The first week after your surgery your stoma may be tender and may be dark or bruised, swollen or blister-like or have spongy or yellow tissue around it.
This tissue will peel off in a few days and start to look more normal. You’ll also notice stitches attaching it to your skin. These will be absorbed on their own and the swelling should go down in three or four weeks.
A normal healthy stoma looks soft, moist, red or pink and shiny. The skin around your stoma should look like the rest of the skin on your abdomen. It should be free of rashes, redness, scratches and bruising. If the stoma becomes irritated, get in touch with your stoma nurse, as there are products to help.
Your nurses in the hospital or home care will teach you how to empty, clean and change your new urine collection pouch and how to set up a night collection system.
Once your stoma size has stabilized, you’ll determine the correct size for your urostomy bag, using the stoma measuring devices supplied by the ET nurse and the ostomy supply companies in their sample kits.
If your stoma is round, experienced patients recommend using an external bag with an opening pre-cut to size. This avoids trying to precision cut a round hole – not easy and certainly not fun! Many of us find that a one-piece appliance (another name for the urostomy bag, also called a pouch) is easier to handle than a two-piece unit with a flange and then adding the bag, which is much bulkier. But try them both.
Another tip – for men, suspenders are a lot easier on the appliance and the area around the stoma than a belt.
Again, this is something that you will try and work with and find what combination best works for you.
Supplies are available at home healthcare or other medical supply stores. Experiment with different ostomy products and contact the providers as they have patient support personnel who can help. Major suppliers include Hollister (www.hollister.com/canada/ostomy/) and Coloplast (www.coloplast.ca/Ostomy/). Both companies offer free samples of their products.