Let’s look at some of the most pressing concerns for managing an ostomy condition as a woman. There are certain health issues, germane to females, that require specific consideration such as menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. This article won’t replace the advice of your physician but can give you a bird’s-eye-view of what to expect when managing a stoma in light of those factors.
One of the first questions we hear from new female ostomy patients is “How will ostomy affect my period, and what can I do to manage adverse symptoms?” First, yes, you will still have a period, all other things being equal, but it may cease temporarily following the surgery. It’s common for women to miss a period, but things typically return to normal after four to six weeks. This, of course, varies from one woman to the next.
What can you do to mitigate the potentially painful mix of menstruation symptoms and post-ostomy recovery? There’s no silver bullet remedy, but it’s possible to lessen the severity with a few good habits. This includes getting plenty of rest, drinking enough water and herbal teas for hydration, trying gentle stretching exercises, and the occasional warm bath to relax.
Ostomy patients can still become pregnant, however, some patients may have a tougher time depending on the results of the surgery, and whether it affected the reproductive organs.
What does pregnancy entail for your stoma? Pregnancy will, perhaps not surprisingly, increase the height and diameter of the stoma. Often at around the second trimester, you may need to switch the wafers you use for securing your ostomy pouches. We’re more than happy to help you select a different size or application method to accommodate the pregnancy changes.
Finally, in terms of delivery itself, you’ll need to work with your doctor/midwife over whether to expect a natural birth, and how to plan for contingencies.
Menopausal women often experience changes in hormone levels that can affect bowel movements and skin conditions, which are important issues for any ostomy patient. Such a drop in estrogen levels may cause food to pass through your digestive system quicker, thus increasing the frequency for emptying ostomy pouches. Be extra careful with skin conditions around your stoma when entering menopause. If you experience any new redness or irritation, you may need to try different pouches, but only do so after consulting a professional.
These are the primary concerns specific to female ostomates. You can always reach out to our team at Fortis Medical Products for further advice on handling pouches and other ostomy supplies regarding these crucial topics. Contact us anytime to learn more at 855-550-2600.