Stoma Length Change

July, 2017

Question

Is it normal for a stoma to change in length over time?

Response

No two stomas are exactly the same. But, all stomas do share similarities. They have the same basic shape – round or oval, and most stomas either protrude from the skin several centimetres, or are flush with the skin.

No matter what the shape, it is very important for you to consistently evaluate your stoma and the skin around it for signs of irritation, this will help you prevent future skin issues/breakdown.

After surgery it will take time for your stoma to reach its final size. You will notice that your stoma length changes when you move in certain ways. The little changes are normal for example, when you cough, it might go in as your stomach muscles tighten, it will then return to its regular length. A Stoma change like this is normal.

However, if your stoma is becoming longer and the length is impacting the fit of your pouch, it is important that you contact an Enterostomal Therapy Nurse (E.T. Nurse), for professional advice and support. You may be experiencing a prolapsed stoma. Enterostomal Therapy nursing specializes in wound, ostomy and continence care. An E.T. Nurse is a registered nurse with advanced specialized knowledge and clinical skills in wound, ostomy and continence care. E.T. Nurses work closely with ostomates and have the experience to assist them.

To find an E.T. Nurse in or near your location see the following instructions below:

Go to Ostomycanada.ca website (this site). You will find the menu at the top bar, click on “Support”, there you will then see a drop down menu, find and click on “Find an E.T. Nurse”, follow the instructions on that page.

What is a prolapsed stoma?

A prolapse of the stoma occurs when the bowel protrudes through the stomal opening in the skin to a greater extent than was anticipated. Although when this first happens it could be very distressing, it is usually not serious. However, it’s important that it is reviewed by an E.T. Nurse. There are many causes for a prolapse to occur.

There are a number of ways of managing a prolapse and your E.T. Nurse will advise you on how you should look after the stoma, and give you help in reducing the swelling. She/He will also advise you on which specialist pouches are available, and the use of abdominal support garments.