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Getting help, information, and support

There are many ways to better understand your life with an ileostomy. Your doctor and ostomy nurse are important sources of information and support. A lot of information can also be found at various Web sites, such as those listed in the "To learn more" section.

A special source of help with your adjustment is an ostomy visitor. The visitor is a person who, like you, has had colostomy surgery. They can answer many of your questions about day-to-day life. Your ostomy visitor has successfully adapted to the changes that ostomy surgery makes, and can help you adjust, too. Taking part in an ostomy support group can also be very helpful. It allows you to share your feelings and ask questions as you learn to live with your colostomy. It also lets you share your successes with others who may need the benefit of your experience. Most ostomy visitor programs and support groups are sponsored by local chapters of the United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA).

A number of cancer centers have ostomy rehabilitation programs which include all types of ostomies, whether or not they are caused by cancer. Ask about services that may be available, such as educational pamphlets, ostomy supplies for people without insurance coverage, or assistance in contacting the local UOAA chapter. You can also contact the American Cancer Society (1-800-227-2345) for information on ostomy support groups.

Last Medical Review: 03/17/2011
Last Revised: 03/17/2011