An ostomy is a surgically created opening made into the bowel or urinary tract for the purpose of eliminating waste materials (feces/urine) from the body.
The digestive tract is a hollow tube which stretches from the mouth to the anus and is lined with mucous membrane. As food travels through the system, enzymes are added which break down the food into a form that can be absorbed and used by our bodies. It is important to remember that digestion and absorption of nutrients takes place in the small bowel. The main function of the colon is to extract fluid and salt from the stool and act as a storage organ.
An ostomy is created to overcome problems with the bowel or bladder which are caused by injury, disease or congenital defect. All ostomies allow for the discharge of normal waste through a surgically created opening (stoma) in the abdomen. Most individuals who wear an ostomy wear a pouch to cover the stoma and to collect body waste. (People living with an ostomy are sometimes referred to as “ostomates”)