3. Protection of Peristomal Skin and the Stoma

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Patient is able to discuss protection measures for peristomal skin and stoma


Peristomal skin is the two inches of skin around the stoma. It should always be healthy without signs of redness or irritation. Ideally a flange can stay on for five to seven days. A patient experiencing burning or itchiness around the stoma, discomfort or pain around the stoma or discolouration of the flange or adhesive should remove their appliance regardless of the day. These signs usually indicate leakage, and stool on the skin can be very irritating. Any red, irritated or weepy skin can be treated with a light application of protective powder followed by a skin sealant. If the skin remains irritated, the Enterostomal Therapy Nurse’s expertise will be required.

Hair growth around the stoma can be quite painful when removing the appliance and can lead to a condition called folliculitis or irritation of the hair follicles. Excess hair should be removed with an electric razor or scissors. Solvents (designed for ostomy care) may be used to help remove the appliance. Always remove the appliance in the direction of hair growth.

The stoma itself is a pretty hardy organ but direct trauma or a blow to the area should be avoided. People engaging in contact sports should protect the stoma with either a specially designed stoma cap or cone, or extra padding such as the padding used in hockey.

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