- Colostomy: A Guide
- What is a colostomy?
- The normal digestive system
- Types of colostomies
- Colostomy management
- Choosing a pouching system
- Changing the pouching system
- Irrigation (for descending and sigmoid colostomies only)
- Ordering and storing supplies
- Helpful hints
- Colostomy problems
- Living with a colostomy
- Telling others
- Clothing and appearance
- Eating and digestion
- Returning to work
- Intimacy and sexuality
- Exercise, play, and sports
- For parents of children with colostomies
- Getting 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 ordered from our toll-free number.
After Diagnosis: A Guide for Patients and Families (also available in Spanish)
Caring for the Patient With Cancer At Home: A Guide for Patients and Families (also available in Spanish)
Sexuality for the Man With Cancer (also available in Spanish)
Sexuality for the Woman With Cancer (also available in Spanish)
Colorectal Cancer: Detailed Guide (also available in Spanish)
Colorectal Cancer Overview (also available in Spanish)
National organizations and Web sites*
United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. (UOAA)
Toll-free number: 1-800-826-0826
Web site: www.uoaa.org
For local support group information; the interactive Web site includes discussion boards
International Ostomy Association (IOA)
Web site: www.ostomyinternational.org
Advocates for and outlines the rights of ostomates
Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN)
Toll-free number: 1-888-224-9626
Web site: www.wocn.org
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.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Toll-free number: 1-800-633-4227
Web site: www.cms.hhs.gov
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.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Bowel Diversion Surgeries: Ileostomy, Colostomy, Ileoanal Reservoir, and Continent Ileostomy. Accessed at http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/ileostomy/ on March 2, 2011.
US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. MedlinePlus: Colostomy. Accessed at www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002942.htm on March 1, 2011.
United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. Colostomy Guide. Accessed at www.ostomy.org/ostomy_info/pubs/uoa_colostomy_en.pdf on March 2, 2011.
United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. Colostomy Irrigation: A personal account of managing a colostomy. By Debra Rooney. Accessed at www.ostomy.org/ostomy_info/pubs/Phoenix_Irrigation.pdf on March 2, 2011.
Last Medical Review: 03/17/2011
Last Revised: 03/17/2011