Question: Concerns About Stoma Protrusion After Colostomy and Repair Surgeries

I underwent colostomy surgery in December 2020 and had a follow-up surgery in August 2021 to remove part of my colon. Recently, I’ve noticed my stoma protruding, especially after normal activities. Lying down and applying an ice pack helps it retract. Is this a common experience, and are there recommended steps to manage this condition?

Response: Understanding and Addressing Stoma Prolapse

Stoma prolapse is a relatively common occurrence among individuals with an ostomy, particularly those with a loop ostomy. The extent of the protrusion varies, and your approach of lying down and gently encouraging it to retract is appropriate. To prevent recurrent prolapses, consider a hernia belt with a special prolapse belt attachment, especially designed for colostomies. It’s advisable to consult with an experienced ostomy nurse for a proper fitting of the hernia belt, as not all types are suitable for every individual.

However, it’s crucial to monitor the situation closely. If you experience severe pain, persistent prolapse, or symptoms indicating bowel obstruction, seek immediate medical attention. In such cases, the condition could be more serious, like intussusception, where the bowel folds over itself, leading to obstruction and potential tissue death.

Significant prolapse or symptoms of bowel obstruction warrant an urgent consultation with your surgeon. While minor prolapses can often be managed with compressive rings available from ostomy supply companies, extensive or complicated cases may require surgical intervention. It’s not uncommon for multiple revisions or repairs to be necessary, especially in emergency surgeries where initial conditions are less than ideal.

In summary, while some degree of stoma prolapse can be managed conservatively, it’s important to stay vigilant and seek professional advice if complications arise. Your stoma’s health is crucial for your overall well-being post-surgery.

Warm Regards,

Karen Bruton, RN BScN MCISc-WH WOCC(C)
Nurse Education Consultant – FNIB
Indigenous Services Canada, Government of Canada


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