Disease of or damage to the gastrointenstinal tract that requires surgical treatment can result in the body no longer being able to expel food waste through normal bowel movements. Under these circumstances an alternate path for bowel movements must be created so that food waste can be safely removed from the body - an ostomy provides that path. As such, an ostomy is a surgically created opening on the front of the abdomen where a portion of the bowel is brought through to create a stoma or opening. Through the stoma, waste is allowed to pass directly out of the body and into an attached ostomy pouch.
More information on the two types of ostomy that are associated with colorectal treatment is listed below. Click on each one to find answers to frequently asked questions about the particular ostomy: