A colostomy and an ileostomy are two kinds of surgery. These surgeries are done when a part of your intestine is diseased or damaged and doesn't work right. The surgeon makes a hole in your belly and connects part of the small or large intestine to that opening in the skin. This opening is called the stoma.
After you have a colostomy or ileostomy, waste leaves your body through the stoma instead of the anus. There is no muscle around the stoma, so you are not able to control when waste or gas passes out of your body. To collect the waste, an odor-proof plastic pouch (an ostomy pouch) is connected to the stoma and held to your skin with an adhesive.
Last Revised: September 30, 2010
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
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