Skip to main content


Stoma Pronunciation: Sto-ma (stō′mə)

Definition: A stoma is a surgically created opening in the body for the discharge of body wastes. It can be temporary or permanent and is often created in the digestive or urinary system, for example, in an ileostomy or colostomy.

What is a Stoma?


A stoma is an opening in the abdomen that is made surgically to divert the flow of feces or urine. It is usually created as a result of a disease or injury that prevents normal waste elimination.

Key Facts about Stomas:

  • Stomas are typically created in the digestive system (colostomy, ileostomy) or urinary system (urostomy) to aid in waste elimination.
  • A bag, known as a stoma bag or ostomy bag, is typically worn over the stoma to collect waste.
  • People with stomas must learn stoma care, which involves regularly changing and emptying the bag and taking care of the skin around the stoma.
  • While having a stoma can be challenging, most people can lead normal, active lives with a stoma.

Stoma Care & Maintenance

How to Care for a Stoma?

Stoma care involves keeping the area around the stoma clean, changing the stoma bag regularly, and monitoring for any signs of irritation or infection.

  • Clean the skin around the stoma using warm water and a soft cloth.
  • Change the stoma bag as recommended by the healthcare provider.
  • Monitor the stoma and surrounding skin for any changes in color, swelling, or signs of infection.

Frequently Asked Questions About Stomas

Why is a stoma created?

A stoma is created when the normal route for body waste elimination is blocked or not functioning properly due to disease, injury, or a surgical procedure.

Can you live a normal life with a stoma?

Yes, most people with a stoma can lead a normal and active life. They can work, participate in sports, and have intimate relationships. However, living with a stoma can require adjustments and ongoing stoma care.


  1. Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Ostomy: Adapting to life after colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy. Retrieved July 26, 2023, from
  2. Colostomy UK. (n.d.). Stoma Care. Retrieved July 26, 2023, from
  3. United Ostomy Associations of America. (n.d.). Living with an Ostomy. Retrieved July 26, 2023, from