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A stoma cap is a round device that adheres over an opening in the body, also called a stoma. They may have an opening for a thin plastic tube to fit through each end, especially in stomas located in the abdomen. Caps are usually sealed to the skin with tape or another sealant to prevent leakage. In an abdominal stoma, the cap is generally attached to a pouch so that fecal matter can drain out.
The size and shape of a stoma cap will vary based on what type of stoma is being covered and where on the body it is located. Most are round in shape and flesh colored to blend in with the surrounding skin. They are designed to adhere tightly to the flesh to prevent air, feces, or other bodily fluids from exiting the opening. In abdominal stomas it is very important that the cap lay right on the edge of the opening so that no fecal matter can escape and damage the skin surrounding it.
It is important to keep the skin surrounding any stoma clean and dry. Patients should follow their doctors' instructions carefully to learn the correct way of cleaning and caring for their stoma openings. The caps may need to be replaced periodically to prevent infection and to ensure cleanliness.
When a stoma cap is being used in conjunction with an abdominal stoma, it should be combined with the proper pouch to ensure that leakage does not occur. Digestive enzymes from the small intestines are present in the fecal matter of abdominal stoma patients, and these can seriously damage the skin. Lotions, balms, and powders are available for purchase to place around the stoma cap to prevent skin irritation.
Caps are generally removable and come in a wide variety of sizes. Patients should ensure that they fully understand the correct way to apply and remove a stoma cap before attempting to do so without medical supervision. They should also never use a product, including lotions and cleansers, around the stoma without first checking to be sure it is compatible with their specific cap and any other supplies being used. Caps should be firmly in place before bathing or being submerged in water for any reason.
If the area surrounding the stoma cap becomes red, inflamed, painful, or if it oozes pus or any other fluid, a doctor should be notified, as these are signs of infection. An antiseptic rinse or antibiotic may be used to ward off bacteria and to reduce the threat of a more serious infection. Stomas should be inspected regularly by a doctor or another trained medical professional.