The Ultimate Ostomy Explainer [infographic]
Answering your friends’ frequently-asked questions, so you don’t have to
Finnegan Medical Supply knows there are moments you just don't have the time, energy, or will to explain your ostomy to other people. Yes, your friends, family, and co-workers are naturally curious and just trying to show their support, but you have a life to live and, sometimes, you don't want to stop and tell a 20-minute story about your ostomy. We made this easy-to-understand infographic for those times, when you'd rather have someone else do the explaining for you.
Share this across your social media to raise awareness and make sure people know just what you mean when you say: “I have an ostomy.”
Print it off. Tape it to your door. Put it on a t-shirt. When someone approaches you with questions, smile and point to the infographic. Go about your business. Live your best life. #GetYourBellyOut.
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The Ultimate Ostomy Explainer: Answering your friends’ frequently-asked questions, so you don’t have to!
1) What is an ostomy?
An ostomy is an opening in the abdomen — created through surgery — that connects an organ to the outside of the body. Its purpose is to divert body waste away from malfunctioning or non-functioning parts of the digestive or urinary system.
2) Are there different types of ostomies?
Yes, the three most common types of ostomy are: A colostomy, which connects the colon to the outside of the body, diverting stool from diseased or damaged sections of the digestive tract. An ileostomy, which connects the small intestine to the outside of the body. As part of this surgery, the colon and rectum are often removed. A urostomy, which diverts urine from a diseased or damaged section of the urinary tract. With this surgery, the bladder is sometimes removed.
3) What types of illnesses or injuries lead to ostomy surgery?
Common reasons for colostomy
• Crohn’s disease
• Cancer of the bowels
• Obstruction of the bowels
• Trauma & injury
• Bowel incontinence
Common Reasons for ileostomy
• Crohn’s disease
• Ulcerative colitis
• Familial adenomatous polyposis
• Total colonic Hirschsprung’s disease
• Colorectal cancer
Common Reasons for urostomy
• Bladder cancer
• Spinal cord injuries
• Malfunction of the bladder
• Birth defects
• Spina Bifida
4) How does an ostomate go to the bathroom?
People with ostomies have to urinate or defecate from their stomas into a disposable pouch that rests on the outside of their bodies. Technology has come so far, though, that ostomy supplies are rarely noticeable to other people. Depending on what type of pouch system an ostomate uses, the pouches are either drained into a toilet, rinsed, then reused for one or two days, or they are disposed of once filled. Some ostomates have control of their output, others do not.
5) What type of limitations does an ostomate have?
Not many. The majority of ostomates live happy, productive, active lives like anyone else. Most of the time, you wouldn’t even know a person was an ostomate, unless they told you so. Ostomates run marathons. Ostomates swim. Ostomates climb mountains. Ostomates have sex. Ostomates travel. Ostomates SCUBA dive. Ostomates have kids. Ostomates act. Ostomates model fashionable clothes. Ostomates do just about anything you can imagine. They do have a few minor restrictions on diet and specific types of strenuous or high-impact activity, but, other than that ... the sky is the limit.
6) Additional facts & definitions:
• Some ostomies are temporary. Some ostomies are permanent.
• An “ostomate” is an individual who has undergone an ostomy.
• A “stoma” is an artificial opening, especially in the abdominal wall, made in surgical procedures.
• There are more than 700,000 ostomates in the Unites States, according to the United Ostomy Association of America.
• American surgeons create an estimated 120,000 new stomas each and every year, according to the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons.
For more information on ostomies, visit: www.finneganmedicalsupply.com/blog | www.ostomy.org | www.fascrs.org | uncoverostomy.org | stolencolon.com | thegreatbowelmovement.org