It is not easy for individuals who happened to have an ostomy (opening) in the stomach to live a normal life because they now cannot perform normal bowel movement for a lifetime, especially knowing that will carry bags attached to their stomach till the end. There are many reasons why people undergo ostomy procedures. It is when their colon was removed due to colon cancer, making it impossible for the feces to exit in the anus. Instead, surgeons will open a hole in the patient stomach to redirect the passage of feces. A stoma is formed from the large end of the intestine and sutured it into the stomach skin to keep in place. Since this opening involves a delicate part of the internal organs, it is important to keep them clean and secured. This is why a reliable Convatec stomas skin barrier with flange was made to maintain proper ostomy care to patients even at home.
Traveling with IBD and Your RX
Certain precautions and preparations need to be undertaken when you are traveling with IBD. These will vary from individual to individual, depending on the severity of the disease, its symptoms and complications, the medications being taken, and the presence of a stoma bag.
• If you are not traveling alone, try to choose traveling companions who understand your disease and the symptoms you might experience. Be honest with them. For example, you can tell them, “I have to make sure that I have a bathroom break at least every 2 hours.” The travel itinerary can be planned accordingly.
• If you traveling by plane, try to plan your bathroom visits away from times when the bathroom is the busiest—usually after meals or first thing in the morning on overnight flights. Try to use the bathroom just before getting on the plane, train, or bus or before getting into a lineup at the check-in counter, security, or customs. Some people find it helpful to taken an antidiarrheal medication, such as Immodium or Lomotil, just before boarding or before going on a long car trip. This can reduce the amount of diarrhea and urgency, providing some feeling of security. However, this is not safe for all people with IBD or in all situations. Be sure to check with your doctor before trying this approach.
• If loss of bowel control is a possibility or something that you worry about, make sure that you have a change of clothes and have some premoistened disposable towelettes in your carry-on luggage.
• Take time to rest and to eat regular meals. Ideally, these meals should be nutritious, but this isn’t always possible on the road. When on an airplane, it is sometimes best to eat lightly and avoid foods and drinks containing caffeine—coffee, chocolates, and cola drinks—which can increase diarrhea.
• Make sure that you maintain an adequate fluid intake (preferably water), especially if you are feeling dehydrated and thirsty. As a general rule, approximately 6 to 8 glasses (1.5 to 2 L) a day should be adequate.
• If you are traveling by plane or across international borders and you are taking medications with you, take the medications in the original bottle or box that you obtained from the pharmacy, along with pharmacy label indicating your name, the drug’s name, and the physician’s name. If you are traveling to another country, write down the generic name of the medications because the brand names are frequently different in different countries.
• If you are traveling with medication that requires needles or syringes, ask for a letter from your physician that describes your diagnosis and indicates your need for medication given by injection. This is absolutely necessary if you are planning on taking the medication and supplies as a carry-on onto an airplane. This also pertains to supplies for an ostomy.
• Ensure that your medications are not exposed to extreme temperatures (hot or cold) for prolonged periods. The same goes for stoma supplies. If you are traveling by car, don’t leave the medication or supplies in the trunk or in the back seat of the car on a hot summer day or frigid winter day. If you have medication that requires cold storage, consider the use of an insulated carrying bag with freezer packs.
• Take more medication and supplies with you than you think you will need. Some people like to pack some in their checked luggage and keep some in their carry-on luggage.
Since the stoma serves as a channel for the feces to be eliminated in the body, it is vital to maintain skin integrity surrounding it. Stoma skin barrier is being placed to the stoma to keep the ostomy bag kept in place. An ostomy bag is being connected to the barrier to collect body waste. Generally, ostomy procedure is being performed for greater efficiency during waste elimination. The ostomy pouch system consists of the following items: skin barrier (moldable Convatec skin barrier), ostomy hernia belt, support irrigation sets, bags, caps, deodorant pouch and room freshener. Most of these supplies are given as one package when you purchase it in pharmacies or medical stores.
When purchasing ostomy items especially ostomy bags, do not be confused with the other types/names of ostomy performed by surgeons. There are three categories of ostomy: Urostomy, Ileostomy, and Colostomy. The type of ostomy procedure that was performed should be considered when buying these items. Urostomy is a procedure performed by opening the urinary system. The opening is intended for urine passage out from the body. Ileostomy on the other hand, is an opening that connects the end of the small intestine onto the surface of the skin. Basically, these two possess smaller openings than in colostomy. It is recommended that ostomy pouches must fit to the stoma barrier of any kind ( moldable Hollister skin barrier ). There should be no leakage within the surrounding because this could be one of the reasons of having skin irritations. Normally, a stoma is reddish/pinkish in color, since this is still part of a functioning large intestine. Stomas are assumed to be greater/larger than the skin, and the bag must be flat to fit the opening.
Proper ostomy care must be practice at all times. In these cases, infection could be one of the main problems that need to be aware of. Ensure that you clean the stoma, including the skin barriers such as convenient Hollister stomas skin barrier and change the ostomy bags every now and then.
Norily Robinson works in a hospital setting at the same time writes articles about Ostomy Care and Management.
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