Important Facts About Your Stoma

Knowledge is a powerful thing. The more you know about your ostomy, the more you’ll feel in control and the more quickly you’ll adjust to your new daily routine.

Important Facts about Your Stoma

Learn important facts about your stoma.

Of course, an ostomy changes things. But, a little knowledge can help you feel more in control. Here are some important facts that will help you accept and live comfortably with your stoma. 

Signs of a healthy stoma

Your stoma will probably be swollen after surgery. It may take several weeks or months for it to shrink to its permanent size. While stomas come in a variety of sizes and shapes, a healthy stoma is:

  • Pink or red in colour
  • Slightly moist
  • Not painful
  • Quick to bleed when rubbed, bumped or washed, but the bleeding should resolve in a short amount of time (if the bleeding continues, contact your stoma care nurse or healthcare professional)

Other important ostomy facts

  • Stoma drainage – Your output should empty into your pouch without leaking under the skin barrier. If you have an urostomy and the urine from your stoma is bloody, contact your stoma care nurse.
  • Temporary stomas – If you have a temporary stoma, it may be loop or double-barrel. A loop ostomy may have a supporting device (called a rod or bridge) which is normally removed after about two weeks. Be sure to remind your healthcare professional if it has not been removed after this amount of time.
  • Peristomal skin – The skin around the stoma is called the peristomal skin. This skin should be intact without irritation, rash or redness. It should look like skin anywhere else on your body. A properly fitting skin barrier with the right barrier formulation helps protect the peristomal skin from being irritated by drainage. Get into the habit of cleaning the peristomal skin each time you change your barrier. For most people, water works just fine. If you discover red, broken or moist skin around your ostomy, contact your stoma care nurse.
  • Types of pouching systems – The pouch you use depends on what surgery you had. For each type of stoma, there are different pouches and a number of manufacturers offer a wide range of product options. Your stoma care nurse can be a valuable resource for finding the pouching system that suits your ostomy and your lifestyle.

Here are some general guidelines:

Type of ostomy surgery

Recommended pouch


Drainable pouch


Urostomy pouch


Drainable or closed pouch, depending on your needs

Now you know more about this new part of your life. And, as you continue to live life with an ostomy, you’ll learn even more, helping you feel more comfortable and in control.

Download the full pdf booklet: Living with an Ostomy: Home & Work Life