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What Are the Most Common Ostomy Problems?

Ostomy surgery can be life-changing, but it also brings challenges. Common issues include skin irritation, leakage, and blockages, which can be managed with proper care and technique. Pouching system mishaps are also frequent, but with the right guidance, they can be minimized. Want to navigate these concerns with confidence? Discover how to enhance your ostomy care journey in our comprehensive guide.
Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell

Most ostomy problems involve swelling, bleeding, or the development of a blockage. Infection is also common, especially if proper hygiene is not maintained. Symptoms that may indicate the presence of ostomy problems often include excessive intestinal gas, constipation, or diarrhea. Skin problems on or around the ostomy site may include swelling, bleeding, or tenderness. Treatment depends on the direct cause of the individualized ostomy problems and may include dietary changes, the use of medications, or surgical intervention.

Skin irritation and infection are common ostomy problems and should be reported to a doctor for further evaluation. Mild irritation is to be expected, but severe or unusual symptoms such as swelling, redness, or tenderness may indicate the presence of an infection, especially if fever accompanies these symptoms. Excessive or continuous bleeding could indicate the presence of a severe complication and should be reported to a doctor immediately. Continuous drainage from the ostomy site that lasts longer than a couple of hours should be brought to the attention of a doctor.

An increased water intake is recommended for individuals who have had ostomy surgery.
An increased water intake is recommended for individuals who have had ostomy surgery.

An intestinal blockage is among the most serious potential ostomy problems. Symptoms may include excessive gas, vomiting, or abdominal pain. Constipation, diarrhea, or alternating bouts of both may indicate the presence of a blockage. Without appropriate treatment, an intestinal blockage can be fatal. Additional surgery is almost always necessary to correct this issue, and the patient may need to spend several days in a hospital setting for close observation.

Patients with intestinal blockages may experience nausea and vomiting.
Patients with intestinal blockages may experience nausea and vomiting.

Treatment methods vary according to the individual ostomy problems. Proper hygiene may be able to help prevent skin irritation or infection in many cases. If an infection does occur, a combination of oral and topical antibiotics is usually quite effective. The doctor or other members of the medical staff can help the patient with any questions or concerns involving hygiene and proper care of the ostomy site if this seems to be a contributing factor.

Symptoms that may indicate the presence of ostomy problems may include excessive intestinal gas.
Symptoms that may indicate the presence of ostomy problems may include excessive intestinal gas.

Dietary changes can often help to prevent blockages and other ostomy problems relating to the digestive process. A diet high in fiber and increased water intake are generally recommended for those who have had ostomy surgery. Over-the-counter or prescription medications can help to control nausea, constipation, or diarrhea. In cases of severe ostomy problems, surgery is often necessary to correct any problems. Any questions or concerns about problems with the ostomy should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional on an individual basis.

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    • An increased water intake is recommended for individuals who have had ostomy surgery.
      By: koszivu
      An increased water intake is recommended for individuals who have had ostomy surgery.
    • Patients with intestinal blockages may experience nausea and vomiting.
      By: Piotr Marcinski
      Patients with intestinal blockages may experience nausea and vomiting.
    • Symptoms that may indicate the presence of ostomy problems may include excessive intestinal gas.
      By: 7activestudio
      Symptoms that may indicate the presence of ostomy problems may include excessive intestinal gas.
    • Symptoms of an intestinal blockage may include abdominal pain.
      By: Nikki Zalewski
      Symptoms of an intestinal blockage may include abdominal pain.
    • An abdominal X-ray may be used to diagnose intestinal blockages.
      By: Ljupco Smokovski
      An abdominal X-ray may be used to diagnose intestinal blockages.
    • Symptoms that may indicate the presence of ostomy problems may include fever.
      By: Photographee.eu
      Symptoms that may indicate the presence of ostomy problems may include fever.
    • Ostomy problems may require a surgical intervention.
      By: Tyler Olson
      Ostomy problems may require a surgical intervention.