What is a colostomy bag?

A colostomy bag is a removable, disposable bag used to collect waste from the human body.

Usually removable and disposable, a colostomy bag is used to collect and dispose of waste from the human body. It is attached to a stoma, which is an opening created when a person has surgery to send waste out of the body through the abdomen instead of through the rectum. The stoma runs from the inner abdomen to the outside of the body and deposits waste in the colostomy bag. A person who has such a bag can empty the garbage bag and attach a clean bag once more.

During a colostomy, part of the transverse colon is brought through the abdominal wall, usually to be attached to a colostomy bag.

An individual who uses a colostomy bag does so after a colostomy. During colostomy surgery, the surgeon makes an incision in the large intestine, also called the colon, and diverts the intestine through the abdomen. This allows waste to exit the body through the hole in the abdomen instead of the anus.

There are many conditions that can result in the need for a colostomy. Among these conditions are necrotizing enterocolitis, which is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, deformation of the anal opening, and nerve conditions that prevent the bowel from working as it should. Sometimes colostomy surgery is done when a patient has an infection or injury and the colon needs time to heal. For example, a person may need a colostomy after a colon injury from a gunshot or stabbing. Often, a colostomy is a life-saving surgery; without it, some patients would die.

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An infected abdominal stoma can cause nausea and vomiting in the patient.

In many cases, a colostomy bag is just a temporary measure. After the patient heals, he can go back to the surgeon to reverse the colostomy and get back to the normal way of removing fecal matter from the body. In other cases, however, a person may need a permanent colostomy, using a colostomy bag for the rest of their life. This can occur, for example, when muscles important for controlling the bowels are removed during cancer surgery. Without these muscles in good working order, a person cannot control when fecal matter leaves their body, and a colostomy is necessary.

Having to wear a colostomy bag represents a big adjustment for most people. An individual with such a bag must carefully monitor the medications he takes and the foods he eats to avoid constipation, diarrhea, and abnormal amounts of gas. Many colostomy bags are designed to lie flat and remain inconspicuous under the patient’s clothing, however, allowing the patient to go about their daily activities without embarrassment. Also, people with these bags can often get on with their work and their sex lives with just minor adjustments.

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