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What Are the Most Common Stoma Problems?

Those with a stoma may have difficulty traveling by airplane.
A person with a colostomy bag may be unable to fly on an airplane because the change in pressure can cause the bag to disconnect.
Bruising is a common stoma problem.
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  • Written By: Sarah Sullins
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 18 December 2014
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Common stoma problems include pressure sores and bruising. A stoma — an opening created in the body to allow external access to an internal part — might also affect a person psychologically. Another big problem that often occurs with stomas is the smell, but certain steps can be taken to reduce the odor associated with having a stoma. Changes in the shape of the stoma can also result in stoma problems. Traveling by airplane may also be a problem for those who have a stoma.

A stoma is an opening or hole in the body. Such a hole can be natural, such as the mouth, but people who speak of a stoma often are talking about one created surgically, perhaps as a pathway for elimination of feces or urine. A stoma also can be used to administer medicine and food directly into the stomach.

Bruising is a common problem associated with a stoma. This can be the result of the surgery or it can be a result of the stoma not fitting correctly. A stoma that does not fit right also can cause skin sores in the area surrounding it. Stoma problems such as sores often are caused by urine or feces being able to leak through a loose-fitting stoma. The sores may also be the result of the stoma changing shape over time because of the patient's weight gain or loss of weight.

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Another one of the most common stoma problems is associated with how having this condition affects a person psychologically. Many people with a surgically created stoma feel unattractive and different from everyone else. Some people even choose, because of such feelings, not to get a stoma that could help them live a better life.

The psychological effects of having a stoma can be dealt with if a person is open to the thought of getting help. A doctor can recommend a therapist who may be able to help the person work through his or her feelings. Other things that may help are local support groups and online support groups.

A stoma’s odor can be a common stoma problem. Certain foods, such as eggs and fish, can aggravate this issue and make the stoma’s odor worse. The correct diet, which can be recommended by the patient's doctor, can help to ensure that the odor from a stoma is kept to a minimum.

Many people who have a stoma are not able to travel on airplanes. The reason for this is that the pressure within the airplane changes during flight. This can cause a person’s stoma bag to come off, which can be both embarrassing and difficult to deal with.

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