- What is a colostomy?
- How your digestive system works
- Types of colostomies
- Closing or reversing a colostomy
- Managing your colostomy
- Choosing a colostomy pouching system
- Changing the colostomy pouching system
- Colostomy irrigation (for descending and sigmoid colostomies only)
- Ordering and storing colostomy supplies
- Caring for a colostomy
- Avoiding and managing colostomy problems
- If you are hospitalized while you have a colostomy
- Living with a colostomy
- Telling others about your colostomy
- Eating and digestion with a colostomy
- What to wear when you have a colostomy
- Returning to work after getting a colostomy
- Intimacy and sexuality when you have a colostomy
- Playing sports and staying active with a colostomy
- Traveling when you have a colostomy
- For parents of children with colostomies
- Getting colostomy help, information, and support
- To learn more
To learn more
More information from your American Cancer Society
We have selected some related information that may also be helpful to you. These materials may be read online or ordered from our toll-free number.
After Diagnosis: A Guide for Patients and Families (also in Spanish)
Sexuality for the Man With Cancer (also in Spanish)
Sexuality for the Woman With Cancer (also in Spanish)
Colorectal Cancer: Detailed Guide (also in Spanish)
Colorectal Cancer Overview (also in Spanish)
National organizations and websites*
Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN)
Toll-free number: 1-888-224-9626
The WOC nurse is a specialist in ostomy care and rehabilitation. These nurses care for and teach people with ostomies, coordinate patient care, teach nursing staff in hospitals and clinics, and work closely with the nursing and medical professions to improve the quality of ostomy rehabilitation programs. The WOCN Society can help you find a WOC nurse in your area. The “Patient Information” section of their website contains resources for patients and families.
United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. (UOAA)
Toll-free number: 1-800-826-0826
For local support group information; the interactive website includes discussion boards and online support groups
International Ostomy Association (IOA)
Advocates for and outlines the rights of ostomates worldwide
A web-only resource that offers information on ostomies, blogs, discussion forums, and more
Has inspirational stories and support groups; offers hope to others facing life changing disease and transitioning to a new life after ostomy surgery.
Toll-free number: 1-877-678-6690
A non-profit organization that accepts donations of unused ostomy products and provides products to uninsured people for the cost of shipping and handling.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
Toll-free number: 1-800-633-4227
Ostomy care and supplies are covered under part B of Medicare. These same supplies and care may be covered under Medicaid (this is state regulated and varies). Check with an ostomy nurse about which health department or other agency in your state may be able to help you.
No matter who you are, we can help. Contact us anytime, day or night, for information and support. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
Last Medical Review: 12/02/2014
Last Revised: 12/02/2014