Colostomy Surgery

Care After

Refer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information on caring for yourself after your procedure. Your caregiver may also give you more specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your caregiver if you have any problems or questions after your procedure.


  • Rest. Give yourself time to adjust to having the external pouch. Give your surgical cuts (incisions) time to heal.

  • Avoid strenuous activity, heavy lifting, and abdominal exercises for 3 weeks. After that, you may return to your normal activities.

  • Take pain medicine and other medicines as directed. Your caregiver may recommend certain medicines for the relief of constipation or diarrhea.

  • You may shower with or without the pouch.

  • Wear any clothing that is comfortable.

  • Follow your caregiver's instructions to protect the skin around the stoma.

  • Change your pouch every 2 to 4 days, or as directed.

  • Follow your caregiver's dietary instructions. Your caregiver will help you understand which foods may cause blockage, increase bowel movements, slow bowel movements, cause skin irritation, or cause gas.

  • You may gradually resume most activities, including sexual activity, as directed. Ask your caregiver about becoming pregnant and about using birth control. Medicines may not be absorbed normally after your procedure.

  • Always discuss your medicines with your caregiver before taking them.

  • You may travel. Be sure to pack plenty of colostomy supplies.

  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking slows the healing process.


  • You are having trouble caring for your stoma or using the ostomy supplies (changing the pouch).

  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous).

  • You throw up (vomit).

  • You notice bleeding, skin irritation, drainage, bulging, redness of the wounds, or pain around the anus or stoma.

  • You notice a change in the size or appearance of the stoma.

  • You have abdominal pain, bloating, pressure, or cramping.

  • Your stools do not become firmer.

  • Your stool frequency is more or less often than expected.

  • You have frequent diarrhea or watery stool.

  • You are not making enough urine. This may be a sign of dehydration.

  • You experience sexual dysfunction.

  • You experience shortness of breath, fatigue, thirst, dry mouth, or unusual sensations in the limbs.

  • You have other new symptoms.

  • You have questions or concerns.


  • Your abdominal pain does not go away or it becomes severe.

  • You have a fever.

  • You keep vomiting.

  • Your stool is not draining through the stoma.

  • You have an irregular heartbeat or chest pain.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.