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Other Common Problems

Skin Problems
Leakage Problems

Here are some solutions for some other common problems experienced by those with a stoma. Remember, if all else fails, consult your stoma nurse so they can assess your situation and help get you on the right track to healing it.


Problem
Possible Solutions
Food Blockages. Symptoms include:
  • No output from stoma for more than 4 hours
  • Cramping in the abdomen.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Swelling of the stoma.
  • High watery output.
  • Drink hot tea and increase your fluid input.
  • Take a warm bath or shower and massage your abdomen.
  • Have a glass of wine. This will help relax your abdominal muscles.
  • Get down on all fours with your backside in the air. An undignified position but it does help some people move a blockage.
  • If the blockage persists for more than a few hours, seek medical advice from your nearest hospital.
Mucous and Bleeding from the Rectum.
  • This is completely normal if your rectum is still intact, although annoying, since the mucosal lining of the rectum is still working.
  • Try wearing a sanitary napkin to save soiling your underwear.
  • If bleeding is profuse, see you doctor.
Odour
  • Simple solutions that work for some ostomates are to place mint tic tacs or mint mouthwash into your bag.
  • A small squirt of 3% hydrogen peroxide into your bag each time you empty will ensure you have an odour free bag next time. Make sure the solution is no stronger than 3% (which is available from the first aid section of your supermarket).
  • Deodorants, either taken orally or placed in your bag, are available from your ostomy supplier.
  • DO NOT place aspirin in your bag in an attempt to eliminate odour - doing so can cause damage to your stoma.
Bleeding
  • First, determine whether the bleeding is coming from the surface of the stoma or from internally.
  • If it is internally, then it's wise to seek medical advice.
  • If the bleeding is from the surface of the stoma, it should stop quite quickly. Stomas are made from the same type of skin as the inside of your cheeks and you know how easily they bleed. Even the slightest little nick can cause it to bleed. If bleeding is profuse or doesn't stop quickly, seek medical help.
  • Cuts to the stoma can also be caused by the wafer riding off centre. Try "picture framing" the wafer with some tape to stop it from moving.
Prolapse. The stoma appears elongated and doesn't have "wrinkles". Think of a sock folded in on itself and as you pull the closed end out, it becomes longer. This is basically what happens during a prolapse.
  • This may occur during pregnancy or due to weak stomach muscles.
  • Apply a cold compress to the stoma. This will usually make it retract back into shape.
  • If the problem persists or is frequent enough to become annoying, surgical intervention may be needed.
Retraction occurs when scar tissue pulls the stoma back into the body.,
  • Try an appliance with convexity or a convex insert to make the stoma stick out a little more.
Parastomal Hernias. Characterised by redness, tenderness and a noticeable bulge in the area surrounding the stoma.
  • For small hernias, a hernia belt such as those supplied by Nu-Hope is all that is needed.
  • For larger hernias, see your surgeon. Surgery may be needed to rectify it.
Stoma is placed on or above the Beltline.
  • This is more common in men than women for some reason. DO NOT let them site your stoma on or above the beltline if at all possible.
  • Belts will stop the stool from flowing into the pouch so trying wearing trousers a size bigger than you would normally wear and wear braces or suspenders to keep them up rather than a belt.
Phantom Rectal Pain ie you get the urge to go to the loo in the old way even though you know you can't.
  • This pain is because your body needs time to adjust to it's new plumbing and still thinks it needs to go to the loo in the old way.
  • Try going and sitting on the loo anyway even though you know it's pointless. A lot of people find this alleviates the pain.
  • The good news is that over time, Phantom Rectal Pains become less frequent and eventually disappear altogether.
Recent Tightening of Airline Security preventing the carrying of scissors in hand luggage.
  • Precut the bags that you are carrying in your hand luggage.
  • If you picture frame your wafer with tape, precut these lengths of tape and stick them to a plastic zip lock baggie. That way, if the need arises, you can just peel the tape off the baggie and use it.
Seatbelt of cars ride right over the stoma site and are uncomfortable.
  • Try using a clothespeg at the top of the seatbelt where it slides into the door. This will enable you to wear the seatbelt looser than normal but still protect you in case of an accident.
  • Use a small cushion or pillow between you and the seatbelt.
  • Remember, a broken stoma is much easier to put back together than a whole person!
Stoma shows through a tight dress.
  • Try wearing bike pants or similar lycra pants under your outfit that will smooth out the line of the bag.
  • Empty frequently.
Swimming. A lot of people don't need any extra security whilst swimming but some do.
  • Try "picture framing" your wafer with some waterproof tape.
  • Experiment with different brands of appliances and see if one will stay stuck better for you in water (most manufacturers are more than happy to send you free samples).
  • If you are unsure about whether your appliance is up to the job, try soaking in a bathtub for half an hour and see whether your appliance stays stuck for you.
Stockings or Hosiery make you feel uncomfortable and irritate your stoma
  • Try wearing maternity stockings. They have extra room at the front to accommodate your bag as it fills.
Encrustations or crystalisations on or around a urostomy stoma
  • Try half strength vinegar soaks (one part water to one part vinegar), either with compresses applied directly to the area or a solution inserted into the ostomy pouch.
Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 Shaz's Ostomy Pages. All rights reserved.
If you would like to use any of the images in these pages, please email me to get permission. Thanks.

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