A stoma is an opening that connects the abdominal wall to the intestine to help eliminate waste. Patients with a stoma usually wear a bag to collect this waste. The bag can be emptied when it is convenient. Stomas are created for a variety of conditions, including when it is not safe to send waste through another channel. A stoma may be temporary or permanent, and may be created during surgery to prevent waste from going through unhealthy parts of the bowel. While it may seem daunting to have one of these procedures performed, a well-functioning stoma can offer a better quality of life.
There are several types of stomas. An Ileostomy is a connection of the small intestine to the skin, while a colostomy is a connection to the large intestine.