It is not an illness to have an ostomy, even though it is an indication of previous serious
illness, such as cancer, which is the reason for approximately 80% of all ostomy operations.
Ostomies can be divided into three categories: colostomy (large intestine), ileostomy (small
intestine) and urostomy (urinary tract). All require surgical redirection of the intestine or
urinary tract, allowing for elimination of urine and faeces by means of an opening in the
abdominal wall. For the population included in this study, subject with an ileostomy, colitis
ulcerosa is the main cause for an ileostomy where a surgical removal of the colon and rectum
resulting in an ileostomy in theory cures the disease.
It can be very challenging to live with an ostomy and modern ostomy products should make life
as easy as possible for people with ostomies.
Leakage and peristomal skin problems have been found to have a negative effect on the quality
of life for people with ostomies. The skin problems are the reason for one out of three
visits to ostomy nurses and occur much more frequently in people who have had ileostomies
than in those who have had colostomies. It has been observed that the prevalence of
peristomal skin problems is 21-60% among people who have ileostomies, 13-35% among those who
have colostomies and 21-48% among those who have urostomies.
Leakage from ostomies that comes into contact with the skin is thought to predispose the
patient to peristomal skin problems. One investigation of peristomal skin problems found that
77% of cases were related to contact with faeces or urine.
There are several reasons why leakage from an ostomy occurs, such as uneven peristomal area,
improper handling of the ostomy product or a problematic ostomy (its formation, its location,
retraction, prolapse or hernia). The ostomy may also change size with time, which can lead to
leakage, if the ostomy products are not adapted accordingly. As a general rule, a check-up of
the ostomy by an ostomy nurse or a doctor together with educational support can reduce these
problems. Modern ostomy products should, however, also be constantly developed in order to
lessen to the greatest extent possible the risk of leakage and associated inconveniences.