Diagnosis and Decision-making

Charting Your Course: Navigating Diagnosis and Decision-making for Colostomy


When dealing with a health issue that requires a colostomy, important choices start with doctors suggesting an ostomy. From the first advice to actually deciding to go ahead with the procedure, it’s vital to grasp and navigate the steps involved. This article will look at the important parts of diagnosis and decision-making when it comes to having a colostomy.

Receiving the Ostomy Recommendation

Receiving the suggestion for a colostomy usually starts with advice from a healthcare provider. This suggestion comes when a medical condition, like colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or trauma, requires diverting or removing part of the colon. Understanding this advice is the first step in deciding what to do.

Doctors, like gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons, and NSWOC (Nurses specialized in wound, Ostomy and continence) are crucial at this point. They’ll give detailed information about the condition, why a colostomy could help, and any other options or risks. Talking openly with your healthcare team, asking questions, and making sure you understand everything is really important.

Consultations with Healthcare Professionals

Consultations with healthcare professionals are a crucial aspect of the decision-making process. These specialists possess the expertise to guide you through the complexities of your medical condition and the potential benefits of a colostomy. During these consultations, you can expect:

  • Medical Evaluation: An in-depth assessment of your medical history, current condition, and the necessity for a colostomy.

  • Treatment Options: Discussion of alternative treatments and their advantages and disadvantages.

  • Stoma Location: Determination of the optimal location for the stoma on your abdomen, taking into account factors like lifestyle and clothing preferences.

  • Mental and Emotional Support: Providing psychological support to help you cope with the emotional challenges associated with the diagnosis and potential ostomy.

Decision to Proceed with an Ostomy

The decision to proceed with a colostomy is a deeply personal one, influenced by medical necessity, lifestyle considerations, and emotional factors. Here are key points to consider when making this decision:

  • Medical Necessity: Consider the severity of your medical condition and the recommendation from your healthcare team. A colostomy may be a life-saving intervention in many cases.

  • Quality of Life: Reflect on how the condition affects your daily life. A colostomy can lead to improved health and well-being by alleviating symptoms or pain.

  • Lifestyle and Independence: Assess how a colostomy may impact your daily routines, hobbies, and activities. With the right knowledge and support, many individuals with colostomies lead active lives.

  • Emotional Preparedness: Understand the emotional challenges that may arise during the transition to life with an ostomy. Seek support from healthcare professionals, support groups, and loved ones.

  • Support System: Evaluate the support available from family and friends. Their understanding and encouragement can significantly ease the transition.

  • Questions to consider asking your health professional:

    • What specific medical condition or issues make an ostomy surgery necessary for my situation?
    • Are there alternative treatments or procedures that I should consider before opting for an ostomy?
    • What are the potential benefits of having an ostomy in my case?
    • Can you explain the potential risks or complications associated with ostomy surgery?
    • How will having an ostomy affect my daily life, activities, and overall well-being?
    • Are there different types of ostomy procedures, and which one is recommended for me?
    • What kind of care and lifestyle adjustments will be required after the surgery?
    • How long is the recovery period, and what can I expect during this time?
    • Are there support groups or resources available to help me cope with the emotional and practical aspects of living with an ostomy?
    • Will I need any specialized follow-up care or ongoing medical attention after the surgery?


In conclusion, the journey to a colostomy begins with guidance from healthcare professionals and involves considering the medical reasons, how it fits into your life, and your emotional readiness. Opting for an ostomy can be a challenging decision, and depending on the your diagnosis it has the potential to contribute to improved well being and a better quality of life. By maintaining open communication with your healthcare team and seeking emotional support you can make informed choices.

Ostomy Canada Society Inc. is not an organization of medical professionals. The information provided on our website is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

It is crucial to consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including your physician or a Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy, and Continence (NSWOC), before making any decisions about your health. Every individual’s medical condition is unique, and what may be suitable for one person may not be appropriate for another.

Ostomy Canada Society Inc. does not endorse or recommend specific medical treatments, procedures, products, or opinions mentioned on the website. Reliance on any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.

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