Crohn’s Complications, Part Five: Ostomies

Editor’s note: This is the fifth and final article in the “Crohn’s Complications” series by Mary Horsley. This series will focus on IBD-related complications beyond the symptoms. Read part one, part two, part three and part four of the series. In my latest series, “Crohn’s Complications,” I write about the complications beyond the symptoms and focus on the more extreme medical emergencies that Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can induce. As I mentioned in the “Beyond the Bathroom” series as well as this series, and as many IBD patients can tell you, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are much more than just bathroom illnesses. These diseases come with true complications and life changes. Complications can happen with Crohn’s through symptoms, sickness, or surgeries, with no two patients' experiences exactly the same. With Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, we've discussed when to visit the emergency room, let's turn to a major concern for patients and doctors alike: surgery, more specifically, stomas. With Crohn’s and colitis patients, surgery is often needed to help patients relieve some of their symptoms. Remember, Crohn’s and colitis have no cure. Stoma, or an ostomy, is a hole or an opening on the surface of the body that is connected to a part of the digestive system. This diverts waste from the rectum and allows this waste to exit through the stoma and into a bag on the outside of the body. No, one cannot feel anything when touching the stoma ― there are no nerve endings there. Permanent stomas are exactly that: permanent. Temporary stomas allow doctors to reconnect the pieces, close the stoma and restore th
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