An ostomy is a surgical procedure in which a temporary [or in some cases, permanent] opening is made in the skin, known as a stoma. The stoma is a pathway from an internal organ outside of your abdomen. It is a common procedure, but one that can have implications for the rest of your life and how you live it. This page will tell you what you can expect from life in the aftermath of an ostomy. You may need one for all manner of reasons, but here’s what you can expect.

Size of Your Stoma

Your stoma will, after your surgery, for a few weeks at the very least look quite swollen, and it may ooze blood. This is very normal and expected after a stoma operation, and you mustn’t be concerned. You will have stitches around the outside of your stoma – these may be dissolvable, or they may be removed by your nurse a few weeks later. Over a period of up to three months, your stoma will reduce in size considerably.

Ostomy Bags

Ostomy surgery makes openings in the inside of your abdomen. There are a few ostomy types, including a colostomy and an ileostomy, the former of which is an opening in the large intestine, and the latter the small intestine. They help with gas and bodily waste to leave the body without passing through your rectum. There is also a third type, a urostomy, which can help for urine leave your body without passing through your bladder. In all ostomies, your waste is collected in a pouch that is worn outside of your body. 

For many, these bags are a deterrent to wanting the surgery, but unfortunately, the surgery is often a necessity. You can find an external cover for a colostomy bag, which will prevent other people from seeing it, as that is often a concern for many people. You will have to change your pouch regularly, but a doctor will advise you on doing that.

Ostomy Surgery

Pain Management

Of course, as is the nature with any surgical procedure, there will be pain after the surgery. Your pain can be managed, however. Your healthcare provider will likely prescribe you with a series of medications to help your pain and negative symptoms go away. Pain management can often be very effective for stoma surgery.


As is the nature of the surgery, there is the potential for complications to arise. However, these complications can be dealt with very swiftly, and your healthcare provider will keep you under supervision until you are no longer at risk of complications. One of the most common complications associated with stoma surgery is infection. However, these infections are rarely fatal, although there is always that you could develop sepsis, which is a condition that, if not addressed immediately, can make you very, very unwell and bring you to death’s door. Complications are rare nowadays, however.

With the help of this page, you know what to expect in the aftermath of stoma surgery. These surgical procedures are often without complications owing to the advancements in healthcare and technology. Hopefully, you will never need one.