Q: What does a stoma look like?

what stoma looks like

Look for these characteristics:

  1. 1. Red, moist, and soft to the touch, like the inside of your mouth
  2. 2. Round or oval in shape
  3. 3. Flat or raised up on the abdominal surface


A stoma is created from tissue that is much like the lining inside your cheek. The stoma has a good blood supply, and it is not uncommon for it to bleed slightly when it is cleaned during pouch changes.

Certain foods may change the color of stool. For example, red gelatin or beets may give stool a bright red color that looks like blood, but is harmless. However, if you are ever uncomfortable with the color of your child’s stool, call the doctor.
If you see these abnormalities in your child’s stoma, contact his or her healthcare provider immediately:

  1. 1. The color of the stoma becomes very dark or very pale
  2. 2. There is blood in your child’s stool, or blood is flowing from the stoma

Q: Can I hold or hug my child after an ostomy?

A: Unless your child’s physician says otherwise due to specific medical concerns, absolutely! Your child can be held, hugged and may even play with friends and family, just as he or she did prior to surgery. The only restrictions may be contact sports, such as football or wrestling, as the impact from these activities may damage the stoma. Your healthcare professional can provide you with any restrictions.

Q: Will I hurt my child if I touch the stoma?

A: The stoma has no nerve endings, so your child should not feel pain when you touch the stoma, or when she or he passes stool or urine.

Right after surgery, your child’s belly may be tender, but this should lessen each day as the stoma heals. Once healed, your child can play as desired—and even crawl on his or her tummy—unless nurses and doctors advise against it.

Q: Will the stoma change after surgery?

A: The stoma may change size and shape the first few months after surgery. A stoma can be at skin level, retracted (below skin level) or prolapsed (sticking out) from the belly’s surfaceThe stoma may change size and shape the first few months after surgery. A stoma can be at skin level, retracted (below skin level) or prolapsed (sticking out) from the belly’s surfaceThe stoma may change size and shape the first few months after surgery. A stoma can be at skin level, retracted (below skin level) or prolapsed (sticking out) from the belly’s surfaceThe stoma may change size and shape the first few months after surgery. A stoma can be at skin level, retracted (below skin level) or prolapsed (sticking out) from the belly’s surfaceThe stoma may change size and shape the first few months after surgery. A stoma can be at skin level, retracted (below skin level) or prolapsed (sticking out) from the belly’s surface. Your child’s healthcare professional can give you specific instructions on how to care for each type.

Certain products can improve pouch wear time if stool empties from a stoma at skin level. For children with a prolapsed stoma, you may be instructed to check the color of the stoma on a regular schedule. A change in color may indicate that the stoma is being pinched or cut by a pouch, snug diapers, safety belts or clothing.

As your child grows, the size of the stoma also grows. The size or opening of your child’s ostomy system may need to change. Your child’s ostomy nurse will be able to assist you with resizing, as needed.

Q: What is the best time of day to change my pouch?

A: For many people, the best time of day to change their pouch is first thing in the morning when the stoma is less active.

Q: How can I avoid issues with my ostomy when I’m travelling?

A: When travelling, be sure to plan ahead: Take extra supplies, pack your ostomy products in your carry-on bag when flying, precut your cut-to-fit skin barriers, and obtain a travel ID that explains your need to specific supplies while travelling. Find more tips in the Travel with an Ostomy booklet.

Q: Can I bathe with my pouch on?

A: Yes, you can take a bath or a shower while wearing a pouch.

Q: How should I care for the skin around my stoma?

Less is better when caring for the skin around your stoma. For most people, water is sufficient for cleaning the skin. If soap is needed, use a mild soap without lotions or creams that may leave a residue or film that can interfere with the adhesive. See more skin care tips in the Skin Care for Your Stoma: Three Easy Steps to Maintaining Healthy Skin booklet.

Q: Can I play sports or exercise with an ostomy?

A: As long as there are no complications — and your doctor has been consulted — almost any kind of sport or activity can be enjoyed. The key is to follow your doctor’s recommendations. Take it easy, start out slowly, and enjoy the thought of getting back to a normal lifestyle. Don’t do anything too aggressive or strenuous to begin with. To learn how you get back to exercise, read the Sports Fitness with an Ostomy booklet.

Q: I am starting back to work soon. Any tips?

A: Being prepared is most important. Carry a change of pouches and accessories with you, and keep a pouch in your desk drawer or locker at work, just in case. Also, you may want to think about an odour eliminator if you are concerned about odour in the restroom. See the Hollister Ostomy Care Accessories page for odour eliminators.


Q: How often should I empty my pouch?

A: Each person will have a unique daily schedule. The type of ostomy you have and the amount of output will influence how often it is necessary to empty your pouch. You will want to empty your pouch regularly throughout the day, usually when it is 1/3 to 1/2 full. It is not a good idea to let your pouch overfill.

Q: I’ve been using the same ostomy products since I first had my surgery. Should I try something new?

A: Maybe. Your requirements for a pouching system may have changed over time. Your stoma or your body contours may have changed, your activity level may have increased, or your preferences may be different. For example, you may now be able to wear a skin barrier that is smaller, a skin barrier opening that is pre-sized, or a pouch that is opaque. In addition, new advances continue to be made in ostomy products, in both materials and design. There is a variety of new products that you can try that may contribute to your sense of comfort and confidence. Hollister offers a stoma-sizing card to help with product selection. You can also request samples of many of our Ostomy Care Products.

Q: I’d like to try a skin barrier ring. How do I apply one?

A: It is easier to apply the ring on the skin barrier of the pouching system first, before applying to the skin. This way, if the stoma functions, the barrier ring is not ruined. Although either way is acceptable, placing it on the skin barrier makes it easier to handle. To view the barrier rings we offer, visit the Ostomy Care Accessories page.

Q: Do I need to rinse out my pouch when I empty it?

A: When emptying your pouch, it is not necessary to rinse it out. A lubricating deodorant may make emptying easier. Do not put oils or cooking sprays in your ostomy pouch. If you’d like to check out our Adapt lubricating deodorant, visit the Ostomycarecanada Ostomy Care Accessories page.

Q: How long can the pouching system be worn?

A: Every child is different, so you should ask your child’s stoma care specialist about his or her unique needs. Pouch wear time often depends upon the child’s size, activity level, and for kids living with a colostomy, the thickness of his or her stool. For example, an infant may need a pouch change daily. An older child may only need a pouch change every three to four days.

A regular schedule for pouch changes will help ease the transition to home care. Parents often learn when there are periods of slow stoma activity—such as before feedings or meals—and plan routine pouch changes during those times.

If you notice stool or urine leaking under the skin barrier, the pouch should be changed to avoid skin irritation. If you need to change your child’s pouch more than once a day, call your child’s healthcare provider for suggestions.


A natural component of the human skin that links the cells of the stratum corneum together to form a waterproof protective barrier. This helps prevent water loss that can lead to skin damage and dryness.

CeraPlus skin barrier

An extended wear skin barrier that has all the basic characteristics of an ostomy skin barrier (adhesion, absorption, and erosion resistance) and is infused with ceramide.

Closed pouch

A pouch without an opening at the bottom. Quick and easy to discard. It must be removed to be emptied.


An ostomy (surgical opening) created in the colon, part of the large intestine.

ComfortWear (pouch) panels

ComfortWear (pouch) panels provide a soft cloth between the pouch film and the skin.

Convex skin barrier

May be used when the stoma does not protrude from the abdomen. The skin barrier is shaped to press more deeply around the stoma.

Cut-to-fit skin barrier

A skin barrier that can be customized to a needed size and shape. Ideal for stomas that are not round or stomas that are still changing size.

Drainable pouch

A pouch with an opening at the bottom. An integrated closure system or plastic clamp is used to keep the pouch closed until it’s time to empty it.


Lets gas but not odour out of the pouch.


The plastic ring in a two-piece ostomy system that is used to connect the skin barrier and pouch together.

Flat skin barrier

May be used when the stoma protrudes from the abdomen.

Flextend skin barrier

A synthetic skin barrier designed to be durable and the most resistant to liquid discharge. Flextend is an example of an extended wear skin barrier.

FlexWear skin barrier

A synthetic skin barrier designed to be worn more than one day. A FlexWear skin barrier is designed to be more resistant to breakdown than a SoftFlex skin barrier.

Floating flange

Type of skin barrier flange found on Hollister two-piece pouching systems that allows you to put your fingers under the skin barrier flange while attaching the pouch.

FormaFlex skin barrier

An extended wear skin barrier that can be stretched to fit the size and shape of the stoma without the use of scissors. It is a barrier option in the New Image two-piece pouching system.


A surgically created opening in the last portion of the small intestine.


A procedure sometimes used by individuals with a colostomy to control bowel elimination. It is not for everyone with a colostomy and requires special equipment and instruction by a knowledgeable healthcare provider.

Lock 'n Roll closure

Integrated system for closing the bottom of drainable pouches. Utilizes plastic interlocking fasteners to create a secure closure. Found on New Image and Premier drainable pouches.

Medical Adhesive-Related Skin Injury (MARSI)

Skin injury related to medical adhesive usage.

Odour-barrier pouch

An odour-barrier pouch is highly resistant to letting odours pass through the pouch film. The odour-barrier quality increases confidence when wearing a pouch.

Peristomal Moisure-Associated Skin Damage (PMASD)

Skin exposure to effluent from the ostomy, resulting in inflammation and erosion of the skin.

Pre-sized skin barrier

A skin barrier that is already cut to the proper size.

SoftFlex skin barrier

A synthetic skin barrier that provides gentle adhesive attachment to the skin. SoftFlex is designed to limit skin damage with frequent removal and can be changed daily (or more often).


A surgically created opening connected to the gastrointestinal or urinary tract. Also known as an ostomy. The stoma is pink and moist and doesn’t have feeling.


A surgically created opening into the urinary system; drains urine and sometimes mucus.

Urostomy pouches

Pouches with a drain valve at the bottom so urine can be emptied quickly and easily.

Wear time

Wear time is the length of time a product can be worn before failure. Wear time varies widely based upon a variety of factors.

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    The information provided herein is not medical advice and is not intended to substitute for the advice of your personal physician or other healthcare provider. This information should not be used to seek help in a medical emergency. If you experience a medical emergency, seek medical treatment in person immediately.

    Prior to use, be sure to read the Instructions for Use for information regarding Intended Use, Contraindications, Warnings, Precautions, and Instructions.