The Different Types of Ostomies

An ostomy is generally a part of the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, or other similar abdominal condition. Most of the people think of a colostomy when they hear the word ostomy. The fact of the matter is that there are two types of intestinal ostomies: ileostomy and colostomy. Let’s discuss both of them.

What is an ileostomy?

The intestinal diversion created as a result of bringing the end of the small intestine through the abdominal wall is known as an ileostomy. The stoma of an ileostomy is the end-point of the small intestine or ileum. With an ileostomy, you have to wear an ostomy bag over the stoma to collect bodily waste.

There are two types of ileostomies.

  • The first type is known as a loop ileostomy. The surgeon creates this ileostomy by making an incision on the side of the small intestine. Then the surgeon pulls that part of the small intestine through the abdominal incision in such a way the incision in the small intestine becomes an opening to pass out stool. A loop ileostomy is reversible.
  • The second type is an end ileostomy, which is mostly permanent. The surgical process of the creation of this ileostomy involves pulling the end of the small intestine through an artificial opening in the abdomen.

The surgeon will create a temporary ileostomy if your colon needs to rest and heal. An ileostomy is a part of colorectal cancer in many cases. Other conditions that can lead a person to require an ileostomy may include inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and severe blockage. All these conditions may result in a permanent or temporary ileostomy.

What is a colostomy?

Your surgeon will choose to perform colostomy surgery when you need a part of your colon removed, or stool needs to divert away from the rectum or anus. The stoma that passes out waste from a colostomy is made up of the large intestine.

It may be worth understanding the role of the colon here. The role of the colon is to absorb any water and electrolytes from the stool coming from the small intestine. Because a colostomy uses some length of the colon, the stool passing out of the stoma is more firm. That is why a colostomy is different than an ileostomy.

In some cases, you may have to irrigate your colostomy. This irrigation involves forcing a stream of water into the stoma, which triggers the bowel movement. After the stool passes out in response to the irritation process, the patient may no longer need to wear an ostomy pouch.

A colostomy, too, can be permanent or temporary. It mainly depends on the state of your rectum and anus. If they are not much diseased, and there is a chance that they will heal in a few months if given rest, your surgeon will prefer giving you a temporary colostomy. Otherwise, it will be a permanent colostomy.