Stoma injury of any kind is a constant concern for ostomates; especially those who are active in sports and activities. Injury is an unpleasant topic, but facing the reality helps prevent injuries and ensure good quality of life.
Stoma injuries can be caused from incorrect pouching or pouching accidents, tight belts, or external blunt force (getting hit with something, for instance, a ball or foot). The injury may bleed some and typically looks white or red. Generally, if you’re experiencing this, it’s likely you know the cause – but if you don’t, be mindful to understand what caused your injury so you can correct a possible persistent problem.
Tips to avoiding and treating injuring a stoma:
1) Activities with a lot of friction and impact like combat sports (martial arts, karate, wrestling) should be avoided since they put the stoma at risk of damage, or to the skin surrounding it. Weight lifting and strenuous exercise are enjoyed by many ostomates, but should be discussed with your doctor if you’ve recently had surgery so you’re aware of any limitations (either physical or while healing) so you can be assured you won’t create an injury.
2) Be Sure You’re Using Your Ostomy Pouch System Appropriately – Using your appliances incorrectly increases risk of injury. If you have questions about how to use your ostomy supplies or a new product, ask an Ostomy nurse for assistance so you’ll get the most out of it and prevent hurting yourself!
3) Try Ostomy Armor – a belt and plate that you use over a stoma to protect both your stoma and the appliance. It’s perfect for playing sports or activities where external force is possible. It’s medicare approved for insurance reimbursement and can be worn on commercial air flights.
4) Cleanliness – If you’ve experienced an injury, keep the stoma and the area around it tidy and clean. Irrigate with Saline Solution (you can purchase this or make it yourself) and ostomy cleaning supplies that keep the area clean and fresh. There are also a number of skin protecting creams and products designed to keep stoma output and mucus from compromising the skin or the site of an injury/irritation. Spending the time and using the right products to keep clean will make you feel better, reduce odor and prevent infections and irritations from developing.
While most injuries can heal on their own, if you’re experiencing abnormalities and discomfort from a stoma that cause you pain and discomfort, you should talk with a doctor. No advice can always address your specific personal needs, nor is it worth your health to assume so! While these guidelines can help you, if you’re suffering from an injury that needs treatment, you should talk with your doctor.
Have you ever had an injury to your stoma? Have any more tips or stories to help others prevent them from occurring? Please leave your comments below!