Colostomies are performed in some cases of colon cancer, or severe cases of gastrointestinal illness or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. After a colostomy, stools are no longer emptied through the rectum and the anus. Instead, they are passed into the colostomy bag or pouch which must be replaced 2 to 3 times a day.
A colostomy can be the very last resort for persons who suffer from severe gastrointestinal illnesses. It is often the only choice for persons who suffer from colon cancer, requiring removal of parts of their large intestine or colon as part of treatment.
There are several complications associated with the use of a colostomy bag after a colostomy. There may be a stoma blockage when stools do not get emptied in time. This can cause cramps, pain, swelling in the stoma, nausea, and diarrhea. A warm bath and intake of fluids can help ease the blockage. If this does not help, however, get in touch with your doctor immediately. Other complications include a stoma prolapse in which the stoma extends far beyond the surface of the skin. In this case, internal leakage may necessitate additional surgeries.