Everyday Ostomy Terms You Should Know

Are you a candidate for ostomy surgery but don’t know much about it yet?

New ostomy patients will encounter at least a few terms they’ve never heard previously. Like any other medical topic, there’s a little vocabulary comprehension, but don’t worry because it’s not overwhelming. We thought it might help to go over some of the common ostomy terms before you (or someone you know) has this procedure.

Everyday Ostomy Terms

  • Ostomy – What is an ostomy? It’s a procedure that involves a surgeon creating an artificial opening (stoma) in the pelvic region to help redirect the digestive process. There are three ways to do this, each of which allow patients an alternative to natural digestion and waste processing after having bladder, colon, rectal, or other surgeries.
  • Colostomy – This allows the surgeon to re-route the large intestine to discharge bowel contents out of the new stoma. It’s common to have this as either a temporary or permanent measure following colon surgery.
  • Ileostomy – This is like colostomy, but involves the small intestines (ileum) following colon/rectal disease or damage.
  • Urostomy – Finally, the urostomy procedure diverts urine from normal bladder processing. This is a common way to address a removed bladder or other extensive urinary surgeries.

Those are the basic ostomy terms. Now, let’s cover the vocabulary we use for ostomy management. This will include the various ostomy-care supplies like pouches, wafers, and applicators.

Ostomy Care Product Terms

  • Pouch – The pouch or bag is what you would use to collect discharge, which exits from the stoma. These are designed for single usage or drainable re-usage. You can also get them in one piece or two-piece versions at various sizes.
  • Skin Barrier (Wafer) – There are many design variations, but barriers help form a cushion and seal between your skin and the pouch. It protects the often sensitive skin around the stoma, which is critical for avoiding infection, rashes, and other complications.
  • Wear Time – This is a general term referring to how long you can wear a pouch system before needing to drain or replace it. It depends a lot on a patient’s lifestyle, including how much you eat and exercise. The typical wear time ranges between three to five days.
  • Applicator – Cymed MicroSkin makes a special applicator designed to facilitate fastening supplies to your stoma. It’s a mirror device that makes it easier to see whether you’ve gotten a sufficient seal, especially at the bottom of the stoma.

We hope this shines some light on a few terms you may not have known. If you’d like to learn more about ostomy basics, consider our previous post, You’re Getting an Ostomy – Now What??

You can also explore all the ostomy products we’ve mentioned by browsing the Cymed MicroSkin website. We produce hypoallergenic materials for ostomy care, which make everything easier, regardless of activity level.

Feel free to reach us anytime for further assistance by calling 800-582-0707 or filling out the form below.