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100% accuracy at time of writing cannot be guaranteed.  A listing in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and does not mean it is an endorsement.  All companies listed are tried at the reader’s own risk.  All information provided is intended as a supplement to any professional help already

given.  Before acting on suggestions from anyone, ostomates are advised to check with a doctor or stoma care nurse that the course of action is suitable

for them. Whilst every care is taken, the author will not be held responsible.




















Dehydration is a loss of fluids or moisture from the body, sometimes caused by diarrhoea, vomiting or low fluid intake.  Dehydration may result in a loss of important salts and minerals.


The descending colon is the last part of the large intestine, before the anus, where food is stored.  It

is located on the left side of the abdomen.


See Colostomy.


Diarrhoea, the passing of frequent, loose or watery stools, is a symptom which can either be acute or chronic.  Acute diarrhoea is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection, and can affect almost everyone, from time to time.  It usually clears up in a couple of days and is not serious.  However, it

can be dangerous in babies and the frail and elderly, because of the risk of dehydration.

Some antibiotics may cause diarrhoea.


Diarrhoea medication is a drug used to help combat diarrhoea.  The medication may result in

decreased frequency or a thicker output.  This medication can be obtained over-the-counter at a pharmacy or prescribed by a doctor.


When food reaches the colon, it has been almost completely digested, so having a colostomy does not mean that a stoma patient has to change what they eat.  Normally, it is not necessary to follow a special diet, unless you have been advised to do so by your doctor for another specific medical condition.  Obviously, it is better to eat a diet containing a variety of items from all food groups, as far as possible.  This will ensure that the body receives all the essential nutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals).


Digestion is the conversion of food into absorbable substances in the gastrointestinal system.  It is accomplished through the mechanical and chemical breakdown of food into small molecules, which

can then be absorbed into the blood stream.


The digestive system is the organs in the body, which break down and absorb food. The organs, which make up the digestive system, are the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine

(also called the colon), rectum, and anus.  Organs, which help with digestion, but are not part of the digestive tract, are the tongue, glands in the mouth that make saliva, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.

Inside these hollow organs is a lining called the mucosa.  In the mouth, stomach, and small intestine, the mucosa contains tiny glands that produce juices to help digest food.  The digestive tract contains a layer of smooth muscle that helps break down food, and move it along the tract.  Two solid, digestive organs, the liver and the pancreas, produce digestive juices that reach the intestine through small tubes called ducts.  The gallbladder stores the liver’s digestive juices until they are needed in the intestine.  Parts of the nervous and circulatory systems also play major roles in the digestive system.


See Gastrointestinal Tract.


A dilator is a device, which is used to stretch or enlarge an opening.


Discharge is a generic term, which refers to the output from a stoma.  It may be urine or stool (faeces).


Disposal refers to the action of throwing away or getting rid of stoma appliances, their contents, etc.  One method for the disposal of contents is to cut the bottom of the pouch and empty the contents into the toilet. The remaining pouch can then be thrown away, by wrapping in newspaper and scented

bags before placing in a refuse bin, thus helping to eliminate odour and provide confidentiality.

Some ostomates are able to use a one-piece or two-piece closed pouch with a flushable liner, where

the liner can be flushed down the toilet and replaced with a new liner.

Some local authorities may run a clinical waste collection service, or stoma care nurses may be able to offer advice.


Distal colon is the last segment of the colon, before the rectum begins.  The colon segments (in order from proximal to distal) are ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid.


Diverticulitis is a disorder, which occurs when small out-pouches in the colon (diverticula) become inflamed, commonly due to infection.


A double-barrel stoma (usually temporary) is a form of a colostomy, or a colostomy and an ileostomy.  The intestine is severed, and both severed ends are brought through the abdominal wall to form two separate, end stomas.  The stomas may or may not be close to each other.  One stoma, still connected to the food-digesting part of the intestinal tract, discharges faeces.  The other stoma, the mucous fistula, which is no longer connected to the functioning digestive tract, may discharge a small amount

of mucous or may discharge nothing.


A drainable pouch is one, which opens from the bottom to empty the contents. This type of pouch requires something like a clamp or clip on the bottom to keep it closed.  Colostomates or ileostomates (not urostomates) are able to use this type of pouch.

This type of pouch is useful, when an ostomate has an upset stomach, which can result in loose stools.  It does not require changing as often as a closed pouch, and therefore fewer pouches are used.  This drainable pouch can be easily emptied prior to disposal.  It is important to carefully clean the outlet, the clip or the fastening.

See Pouch.


Drainage is a term, which refers to the output from a stoma.  It may be urine or stool (faeces).


The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine, situated between the stomach and the jejunum.


Dysentery is an infectious disease of the colon.  Symptoms include bloody, mucous-filled diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever and loss of fluids from the body.


Electrocoagulation is a procedure, which uses an electrical current passed through an endoscope to

stop bleeding in the digestive tract and to remove affected tissue.


Electrolytes are chemical compounds (e.g. salts and minerals), which dissolve in body fluids to form particles with an electric charge.  They are needed in small amounts and in the right balance to maintain normal body functioning and good health.  If electrolytes are out of balance, a person may become weak and ill, and may need electrolyte supplementation by mouth or through a vein.


Encrustation is a deposit of gritty, urine crystals on a urostomy, or skin around the stoma.  It is prevented by drinking lots of fluids, e.g. cranberry juice, which keeps the urine acidic, and also by protecting all the skin around a stoma by using a correctly-fitted pouch.  Treatment can be advised by stoma care nurses.


An endorectal pull-through procedure is the removal of diseased rectal mucosa, along with the

resection of the lower bowel - followed by anastomosis of the proximal stump to the anus.

This procedure may be used for the correction of Hirschsprung’s Disease.


An endoscope is a small, flexible or rigid tube with a light and a lens on the end.  It is used to look into the oesophagus, stomach, duodenum, colon or rectum.  It can also be used to take tissue from the body for testing, or to take colour photographs of the inside of the body.  Colonoscopes and sigmoidoscopes are types of endoscopes.


An endoscopy is an examination of hollow organ in the body by means of a lighted tube.  Oesophagus, stomach and part of the small intestine can be visualised with an endoscope inserted through the mouth.


An end ostomy is an ostomy with a stoma, which has a single opening.  The digestive tract or urinary tract is severed, and the functional end is brought through the abdominal wall as a stoma (as opposed to a loop ostomy).


An enterostomy is any ostomy in the digestive tract.


See Hyperplasia.


Erythema nodosum are red swellings or sores on the lower legs during flare ups of Crohn’s Disease

and Ulcerative Colitis.  These sores show that the disease is active.  They usually disappear when the disease is treated.


See Intravenous Pyelogram.


Excoriation refers to red, raw, sore skin around a stoma.  This is often caused by enzymes in loose faeces.

Lifestyle, At Home, Disposal Of Appliances


Diet, Diarrhoea