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Why Would you Need a Colostomy Bag?

Advancements in medical technology have improved the lives of many people who are suffering from different types of diseases. A colostomy bag is a true example of such advancement. This innovation has empowered people to lead fulfilling lives, enabling them to navigate daily activities with ease and dignity. Colostomy bags are used to hold stool which is excreted via the stoma rather than the rectum.

But the question is, why do people get colostomy bags?

In this article, we are going to highlight all the reasons that necessitate the use of colostomy bags. Not only this we would also discuss how using colostomy bags can significantly improve the quality of life. Here you go!

Why Do People Get Colostomy Bags?

One of the primary reasons for the placement of a colostomy bag is the medical necessity that arises in the case of colostomy surgery.

A colostomy is a type of surgery in which an incision is made in the abdomen and the injured part of the intestine is removed. After this removal, the remaining parts of the intestine are connected. During this procedure, the surgeon will bring out a small portion of the small intestine to form an opening called a stoma in the abdomen.

The purpose of a stoma is to pass out the stool through the abdomen so that the injured part of the intestine gets some time to heal. Just because of this reason colostomy bags are used to collect stool from the stoma. Since a stoma lacks nerve endings so patient would not have any control over the bowel movement. In this condition, colostomy bags are very helpful.

Related: What is an ostomy bag used for

Colostomy bags- permanent or temporary?

The need for colostomy bags can be temporary or lifetime. It all depends upon the reason for colostomy surgery.

Temporary: colostomy bags are sometimes used for a very short period. usually, they are used when the basic aim of colostomy surgery is to give a portion of the intestine a chance to rest and heal. once it has healed completely the colostomy will be reversed and there will not be any need for a colostomy bag now.

Permanent: Colostomy bags are sometimes used for the entire life due to certain medical conditions that require permanent colostomy in which the end part of the colon or rectum is removed.

Read More: After reversal of colostomy what is the life expectancy

Reasons For Colostomy:

colostomy surgical procedure is carried out due to certain reasons such as:

  • Diverticulitis: inflammation or infection in the large intestine
  • Crohn’s disease: chronic inflammation of the GI tract especially the large and small intestine
  • Colorectal cancer: cancer of the colon and rectum
  • imperforate anus: birth defect in which the opening of the anus is missing
  • Hirschsprung’s disease is a birth defect in which the nerve cells are missing in the large intestine so the intestine can’t move stool

Related: Pain after ileostomry reversal

Types Of Colostomy:

when it comes to the type of colostomy, there are different types of colostomies depending upon the part of the colon that is connected outside your body. These are:

  1. Sigmoid colostomy: This is the most common type of colostomy which is done in the lower part of the large intestine. The stool output from this colostomy is usually solid and regular.
  2. Transverse colostomy: This type of colostomy is performed where the colon runs across the top of the abdomen. the stool output is soft because till this part less amount of water has been absorbed and the stool still has lots of water. There are three types:

Loop colostomy: Creates a stoma through which stool exits, and the colon stays connected to the rectum.

Single-barrel colostomy: Removes the colon below the colostomy, making it permanent.

Double-barrel colostomy: Divides the colon into two ends with separate stomas for stool and mucus. This is the least common type.

  1. Descending colostomy: Done on the left side of the abdomen, producing firm stool as it has traveled through most of the colon.
  2. Ascending colostomy: Done near the beginning of the large intestine, resulting in liquid stool. This type is rare, and sometimes an ileostomy procedure may be chosen by the doctor instead.

Read More: Diverticulitis surgery recovery time

Symptoms Of Colostomy:

colostomy surgery is carried out due to certain medical conditions that have more or less the same signs and symptoms, some of them are as follows:

Blood in the stool:

If you see blood in your stool that means there is something wrong either in your colon or bowel. In such a condition you should immediately seek any medical attention.

Related: What to expect after colostomy reversal surgery

Severe stomach ache:

Apart from blood in stool, another concerning symptom is severe lower abdominal pain which is accompanied by cramping and bloating. no doubt these are the most common symptoms that may indicate any problem in the intestine.

Read More: Do CNAs Change colostomy bags

Persistent diarrhea:

Diarrhea is itself a condition but when it remains for a longer period of time then it becomes an alarming sign to any intestinal problem. Chronic diarrhea often indicates towards infection of the colon.

Persistent constipation:

Constipation is the inability to pass stool for more than 3 days. constipation indicates any blockage in the intestine. But if the patient has chronic constipation, he should immediately seek any medical advice as it might indicate any problem linked to the intestine.

Colostomy Bag Improves The Quality Of Life:

Colostomy bags are indeed a crucial and useful instrument that helps in restoring and enhancing the quality of life. Colostomy bag helps people to engage in their day-to-day activities without the constant fear of bowel incontinence since stomas lack nerve endings so the person won’t get any signal for excretion like others do. Therefore colostomy bags are indeed the life safer in such conditions. It’s all because of the colostomy bag that ostomates can easily work, travel, and participate in other social activities.


to wrap things up, colostomy bags are a crucial invention in the field of medicine. this advancement is greatly benefiting people with certain health conditions. These bags become necessary after colostomy surgery, which is performed for various reasons such as diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, colorectal cancer, and birth defects like imperforate anus or Hirschsprung’s disease. Colostomy bags are the real unsung heroes that not only improve the quality of life but also give you enough confidence to navigate your social life freely.


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