What is an ileostomy?

An ileostomy is a surgically created opening in the abdomen through which a small portion of the ileum or small intestine is brought to the surface of the skin. The new opening allows stool to pass directly out of the body. ConvaTec has developed skin barriers and pouches to best manage an ileostomy.

Ileostomy surgery

An ileostomy is a stoma formed from the ileum (small intestine)1.

The ileum contains digestive enzymes and acids that may cause skin irritation. Extra care is needed with an ileostomy to keep waste materials from coming into contact with the skin on your abdomen2.

Having an ileostomy may make some people more prone to dehydration, which could lead to the loss of important minerals your body needs3.

Ileostomy care

The output from an ileostomy will be more liquid and be of a higher quantity than a colostomy. A drainable pouch will generally be used, although closed end pouches can be worn for short term use, for example swimming or intimate moments. If a lot of fluid is lost through a higher quantity output, it is important to get the right fluids as replacement. Your nurse can advise as to what is best.

It is very important that the skin surrounding the stoma – also called the peristomal skin – is looked after. If the skin is damaged, it becomes harder for the skin barrier to adhere to the skin. When the skin barrier is applied, it is important to make sure the skin is intact and dry. This will ensure the pouch stays in place between changes. It is also important to remember that living with a peristomal skin complication can affect daily comfort and quality of life. Prevention is the key to maintaining healthy peristomal skin.