Many patients with a stoma don’t know how to take care of it, and some nurses don’t either. Many nurses will even say that they’ve encountered patients that needed ostomies, but they don’t know how to take care of the skin and the stoma that is there. the lack of this information can make it stressful for the nurse and cause the family and patients to lose confidence in the nurse that is practicing. 

Here, we’ll discuss the stomas, complications that result from this, and problems with peristomal skin that should be mentioned. This does provide information that is brief and exhaustive on the management of this, but it doesn’t replace the need to consult someone to help better understand the stoma and the problems resulting from it.

When it comes to a stoma, you need to know how it should look normally. It should be “budded” and protrude out a little bit.  It may have some blood vessels that are dark pink to red. The surface of this should be moist and warm, and the tissue is consistent to that of lips.

The skin around it should look like the rest of the abdominal skin, and if discolored, it will definitely create problems.  It might be a little bit reddened if the patient has a darker skin tone, but normally it shouldn’t be. Also, there shouldn’t be any lesions of any sort on there.

This is a part of the patient, so you should definitely look at the color. If it’s blue, that’s hypoxia.  If they’re anemic, it might be a dull pink.  Normally, it should be a normal pink to red color, so make sure that you take some time and look at it.

Stoma complications do happen, and it’s important to watch for these too. The biggest one to keep in mind is a stoma edema, which is common after surgery. This takes on a pinkish color that is translucent, and fluid-filled in appearance. This does subside over 6-8 weeks or so.  The tissue is fragile and it can lacerated or scraped when cleaned down, and pouch cleansing along with removal does happen. It’s very important to accommodate the stoma by cleaning it slightly and using a skin barrier that’s a bit larger than normal at first.  You should also look at the stoma and see if there is some color change.

Some nurses may notice stoma bleeding. This is common after surgery since that’s because there is a lot of vascular supply happening towards the bowel. The presence of a few drops of this may happen right after surgery, and it subsides in a day or so. A cool cloth with light pressure of the area will normally stop bleeding that is minor.  But if you notice that it’s happening a lot more, you should consult the doctor.

Always look at the stoma and make sure to wipe it down. to do otherwise may affect the quality of the stoma, and can result in further complications as a result.

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