Monday, July 12, 2010

Ostomy and How To Prevent It

For many of us, as long as they function well, we tend to forget about our internal organs until there is a problem. Unfortunately, in many cases, when we begin having problems with our internal organs it is too late to save them, resulting in surgical procedures such as ostomy to remove them.

Ostomy is a surgical procedure that creates an opening in the wall of the abdomen, called a stoma, to allow waste to leave the body after the removal of all or part of the small intestine, colon, rectum or bladder. About 1 million people in the U.S. live with ostomies, and more than 75,000 ostomy operations are performed each year.

For instance, a defective or diseased colon or rectum will necessitate a Colostomy surgical procedure to remove the affected portion of the colon or rectum, and attach the healthy portion of the colon to the stoma to allow waste to leave the body.

Where the entire colon and rectum are defective or diseased, an Ileostomy surgical procedure is performed to remove both the colon and rectum, and attach the bottom of the small intestine, called ileum to the stoma to provide an outlet for body waste.

An Urostomy surgical procedure will be performed where the bladder is defective or diseased and cannot carry out its normal function of disposing of urine from the body. Urostomy attaches the ureters, the tubes that carry urine to the bladder, to either the small intestine or the stoma.

These are the three major surgical procedures of Ostomy. They leave an opening in the wall of the abdomen that has to be managed with what is called the Pouching System. It is a device used to collect diverted body waste. It may include a one-piece or two-piece system with a collection pouch and a skin barrier to protect the skin from body waste.

At intervals, the pouches which are attached to the body at the stoma, are changed or emptied depending on whether a one-piece or two-piece system is used. There is also the Irrigation System that consists of an irrigation bag with connecting tubes or catheter, a stoma cone and irrigation sleeve. The irrigation system cleans waste directly from the colon through the stoma.

For all ostomy patients, the diversion of intestinal and urinal waste is a major change in their lives. Some take the change as a challenge to demonstrate their ability to live through adversities; while others are devastated by the change in their body's appearance and function that it negatively affects their self-esteem.

After the tears and acute grief have subsided, the ostomy patient will eventually begin to adapt to the reality of living with ostomy in four recovery phases: shock, denial, acknowledgment and resolution.

If the recovery phases are going well, the ostomy patient is then able to deal with the psychological concerns of ostomy, which involves self-image and self-esteem issues, confidence in providing self-care, and actual or perceived rejection by friends and loved ones.

Having read all this, wouldn't life be much easier if we start early in life, or right now, to protect our colon, rectum and bladder from becoming infected with diseases that will necessitate their removal? If you agree, as I believe you do, a balanced diet and regular age-appropriate physical exercise is a good start.

As always when it comes to the body and its organs, the cells that give life to them are the major players we should strive to keep healthy. Once the cells are healthy and performing optimally, the organs they give form to will also be healthy, and in turn perform their normal function to keep us healthy.

The days are coming, if they are not already here, when Medical Science will put less emphasis on curing diseases with pharmaceutical drugs and surgery, and more emphasis on preventing diseases by providing the human cells with the right types of micronutrients and oxygen to keep them healthy and performing at their optimal levels. If nothing else, the rising costs of providing health-care for ostomy patients and others will accelerate that change.

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