Colostomy – Diseases of the colon are on the rise
What is a colostomy?
Why do we need a colostomy?
- Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease
- Cancer of the colon
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- A blockage or injury to the colon
- Ulcerative colitis
- Fecal incontinence
Living with colostomy
Some of the problems include the following:
- Changes in the texture of the skin. Such as the appearance of wrinkles and skin sagging. This can all become problematic for keeping up with a stoma.
- Arthritis can cause a reduction in the ability to perform things.
- Weight changes can cause the size of the stoma also to change.
Helpful nutrition tips for the elderly with a colostomy
Helpful hints regarding dietary intake:
- A balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is indispensable. A well-balanced diet should prevent any problems related to bowel movements
- Staying well-hydrated is necessary. And therefore ask your elderly to drink at least 6 – 8 glasses of water.
- Encourage your elderly to chew their food thoroughly before swallowing.
- You can also consider giving your elderly buttermilk or yogurt. This not only helps in reducing gas formation but also improves gut health.
- If gas is still a problem, you can consider sprinkling some Beano powder in the first bite. This particular powder has no flavor, and the elderly can easily consume it.
- Many foods can increase gas formation, and you would want to avoid them. These include raw onions, broccoli, asparagus, garlic, cabbage, and fish. These foods can also produce an unpleasant odor. Even though the colostomy pouch is odor-proof, you may get a strong smell while emptying it. In such a case, you would want to avoid these foods.
Tips for caring for the elderly with a colostomy
Tips for appropriate colostomy care:
- While applying the pouch, the skin should be wrinkle-free. Failure to do so will cause the bag to loosen and the seal to break whenever the skin stretches.
- Remember to put a date on your pouch whenever you change it. This will help you remember the last date you changed your bag.
- The area should be clean and dry. Trim off hairs if there are any.
- Always remember to wear the pouch in front of the mirror. This will allow you to wear it properly.
- Clean and empty your pouch when it is one-third full. Please don’t wait for the bag to fill up completely, as it will cause problems opening it. Moreover, the risk of leakage and odor will also increase.
- After emptying the pouch, you can clean it using Dreft soap and water. This will not only freshen up the bag but also lubricate it.
More tips for appropriate colostomy care:
- You can also consider applying non–stick cooking oil, such as Palm spray, inside the pouch. This will not allow the stool to stick inside the bag, enabling faster and hassle-free cleaning.
- Your elderly can bathe with or without the pouch. However, one must remember that the stoma will work during this time.
- The materials for washing the stoma need to be clean enough to prevent any dirt from irritating it.
- Try and cover a part of the pouch inside the underwear. This will provide better support.
- Humid or hot weather conditions require your elderly to wear a cover over the pouch. This is to prevent sweat from irritating the skin lining.
- The available pouch is usually odor-proof. This is because they come with an inbuilt carbon filter to filter off the gas, thereby preventing odor buildup. However, if the smell bothers your elderly, you can consider using deodorants inside the pouch.
Complications of a colostomy
- Damage to organs
- A Parastomal hernia may develop
- The wound can break open
- Blockage of the stoma
- Prolapse of the colostomy
- Internal bleeding
- Rectal discharge – this happens when the anus and rectum are intact. And there is mucus discharge from the bottom.