Learning to care for your ostomy may seem hard at first, but with practice and your own adaptations, the entire process will become second nature, just like shaving or bathing. Everyone is anxious about how they will be able to manage the process, but with the help of the nursing staff or an ostomy nurse specialist, most people are feeling confident in just a few weeks.
For the first six weeks the stoma will be shrinking due to reduction in post-operative swelling. This means that the opening in the skin barrier must be changed to accommodate the changing size of the stoma. Most ostomy care products include a measuring device in order to measure the stoma and cut the appliance skin barrier to the appropriate size leaving 1/8th inch of clearance around the stoma.
The pouch is emptied as needed, usually when it is 1/3rd full. The skin barrier and pouch are changed on a routine basis. Most ostomy patients can wear their appliance 4 to7 days without difficulty.
A conversation with someone who has already mastered the art of stoma care can boost you confidence. Ask about getting a referral to a local ostomy support group.