything changed. Originally, Heidi had been diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) for many years. Then she found out that the original diagnosis was incorrect; she had inherited Mitochondrial Myopathy. 

Mitochondrial Myopathy, according to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, affects the cells of the body and can cause "both muscular and neurological effects" like:

  • Weakened muscles
  • Hearing loss / deafness
  • Balance issues
  • Seizures
  • Learning deficits
Around this time, her youngest child tragically passed away due to a severe neurological disease. Then she had to battle a form of drug-resistant pneumonia that caused multiple complications for Heidi. The worst was anticipated, and she was put into hospice care. 

However, Heidi says, "I had more work to do."

Using Her Experience to Help Others

sign language heartTo everyone's astonishment, including her doctors, Heidi worked hard to get her strength back. She made it through her illness and eventually returned to school to major in Deaf Studies. 

It wasn't long after this that she began her role as an Adult Basic Educator and tutored students who were "disadvantaged by disability, poverty, and inadequate social and educational support." 

Today, Heidi is working toward earning her Master's degree in Higher Education, and she hopes to create a more accessible educational program for these students. 

It's truly amazing to see someone who has gone through so much and is still so eager to keep moving forward and aid other people in need of a helping hand.

We wish Heidi the best of luck and blessings as she moves forward with her career plans and continues to use her personal experience to comfort those living with disabilities or families dealing with losses of their own. 

About the 180 Medical Scholarship

We understand that college isn't easy to afford for many students, and it can be especially difficult for those living with conditions like spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, neurogenic bladder, and/or an ostomy (ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy). That's why 180 Medical established a scholarship program to help those students who are determined to keep working hard to achieving their goals and dreams.

Currently through June 1, 2018, 180 Medical is accepting applications for our 2018 scholarship program. You can find full information, eligibility requirements, and download an application at

180 medical scholarship program for ostomy sci spina bifida

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.


The Connection Between Crohn's Disease & Kidney Stones

by Jessica March 21 2018 06:38
crohn's disease and kidney stones connection

If you have Crohn's Disease, you probably already know this particular form of inflammatory bowel disease can produce many different side effects ranging from mild to severe as well as other accompanying medical conditions. 

What many people may not realize is that one of the little known but more common side effects of Crohn's Disease is the development of kidney stones.

What are the Symptoms of Kidney Stones?

If you develop kidney stones, you will know it fairly quickly. 

kidney stones graphicSome of the most common symptoms of kidney stones include the following:

  • Intense pain in the sides, lower back, or abdomen beneath the ribs
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pink, red, or brown urine
  • Cloudy and/or foul-smelling urine
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • General malaise
Kidney stones are a serious health complication, so it's very important to consult with your doctor if you begin experiencing any or all of these symptoms. 

Your doctor may recommend increasing your fluid intake and/or taking a pain reliever if the kidney stone is relatively small and can be passed. 

However, if the stone is larger or more spiny, then medical intervention like surgery may be necessary.

Why Do People With Crohn's Disease Get Kidney Stones More Often?

There are a number of reasons why people with Crohn's Disease are more likely to get kidney stones.

Kidney stones are formed when there is a decrease in urine volume and an increase in stone-forming substances in the body.

One of the most common causes of kidney stones is malabsorption, which is a condition where the small intestine isn't able to absorb nutrients properly. For example, fat in the small intestine could bind to calcium, causing oxalates (a stone-producing substance) to be released and absorbed into the kidneys.

stay hydratedIn addition, dehydration is a significant risk factor for kidney stones.

Those who suffer from Crohn's Disease are more likely to have symptoms of malabsorption and dehydration. Also, they may have more concentrated urine, which is another risk factor for kidney stones. 

Kidney stones are a serious health concern, due to the pain and discomfort they can cause as well as the potential for blocking the normal flow of urine. This is why we urge you to speak with your treating physician as soon as you notice the warning signs of a kidney stone developing.

Other Complications Associated With Crohn's Disease

Unfortunately, when you have Crohn's Disease, whether mild or severe, this condition can impact your health in a variety of different ways aside from kidney stones.

This may include ulcers, inflammation throughout the digestive tract, malnutrition from lack of vitamin absorption, colon or colorectal cancer, bowel obstruction, and more. It's important to speak with your treating physician about any new or different symptoms that may pop up.

Occasionally, these issues may become so severe that surgery is required to remove or temporarily bypass diseased or obstructed parts of the bowel. This typically leads to a need for colostomy or ileostomy supplies.

At 180 Medical, we carry a wide variety of ostomy products and accessories to assist those who have been impacted by Crohn's Disease to the point of needing ostomy surgery. We'd love the opportunity to help you find the right supplies for your individual needs. Contact us today!

ostomy customer testimonial 180 medical

5 Things to Consider After Your Ostomy Surgery

by Jessica January 19 2018 12:19
5 things to consider about life after ostomy surgery

It's totally normal to wonder what life will be like for you after ostomy surgery. The first few weeks will be a period of adjustment, but armed with the right information, you can be ready for whatever comes next.

Here are five things to consider as you transition into life as a new ostomate.

Get to Know Your Stoma

During the surgery, your surgeon will create a stoma to redirect the flow of your body's waste (urine due to a urostomy or stool due to a colostomy or ileostomy). The stoma is typically positioned on your abdomen region. Your doctor will let you know where you can expect it to be, depending on the type of surgery you have.

After the surgery, the stoma should be slightly moist and appear pink or red. This is completely normal.

Any soreness, swelling, or slight bleeding should go away with time. However, if you're dealing with excessive pain or bleeding or if your stoma changes colors, this should be addressed with your doctor as soon as possible.

Practice Proper Skincare

Ideally, the skin surrounding your stoma should look like it did before your surgery, although it may be slightly irritated at first as your body adjusts to wearing your ostomy appliances.

Your doctor or a WOCN (Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurse) will be the best resource for instructing you how to change your pouching system and giving you personalized tips for skincare, bathing, safe removal of any hair on the skin surrounding your stoma, and they will also be able to assess your needs based on any allergies you may have as well as your current skin condition.

talk to your doctor about your ostomy

Typically, you will want to just make sure that the area of skin around your stoma is clean and dry. You can clean your skin with warm water and a soft, clean washcloth each time you change your appliance. When using soap, stick with a brand that is mild and does not contain any oil, deodorant, or perfume, as this can cause skin irritation or keep your ostomy system from properly adhering to your skin.

Get the Right Fit

After your surgery, your stoma will probably be swollen, but the swelling should go down over time. You will most likely have to change sizes of ostomy wafers (also known as skin barriers or flanges) or other ostomy appliances eventually.

You may notice this if you start to see leakage or find that your current sizes are no longer fitting snugly. Leakage can cause skin irritation and feel embarrassing, but you don't have to live with it. 

We recommend that you speak with your doctor or a WOCN (Wound, Ostomy, & Continence Nurse) who can help you address any medical concerns. Next, talk to your ostomy supply company.

Our Ostomy Specialists will be glad to offer you options to measure your stoma, and with the help of your prescribing healthcare provider, we can get you the right size of wafers, the type of ostomy pouches that work best for your needs, and additional accessories. 

Evaluate Your Diet

After you're healed up, you probably won't need to worry about following a new diet, although this will depend on your medical condition and any food allergies you may have. For the most part, you should be able to return to eating the food you love.

eating after ostomy surgeryIf you have an ileostomy or a colostomy, your doctor might recommend a reduction of fiber intake as you recover in the weeks following your surgery. There may be some foods you might want to avoid based on your condition.

If you have a urostomy, your doctor may advise you to avoid too many caffeinated drinks, which can dehydrate your body, or they may discuss the proper amounts of fluid/water to have daily. 

Your doctor may also prescribe medication or recommend daily multi-vitamins to help your body heal and get the proper balance of nutrients to supplement your diet.

Start Living Your Best Life

It's completely okay to go through feelings of concern, self-consciousness, and worry. You may worry that you're the only person with an ostomy or that people might be able to tell that you're wearing a pouch.

We want you to know you are not the only person with an ostomy. There are millions of other happy, healthy ostomates across the globe.

Although there is nothing shameful about having an ostomy, it's absolutely normal to want to keep it a secret. There are options to keep your ostomy appliance discreet, including low-profile pouches. There are even specialized swimsuits, underwear, and wraps for everyday wear available at These may help you feel more confident both in public and at home.

Once your doctor has given you the okay, you should be able to live just as you did before, including exercising, socializing, and even being intimate with your partner. Your health and overall well-being will likely improve as you heal from your surgery, and you may even feel like trying out new hobbies. There are even marathon runners with ostomies!

 'Practice makes perfect,' as the saying goes, so after some time, you may become a seasoned pro at changing your ostomy appliances and caring for your skin and stoma.

At 180 Medical, we understand that navigating all of the many ostomy product choices as well as all the ins and outs of your new ostomy routine might feel overwhelming in the beginning. Our Ostomy Specialists are here to help. If you have any questions about ostomy supplies, feel free to reach out to us today!

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Our Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017

by Jessica December 29 2017 14:36
180 medical's top 10 most popular blog posts of 2017

2017 has been a wonderful year for 180 Medical, and we certainly hope it's been a year of good health and fun for you too!

We posted a lot of blogs over the year, including topics like the latest catheter and ostomy product news, fun company happenings and charitable events in our community, in-depth looks at our inspiring 2017 Scholarship Program recipients, and as always, helpful and informative posts related to intermittent catheters, ostomy supplies, and more.

While we look forward ahead to all the great things coming in 2018, we've compiled this list of 180 Medical's ten most popular blog posts from 2017!

top blogs of 2017 10top blogs of 2017 10 Steps to Receiving Your Ostomy Supplies
If you are about to undergo or have recently had an ostomy surgery (whether ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy), you're probably looking for some of the most concise, helpful basics about how to start getting the ostomy products and accessories that you will need. From getting the right fit and the necessary supplies for your individual needs to getting your very first shipment, 180 Medical is here to help and support you the whole way!

top blogs of 2017 9Why Do I Need to Use Coudé Catheters?
If you've been advised by your doctor that you need to use a curved tip or coudé catheter, you might be wondering what this kind of urinary catheter is for and why you need to use this type rather than the standard straight tip. This blog post sums up everything you need to know about what coudé catheters are, what they're used for, factors or conditions that contribute to the need to use a coudé tip instead of a straight tip catheter, as well as information on how to insert and use a coudé catheter.

top blogs of 2017 8Determined Spirit: Jen Goodwin's Story of Life After Her Spinal Cord Injury
We are honored by being able to feature some of our customers on our blog along with their unique stories, and when you read Jen's story, you can see why she is such a delight to speak with, as well as a true inspiration to all who know her. Jen could have chosen to give up after an accident left her quadriplegic. Instead, she decided to set her sights high and began achieving her goals, one after the other. A lot of readers, including everyone at 180 Medical, were awed by Jen and her incredible story.

top blogs of 2017 7Tips for Preventing the Risk of UTIs When Cathing
UTIs (urinary tract infections) are not all that uncommon to people who use catheters. Find out more about some of the most common symptoms of UTIs, some risk factors, as well as the best ways to prevent the recurrence of infections.

top blogs of 2017 6Bladder Cancer: Symptoms and Risk Factors
Did you know that bladder cancer is the 5th most commonly diagnosed cancer in the USA? It's important to know some of the potential causes/risks as well as symptoms. The sooner bladder cancer can be diagnosed, the sooner treatment and recovery can begin.

top blogs of 2017 5Tips for Holiday Travel When You Have Urinary Incontinence
Traveling around the busy holidays, whether by car or plane, can be stressful enough without also dealing with urinary incontinence. We've got the tips to help you navigate traveling, whether by car or plane, including TSA regulations for carry-on luggage, helpful smartphone apps to find public bathrooms, and other helpful information.

top blogs of 2017 4Beating Spinal Cord Injury One Day at a Time: Mason Ellis's Story
Since a car accident in Mason's senior year of high school left him quadriplegic, he has been determined to beat his injury. He has become an inspiration to many through his determination and sincere desire to connect with others and help them. Find out all about what he does now to help others, including starting up his own successful YouTube channel to help others with spinal cord injuries and limited mobility accomplish tasks like dressing, dealing with spasms, self-cathing, and more.

top blogs of 2017 3Top 10 Reasons to Work at 180 Medical
180 Medical has been voted one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma (based on employee's anonymous feedback) for eight years for many reasons. If you're seeking a career with a company that devotes itself to core values like compassion and integrity where you can truly make a difference, check out some of the top reasons to apply at 180 Medical.

top blogs of 2017 2What are the Basics of Clean Intermittent Catheterization?
Intermittent catheterization doesn't sound fun or easy when you're brand new to it, but with the right information and instructions at hand, you can become a seasoned pro at self-cathing. Check out our helpful post on the basics of what intermittent urinary catheters and the process of cathing is all about.

top blogs of 2017 1Pocket Catheters 101
Pocket catheters are all the buzz in the cathing world this year, and we suspect the trend for discreet, travel-ready catheters will continue as more people find out about these handy urinary catheter options. Find out all about what pocket catheters are and why they are both popular and beneficial for many catheter-users, and take a look at a few of the many options available at 180 Medical.

Thank you for reading our blog! We at 180 Medical wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy new year to come, and we hope you'll join us for all the informative and interesting posts in 2018.

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.


Crohn's Ignited Chelsea's Creative Spark

by Jessica December 7 2017 08:47
meet chelsea 180 medical scholarship 2017

Earlier this year, we were proud to announce the seven 2017 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients. All of this year's recipients are so inspiring, and we're excited to let you know more about these bright students and their career goals.

Previously, we've introduced you to Megha and Frank, two of our seven recipients. Today, meet Chelsea! 

chelsea fisk quote 180 medical scholarship recipient

Crohn's Disease Changed Everything

Crohn's disease, a form of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), is currently considered incurable, and it can often be so severe that it drastically reduces the quality of life for those afflicted. You can learn more about Crohn's disease and its symptoms with our recent blog post about Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week.

Before Chelsea started to get sick, her goal was to be a surgeon who would work on patients with cancer and other disorders. In fact, as she first started out in college, she chose to continue to work toward that goal. Soon, however, she realized that her illness was so severe that she would likely not be able to keep up with such a demanding career. "Coming to terms with losing that dream was incredibly difficult for me," Chelsea says.

There would be more challenges before she would see the light ahead. During finals in her sophomore year of college, she had a major relapse with Crohn's disease, and the situation became so severe that she and her doctors came to the conclusion that medication was not going to be enough of a treatment plan for her. So Chelsea underwent a procedure to remove her colon and have an ileostomy created. 

A Turning Point After Ostomy Surgery

As Chelsea recovered and adapted to the new changes, she spent time thinking about what else she could do in the future. During that time, she went back to her childhood hobbies of reading, drawing, painting, and creating other types of art. 

"I began to realize that I should be pursuing the things I had loved as a child, what I had wanted to do before I even knew what biochemistry was," Chelsea says. With that in mind, Chelsea returned to school, enrolled in new coursework, and changed her major to graphic design. 

chelsea art school

Using Art to Increase Representation of the Disabled

As she continued to adjust to life with an ostomy, Chelsea found that there wasn't much information out there about ostomies specifically targeted to children, teens, and young adults. 

"I've experienced firsthand how the lack of representation for disabled kids and teens can negatively affect one's life," Chelsea says. "In an aim to fill this representational void, I create art and media (animation and comics, but mostly illustrated children's books) to help them make sense of their situation. I also use characters with traits and personalities that extend beyond their disabilities."

Chelsea wants those living with disabilities and chronic illnesses to know that they don't have to be defined solely by their condition, and she hopes that her work will help increase representation with them as well as other underrepresented communities of people.

Upon hearing that she was a recipient of this year's 180 Medical College Scholarship, Chelsea honored us with an absolutely beautiful drawing of a bird called a swift, surrounded by laurels with the following message:

"Swifts are notoriously strong and fast birds, small and often underestimated but very powerful. It, along with the laurel, represents the strength and power of my fellow scholarship recipients and all disabled youth. Our strength may be underestimated at times, but we will always persevere despite our hardships and come out on top, wearing laurels of our own."

chelsea fisk art swift and laurels

Truly, we feel so humbled to receive such an inspiring and lovely gift along with such an incredible message. Chelsea, we're sure you're going to go far in life, and we can't wait to see how your art positively impacts the world!

About the 180 Medical Scholarship

College isn't always easy to afford, and we know there are often additional financial burdens on aspiring students who live with medical conditions like spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, ostomies (ileostomy, urostomy, and/or colostomy), transverse myelitis, and neurogenic bladder. That's why 180 Medical created our scholarship program, and we're honored to offer this annually.

Find out more details at our Scholarship page, and watch for coming announcements about the 2018 180 Medical College Scholarship soon.

180 medical scholarship program for ostomy sci spina bifida

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.


Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week

by Jessica December 6 2017 05:41
crohn's and ulcerative colitis awareness week

December 1st through the 7th is Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week this year, and we want to stand up in solidarity with all those who are living with a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). At 180 Medical, we feel it is important to not only support those living with Crohn's disease and/or ulcerative colitis as well as those who have recovered thanks to ostomy surgery and now live with a colostomy or ileostomy.

We agree with what the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation says about IBD and those who are impacted by it: "the effects of these diseases are largely invisible [to others], which is why we need to make #IBDvisible."

Read on to find out more about these two forms of IBD, common symptoms, and ways you can help raise awareness.

Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory disease that can affect any part of the body's gastrointestinal tract.

crohn's and colitis symptomsSymptoms can include:
  • Frequent or chronic diarrhea
  • Blood or mucus in stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Weight loss that can't be easily explained
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
These symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they can come and go without warning. 

The precise cause of Crohn's is currently unknown, although you can be assured it is not contagious. It could be possibly related to genetics or a virus that triggers an immune response to product inflammation that continues on without a cure.

Treatment options can include medications such as steroids or immunomodulators, and this is typically the first option doctors will suggest.

When the condition doesn't respond to medication or lifestyle/diet changes, or if it worsens to a point that symptoms become unbearable, surgery may be the best option, such as a colectomy. This will best be determined by a discussion with your doctor or other prescribing healthcare professional, such as a gastroenterologist.

Ulcerative Colitis

While Crohn's can affect any part of the GI tract, colitis's symptoms are restricted to the colon and the rectum, and the symptoms are typically continuous versus the off and on again symptoms of Crohn's. 

Symptoms can include:
  • Frequent or chronic diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloody stool
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Tenesmus (sudden or constant feeling that you need to void your bowels)
  • Low vitamin D and other vitamin/mineral deficiencies
The suspected causes are much the same as Crohn's, although ulcerative colitis is considered an immune system overreaction. 

crohn's colitis medication treatmentTreatment options include medications or surgery, which typically requires full removal of the colon and rectum.

It will depend entirely from person to person on what the best option for treatment will be, and you'll want to talk with your doctor to be sure you have a good idea of all of the possible options for treatment. 

Life with IBD

Living with Crohn's and/or colitis can be hard on those it affects, especially when symptoms are severe. It can keep you fatigued and feeling rundown, and due to the nature of these diseases, it may feel uncomfortable or embarrassing to live with or discuss what you're going through.

The good news is that there are options for treatment out there, and the sooner you get in touch with your doctor to schedule an appointment, the sooner you can get back to feeling better and resume your normal activities. 

Find out more about Crohn's and Colitis, as well as Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week and ways to be an advocate or share your story at

If you have had an ostomy surgery due to severe symptoms of either Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, 180 Medical is here to help. We offer top-quality ostomy supplies from ConvaTec, and our Ostomy Specialists can work with you to find the best supplies to suit your individual needs and preferences. Contact us today. 

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About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company. 

Top 4 Tips for Improving Sleep Quality After Having Ostomy Surgery

by Jessica September 22 2017 05:37
top 4 tips for improving sleep quality with an ostomy

If you're having trouble sleeping after your ostomy surgery due to worries about leakage or rolling over on your pouch, that's completely normal. But there are options that will help you relax and get back to a restful sleep schedule. 

Top 4 Tips For Improving Sleep Post-Ostomy

So is it possible to get a good night's sleep after having an ostomy procedure? The answer is yes. In some cases, just the fact that you have had the procedure to address the underlying condition that required you to get an ostomy may help you sleep better. However, you may need to make some adjustments based on the type of procedure you have had. 

ConvaTec, a leading manufacturer of quality ostomy supplies, offers a short guide on how to manage sleep after having an ostomy.

Here are a few key points that it makes, which you may want to include in your sleep regimen:

tip 1 improving sleep with ostomyPut Pillows Around You.
This will prevent you from rolling on your pouch.

tip 1 improving sleep with ostomyWear a Shirt That Is a Little Snug.
Although this may take some time to get used to wearing, it will help keep your pouch snug against your body as you sleep.

tip 1 improving sleep with ostomySleep on Your Back.
This will limit the likelihood that you will roll over on your pouch while you're asleep.

tip 1 improving sleep with ostomyCheck the Condition of Your Pouch.
You may have to empty your pouch before you go to sleep to prevent leakage in the middle of the night.

Options for Different Ostomy Surgery Types

Please keep in mind that, depending on your surgery type, ostomy supplies will range in options, as well as ostomy accessories, and they may require varying management levels.

For example, those who have had a urostomy procedure have the options to use a night drainage system that connects with your ostomy pouch. This eliminates concerns about the amount of water or other liquids you may intake before bed. Also, no more worrying about needing to change your urostomy pouch in the middle of the night. 

sleep quality after ostomyIf you have had an ileostomy or colostomy procedure, you may need to empty your pouch in the middle of the night to avoid leakage or overflow. You may also want to avoid eating after a certain time to avoid having a large amount of output while you're asleep. Your prescribing healthcare professional can also offer additional tips to improve your sleep, as well as any diet and liquid intake recommendations based on your individual needs. 

Adjusting to living with an ostomy and using ostomy supplies can take some time to get used to, but before long, you'll be a seasoned professional at your ostomy regimen, and you can get back to enjoying a health sleep schedule too!

For more information regarding quality ConvaTec ostomy supplies, contact one of our trained Ostomy Specialists, and we'll be glad to help with your ostomy supply needs.  

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Three Things to Know About Life After an Ostomy

by Jessica May 24 2017 06:12
three things to know about life after ostomy surgery

At 180 Medical, we understand that you might have some apprehension about what your life will be like after you have an ostomy procedure. You may find you have to make some adjustments, based on your doctor's recommendations, and getting used to have an ostomy may take some time. But will your day-to-day life be completely different? Let's take a moment to break down the three main things you'll want to know if you're concerned about an upcoming ostomy surgery.

What Is an Ostomy?

An ostomy is a surgically-created opening in the abdomen that allows waste to leave your body. There are several types of ostomies depending on the affected area. We specialize in these three main types:

  • Colostomy: An artificial opening from the colon to divert the flow of formed stool
  • Ileostomy: An artificial opening from the small intestine to divert the flow of loose stool
  • Urostomy: An artificial opening from the urinary system to divert the flow of urine
You may be getting an ostomy procedure due to any number of issues, such as cancer of the colon or bladder, IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), severe diverticulitis, a physical trauma or accident, and many other issues. Your situation with having an ostomy can be temporary or permanent, depending on the condition, but that will be for your healthcare practitioner to determine.

Having an ostomy is not at all uncommon, and although it may seem like you're going through this alone, you are among thousands who live as ostomates all over the world. In fact, in the United States alone, it's estimated that as many as 750,000 people have an ostomy.

number of ostomates living in the usa

Will Others Be Able to Tell That I Have an Ostomy?

Although having an ostomy is nothing to be ashamed of, we understand that it may feel embarrassing or uncomfortable at first as you adjust to your new life as an ostomate. But with the proper supplies that fit you well, no one will be able to see that you have an ostomy. It's completely up to you how, when, and if you tell others about your surgery, but there are plenty of supplies and accessories, including clothing options, that can help you feel clean and secure, no matter whether you're in public, at home, being active or even swimming.

Many of the pouches we carry feature charcoal filters to release any gas without build-up or odor. These also often have comfortable cloth-like panels which are specifically designed to stay quiet and discreet beneath your clothes. Depending on what type of ostomy you have, your doctor may have recommendations for the best type of system for your needs, and our Ostomy Specialists can also work with you to discover what may best suit your needs and preferences.

Will I Be Able to Lead a Normal Life After an Ostomy?

swimming with an ostomyYou can absolutely lead a normal life after having an ostomy procedure. There will, of course, be an adjustment period as your body heals post-surgery. Learning how to apply and remove your pouching system can also take a little time to figure out exactly works best for you, based on the recommendations and schedule as given by your doctor, but before you know it, you'll be a pro. 

As far as other adjustments to your lifestyle, such as your diet, that will be an individual recommendation from your doctor, since each body is unique. You may find that certain foods affect your digestive system differently, or your doctor may have some tips on the type and amounts of fluids to drink as well. For the most part, you can probably resume your normal diet once you're given the okay from your doctor.

Many people who live a more active lifestyle wonder if they'll be able to stay active after their ostomy procedure. This, again, will be on a case-by-case basis, and your doctor will be able to discuss this with you in more detail, but typically, you can get back to your exercise routine or favorite activities when and if your doctor approves. It's possible you may be advised to stay away from full-contact or rough sports, but you should be able to run, swim, and even lift weights once you're healed after an ostomy. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor. 

Also, once your doctor gives you the okay, you can go back to work or school after healing from your ostomy procedure. If you work a manual labor job, you may have to make some adjustments or speak with your employer about changing your tasks. For many people, getting back to their normal daily routine or work schedule is a great step to feeling more confident and assured that life will not be so different with an ostomy, after all. 

Do you need ostomy supplies? We're here to help!
At 180 Medical, we have a variety of ostomy products, including barriers, pouches, and other accessories to ensure you have everything you need. Contact us to speak with a trained Ostomy Specialist who is ready to lend you a compassionate ear and help you find the right ostomy supplies for you.

steps to receive ostomy supplies
Steps to Receiving
Your Ostomy Supplies 
what's next after ostomy surgery
 What's Next After 
Your Ostomy Surgery?

WOC Nurse Week 2017

by Jessica April 21 2017 02:48
wocn week 2017

Nurses across the country are such a crucial part of healthcare, but this week in particular (April 16-22, 2017) is dedicated to the nurses that specialize in the field of wound, ostomy (urostomy, colostomy, & ileostomy) and continence care (such as bowel or bladder incontinence). At 180 Medical, we feel honored to be able to work with certified nurses in better assisting our ostomy patients with their diverse, individual needs, whether they're dealing with skin irritation around their stoma, leakage issues, or something else that requires the medical advice of a trained professional.
wocn week 2017 ostomy specialist quote
If your life has been touched by a WOC (Wound, Ostomy, & Continence) nurse, whether due to issues with pressure sores and other difficult-to-heal wounds, bowel or urinary incontinence, or ostomy issues, you know you have a compassionate advocate on your side who can offer your educational information, personalized care, and more. Although there are thousands of certified WOC nurses across the country, we appreciate every single one, because we see firsthand how much they affect the lives of the patients they advise and treat. 

One of our Ostomy Specialists, Cait, had this to say about the special relationship 180 Medical has with WOC Nurses: "When talking to our new ostomy customers, who may often feel frustrated by their situation, it's wonderful to be able to reassure them that not only are we here to help them, but we also have a connection to a team of certified WOC Nurses they can talk to, free of charge! The fact that we work with WOCNs so closely allows us to raise the level of service we can provide, & we love that opportunity to be able to make sure our customers get the best care possible."

We're glad to use this week to spread awareness about the great significance of WOC Nurses and both recognize and honor what they do every day to help their patients. Their great compassion and dedication to their work is inspiring.

More information about WOC Nurses can be found at

If you have an ostomy and are seeking a reliable provider for your ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy supplies, 180 Medical can help you. We also provide intermittent catheter supplies, and our helpful Specialists can assist in finding the right products for your individual needs and then ship them right to your doorstep to lighten your burden and make the transition to living with an ostomy a little easier. Just give us a call at 1-877-688-2729.

steps to receiving your ostomy supplies whats after your ostomy surgery
What's Next After
Your Ostomy Surgery? 

About the Author:
Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 7 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company. In her free time, she loves writing, making art, and hanging with her dogs and loved ones.