North Notts Stoma Support Group

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New Ostomate?

So, you wake up from your operation, be it pre-planned or emergency surgery, to find you have inherited an addition to your abdomen.

Scared? Don't be. This small addition probably saved your life or has been put there to improve your quality of life.

The most important thing to know is DO NOT make any changes without consulting your stoma nurse first.

Listed below are a few questions and concerns you may have in the early days of life with a stoma:

Q: I thought stomas were just for 'old' people?

Individuals of all ages have stomas from new borns to children to adults.

Q: I don't know anyone else who has a stoma?

You may know dozens of people with stomas but just don't realise it. Around 1 in 500 people in the UK have a stoma but like 'normal' toilet activities, it's not something they like to talk about.

Q: I have a clear pouch and I can see all the contents?

This is to aid the medical team so they can monitor activity. When you leave hospital you can have a covered pouch so the contents are no longer on show.

Q: I don't think that I have the confidence to change my pouch myself?

Your stoma nurse will help you in the hospital but you will be surprised how quickly you can do it yourself with practice.

Q: I have seen a couple of different size and shape pouches. What's the difference?

There are dozens of different appliances and accessories and your stoma nurse will help you to decide which ones are suitable for you. They can easily be changed to a more suitable product if your needs change, again with the support and advice from your stoma nurse.

Q: I have been told to get my supplies from a specific company, are there others?

Yes, there are many suppliers in the UK and they can all supply products from all the manufacturers so you are not tied in any way.

Q: Will I get all the supplies I need on prescription?

Yes you will, but dont worry about the extra costs. You will almost certainly qualify for a medical exemption certificate. Please speak to your stoma nurse or GP to apply.

Q: Will I be able to exercise and take part in sporting activities ever again?

Yes you will in time. Abdominal surgery in general is extremely invasive and even when your scars have healed your internal wounds take longer. ALWAYS seek advice from your consultant or stoma nurse.

Q: Someone mentioned hernias to me. Will I get one?

Unfortunately following abdominal surgery your core muscles have been compromised so it is a possibility. Once again, speak to your stoma nurse for advice on support wear to help in trying to prevent developing one.

Q: How can I gain the strength back in my core muscles?

Many people have success rebuilding their core strength through yoga, pilates or gentle exercise. Even walking will help but again, speak to your stoma nurse or consultant before starting any exercise program.

Q: Will I be able to use disabled toilets when I'm away from home?

Yes, you can purchase an NKS RADAR key from Disability Rights UK. The National Key Scheme (NKS) previously known as the Royal Association for Disability Rights (RADAR) scheme was developed as some public toilets designed for disabled people had to be locked to prevent damage or misuse. Thankfully many disabled toilets are now being given new signs to rename them as 'Accessible Toilets' as not every disibility is visible. Even though you may not feel like you need to use a disabled/accessible toilet they are generally designed better to make it easier to change or attend to your appliance. As well as a toilet they usually have a sink, mirror, shelf, medical supplies disposal bin, etc.