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									Coping With Colostomy
Coping With Colostomy By Diane Griffith, HealthAtoZ writer

Your recovery is difficult enough to handle. When you're also dealing with a colostomy, the changes in your life can seem overwhelming. How do you adjust to this new way of life? Like any serious life change, it takes time and patience. And yes, it can be difficult and, at times, inconvenient. But many people have learned how to deal with colostomies so they can continue to travel, socialize with family and friends and do the things they love doing. What is colostomy? Colostomy is an opening into the colon from outside of the body. It provides a new path for waste material to leave the body after part of the colon has been removed. Some colostomies are temporary and can be reversed after your bowel has healed. In these cases, the bowel is not removed, but instead temporarily sewn up. Other colostomies are permanent, usually the result of colon or rectal disease. Cancer, diverticulitis and other conditions can create the need for colostomy. A pouch - also called a colostomy bag - is worn over the abdominal opening to collect wastes. This opening, called a stoma, is usually located on your left side, just below the belt line. Digestive problems With a colostomy, you can no longer control the passing of wastes, since you have no muscle control over the stoma. Gas, diarrhea and constipation can cause embarrassment. The best way to avoid these problems is to watch your diet. Avoid carbonated beverages (especially with meals) and foods like beans, nuts, peas and chocolate to help prevent gas. Also, chew food slowly to avoid swallowing air. Too many spicy foods, fruits and greens can cause diarrhea. So can things like dark chocolate and beer. Anxiety and stress can also have an effect. A large, drainable colostomy pouch is usually the best solution. Check with your doctor if diarrhea persists. Such foods as celery, nuts, eggs and rice can lead to constipation. Exercise, as well as fruit or fruit juice, can help alleviate the problem. After surgery, add a new food each day. If one food seems to affect you, don't completely rule it out. Try it several times, and if you decide it's causing problems, try smaller portions.

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Coping With Colostomy

Travel When traveling, carry twice as many stomal supplies as you need, and keep them in your hand luggage if you're flying. If the water is questionable where you're visiting, drink bottled water. Also use it for cleaning your stoma. If you're planning on flying, watch your diet beforehand. Cabin pressure can cause your bag to fill up with air, so avoiding gassy foods in advance will help ease the situation. Physical activity Once your stoma heals and your strength returns, you can resume normal activities. Avoiding karate and rough sports is probably a good idea - to protect the stoma - but swimming, basketball, tennis and just about all non-contact sports are harmless. The colostomy doesn't normally interfere with sexual function or pregnancy. You can still work at your normal occupation, with the exception of jobs that require heaving lifting. Support Specially trained personnel - Wound, Ostomy Continence Nurses - are available through most medical centers. They can teach you how to care for your colostomy and introduce you to the different types of colostomy pouches and other supplies available. In time, you'll learn what works best for you. Your nurse or physician can tell you about support groups that can help you cope with your new challenges.

Generated by Clearspace on 2008-09-04-04:00 2


								
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