What is an Ostomy? 

smiling older man reading a book"Ostomy" refers to a surgically created opening on the abdomen from an internal organ. There are several types; the most common ostomies are:

  • Ileostomy - an opening from the ileum (part of the small intestine)
  • Colostomy - an opening from the colon (large intestine)
  • Urostomy - an opening from a part of the urinary system (kidneys, ureters or bladder)

A stoma is the actual end of the ureter or small or large bowel that can be seen protruding through the abdominal wall.

These operations are performed on children and adults of all ages for diseases such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, familial polyposis, cancer of the colon or of the bladder, as well as for certain birth defects, neurological disorders, or accidents. Often, the operation is a life-saving measure.

Rehabilitation and emotional acceptance, which are not easy for many ostomates, can be achieved better with appropriate help. Throughout the world, there are hundreds of thousands of ostomates living normal and productive lives.

For more details about specific ostomy types and other ostomy support information, please visit the United Ostomy Associations of America web site at www.uoaa.org.

The Birmingham Ostomy Association is one of 450 support groups affiliated with the United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA).

The purpose of the Birmingham support group is to aid patients and their families in the practical and emotional adjustments to an ostomy. We offer rehabilitation help but do not provide medical advice. Nothing in this site should be interpreted as medical advice.