Did you know that as many as one million people in the United States live with an ostomy? People of all ages have colostomy bags after ostomy surgery for a variety of reasons, including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and colon cancer to name a few.
One of the most common ostomy procedures is a colostomy. This is when part of the colon has to be removed or the bowel requires rest because of an underlying health problem.
During colostomy surgery, surgeons will create an opening in the abdomen, which is called a stoma. This is the passage through which waste will now travel out of the body. However, because the stoma doesn’t have nerve endings or muscles to control the flow, a colostomy bag is needed. A colostomy bag fits over the stoma and collects waste when it leaves through the opening.
Busting a Few Myths About Colostomy Bags
When people learn they are undergoing a colostomy, they usually have a lot of questions. Here are a few things you should know about colostomy bags to put you at ease.
Myth 1: Everyone Will Know I Have an Ostomy.
This is a common myth, but actually, most of the time, nobody will know you use colostomy bags unless you want them to know.
Some people new to living with colostomy bags may worry that everyone around them will know. The truth is that most people won’t know or notice. Also, the people in your life who really care about you will not react negatively.
Myth 2: People Will See or Smell My Colostomy Bag.
Luckily, technology has advanced quite a lot since the early days of ostomy pouch systems.
In other words, unless your colostomy bag is faulty or you have another underlying health issue, you will not smell. Today’s colostomy bags are discreet, so you can wear one underneath your clothes without anyone knowing. However, if you notice ostomy odor, there are options.
While you should certainly feel free to share with others you know about your ostomy, you can maintain your privacy as well. You may find that the swimwear, underwear, or ostomy wraps at OstomySecrets will be very helpful in keeping your colostomy pouch secure and discreet.
Myth 3: My Life Is Over Now That I Have an Ostomy
Life is not for you just because of your ostomy. Yes, having an ostomy is a huge change. However, you can live life just like normal, and often, you may even find you have better health and quality of life thanks to your ostomy once you’ve healed.
You will most likely be able to eat many of the same things as before your procedure. Once your doctor gives you the okay, you can go back to exercising with an ostomy. You can even date and have a sex life with an ostomy.
Here is a great article that sheds light on what life can be like after a colostomy ten years later.
Myth 4: I’m Stuck With the Ostomy Brand or Type I Started With
The truth is you have options with a number of colostomy pouch systems and types. Skin barriers can be cut-to-fit, pre-sized, or even made with Moldable Technology™, which you can simply manipulate to the perfect size and shape. Pouches can come in different shapes and colors with or without filters. Plus, you can choose which works best for you: a one-piece or two-piece pouching system.
Of course, some people who have a colostomy prefer to keep the same pouching system they had when they left the hospital. Others may choose to go with a different brand or type over time. This is usually due to personal preference.
We encourage you to speak with your ostomy nurse or doctor about what might work best for you.
180 Medical’s highly-trained and friendly Ostomy Specialists are ready to help you explore your colostomy product options.
Just contact us to get started!