Sometimes, those who have an ostomy could experience pain or other issues with the stoma. Most of the time, the issue can be identified and solved with a trip to the doctor or even with a phone call. There are a few common reasons as to why someone could experience pain at the stoma site. Any significant pain should be treated as an emergency.
If the appliance associated with the stoma doesn’t fit as it should, then a leak could occur. This is a common issue that will likely occur with most people who have an ostomy. The hole on the bag needs to fit securely to the stoma. If it’s loose, then you might need a smaller size. Any gaps can cause the waste to leak from around the edge of the bag. This can quickly cause irritation and infection if the device isn’t tightened.
These are growths that are usually benign that begin growing around the stoma. You’ll usually notice them start as small bumps that can be red in color. While granulomas are usually nothing more than a bother, they can sometimes begin to bleed when you clean around the stoma. Sometimes, the bleeding that occurs can cause the appliance to move around, which can result in a leak. If you notice that they aren’t getting better, then you should have them checked by your doctor as there are medications that can help.
Many ulcers develop because of medications that you might take or because of your underlying diagnosis. You could experience quite a bit of pain and redness. Some ulcers get bigger over time and need to be addressed by your doctor as surgery could be needed to remove them.
When the stoma shrinks back to where it’s below the surface of the skin, it’s called a retraction. This can occur due to being overweight or because of the shape and overall design of the stoma itself. If you notice a retraction, your doctor can look to see if there’s another device that would fit better. An option would be a convex device that doesn’t curve against the skin. A prolapse is a similar issue but involves the stoma extending past the skin.
A common issue with a colostomy is constipation. You’ll likely experience abdominal pain and difficulty passing stool as it can be dry and hard instead of loose. You can decrease the risk of constipation by eating more fiber and drinking more water. There are also a few medications that you can try before you see your doctor. If there is no movement after about three days, then you want to contact the office to see what can be done.
Sometimes, foods and medications can cause a blockage. Scar tissue can also cause a blockage to occur after surgery. A sign of a blockage is that the pouch connected to your stoma isn’t filling as it should, especially after eating. Left untreated, a blockage could cause an infection to occur as well as severe cramping. You could also experience nausea and vomiting. This is an issue that needs immediate attention if you’re unable to get the blockage to go away on your own.
This occurs when a portion of the intestine pushes through the stoma. A small lump is usually the first sign, but it can quickly grow as the intestine pushes out. A garment can be worn to try to push the hernia back in place.