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Where’s Your Ostomy – Awareness Video

From at Uncover Ostomy.

The Most Popular Ostomy Guide Posts

Over the years we’ve collected a number of informative posts and online resources to assist ostomates, their families, and practictioners. Here are links to some of our most popular content.

Hot Topic: Sex & Intimacy

Hot Topic: Traveling with an Ostomy

Hot Topic: Ostomate Lifestyles

Ostomy Supplies and More

Video from the Ostomy Lifestyle Swimwear and Under...

This event was held on November 2nd, 2011 at Birmingham Town Hall. Each year, Ostomy Lifestyle organizes the swimwear and underwear fashion show as one of their events to promote positive living with an ostomy. See their site to learn more about the models from the 2011 show as well as the Facebook page.

Hot, Cold, and Stoma – How Weather Affects An Osto...

The temperature and climate of the region you live in can have a game-changing affect on how you wear your ostomy appliances. Especially useful for traveling to new climates, or for those who live in temperate zones with extreme temperatures each season, an ostomate has to adapt to these new conditions to keep a consistent wear time and maintain the reliability of their ostomy appliances.

Here are some tips for managing your ostomy in warm and cold temperatures. (See sources/references at the bottom for more information on managing an ostomy.)

Hot Weather

SunLong, hot summer days might be great for barbecues and being outdoors, but can be a real nuisance for ostomates. Hot temperatures decrease the wear times by causing skin barriers to break down faster and excess moisture on the skin.

Here are some considerations for managing a stoma in hot climates:

1) Perspiration caused by heat gets between the skin and the barrier, which can cause adhesives to break down. If this is a problem with your adhesive, talk with your nurse and seek out something stronger and more reliable. You can also try an antiperspirant or powder around the ostomy location to keep from perspiration from building up.

2) If you have trouble with ostomy appliance leaks because of moisture, you can also try stoma paste or Eakin seals to create a stronger, more reliable seal.

4) Avoid using any Karaya rubber-based ostomy wafers in high heat conditions. This rubber material is soft and conformable, but in hot conditions it can break down and even melt. It’s best to use a synthetic wafer which tends to have a higher heat threshold.

5) The skin is more susceptible to breakdown when it is hot and moist. his includes the area where the ostomy appliance sits, which can form rashes because of the friction of the pouch against the skin combined with heat. An ostomy pouch cover can be work to soften this, and is also recommended for a more comfortable wear. You can typically find ostomy pouch covers in medical supply stores.

6) Due to sweating, it is especially important for Ostomates to drink more fluids to avoid dehydration.

7) Ostomates who exercise and are more active in the summer months will likely want to keep a variety of pouches, including ostomy mini-pouches and stronger, waterproof adhesives that won’t breakdown if you’re running or swimming. You may also prefer to use a Waterproof tape or elastic ostomy belt with a two-piece system to increase wear time and confidence.

Winter and Cold Weather

SnowThere is indeed more concern over heat and its affects on ostomy appliances than cold. Colder climates are actually far more ideal than excessively hot temperatures when it comes to ostomy appliances, but dry air can sometimes be an issue to cause or affect the skin, causing dryness and irritation.

A dry skin surface is actually the best condition for applying adhesives and ostomy appliances, but excessive dryness on any part of the skin (especially parts covered with adhesives and appliances…) are more susceptible to irritation.

A solution for dry air may be to try a low-cost humidifier indoors to increase the moisture in the air. Use moderation in how much humidity you increase indoors, however, as excess moisture can cause adhesives to loosen, and can also cause issues with mold in the home.

How much humidity is good? Sticking within a range of 30-50% relative humidity (measured with a hygrometer) is a good range to keep skin from getting too dry without overwhelming you or your home.

Do you have more Ostomy tips for ostomy pouches and different climate conditions? Have you dealt with climate conditions that changed the way you think and wear your ostomy appliances? Leave your comments below!

What is a Parastomal Hernia? (An Ostomy Hernia)

What is a Hernia?
A hernia is when there is a rip/tear in muscle tissue that causes a portion of the abdomen (particularly, the intestine) to bulge through. This causes pain when standing up, moving the abdomen, or any kind of tension on the abdomen including coughing, sneezing, laughing, bending over, picking up objects, etc.

What is a parastomal hernia?
Having a stoma can develop into an ostomy specific type of hernia called a parastomal hernia. Since a Stoma passes through the abdomen, it can compromise the strength of the muscular abdomen wall. These weakened muscles can come away from the stoma, weakening its integrity and causing the intestine to bulge.

A stoma hernia is typically not painful, but can be very uncomfortable and unnerving, not to mention more difficult to mange and care for. As the stoma grows, it can become more difficult to attach ostomy wafers and pouches. It can also eventually lead to intestinal twisting/kinking that can cause serious damage to the intestine by cutting off blood vessels. (This, of course, requires immediate medical attention as being left untreated can be very dangerous.)

What Causes Parastomal Hernia?
Coughing, sneezing, heavy lifting and being overweight all put pressure on the abdominal wall & a stoma. Over time, muscles can weaken to the point a stoma begins to protrude and push out due to the pressure of the guts behind it.

There are many possible origins for parastomal hernia to develop. Some are related to surgery and a poorly placed stoma or a developing infection around the border. Other causes are related to an individuals health, such as being overweight, heavy lifting, or any kind of physical strain, or a combination of these factors.

How common is parastomal hernia?
In the 1990′s, the United Ostomy Association found that a hernia is one of the most common complications for Ostomy patients. Ostomy hernias happen to about 30% of all stomas. It’s more common with Colostomy than Ileostomy and Urostomy.

How is Parastomal Hernia treated?
Surgery is the most common repair for any type of large hernia.

Typically, if the hernia is not recurring, doctors will recommend a Hernia Belt and appliance changes before recommending surgery. A hernia belt is designed for individuals with small hernias or those where surgery can be risky or further compromise one’s health. A hernia belt is a firm, wide belt that helps support the stoma and muscle tissue around it externally.

As for surgery, doctor opinions vary based on their preferences for proper care and an individual’s needs. There are two options for the surgeon:

  1. 1) To repair the muscle tissue around the stoma (either with stitching or mesh).
  2. 2) Create a new opening in a health spot and close off the old one.

In some cases, Option 1 isn’t applicable; either hernia is too large or the surgery is too risky. And some surgeons will choose to re-locate the stoma first and install mesh if the problem persists.

However, today, often a mesh is implanted instead of stitches. This is the ideal method of repairing a hernia.

A mesh is laid across the herniated muscle tissue, helping to hold the muscle together and increasing its strength & integrity. The mesh also speeds recovery times over other methods and and reinforces the tissue; patients can often be mobile again within a matter of days.

An Ostomy certainly increases the risk of a hernia. Discuss with a doctor and nurses for the facts and tips to manage your individual stoma – even if you do not recognize any pain. As with any hernia, this lessens the chances of developing a more cumbersome and large hernia requiring surgery.