Welcome to the Mayo Clinic Ostomy Surgery Page. An ostomy is a surgically created opening in your abdomen that allows waste or urine to leave your body. It takes time to become comfortable with an ostomy. Our goal is to connect you with others and provide you with information and support.

Follow the Ostomy page to learn about ostomy care, read experiences of others and find resources for all your ostomy needs. Post a comment and share your thoughts.

Oct 18, 2018

Peristomal Skin Care

By Candy-CWOCN RN, @candywocrn

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The skin around your stoma is called your peristomal skin. Maintaining healthy skin in this area is very important.  Most people do not think about skin health when they think of ostomies.  However, the skin surrounding your stoma can have a great impact on your quality of life.  Healthy peristomal skin should be intact with no signs of redness, warmth, itching or pain.

Poor skin health surrounding your stoma can lead to leakage, odor, additional healthcare costs, pain and discomfort.   Prevention is the key.  There are many things you can do to keep you peristomal skin healthy.

Skin Care Tips

  • Less is better. Water alone is enough for cleaning your peristomal skin. If soap is preferred, use a mild soap without added lotions or creams.
  • Ensure your pouching system has a secure seal. To protect the skin, the opening in the skin barrier should fit snugly around the stoma.
  • Change your pouching system when needed. Talk to your ostomy nurse for guidance on how often you should change your pouching system.
  • Urostomy patients should connect pouch to overnight drainage system to prevent urine from undermining the skin barrier and causing leakage on the skin.
  • If concern for allergic reaction, talk with your ostomy nurse to find appropriate pouching system.
  • Remove pouching system gently to avoid adhesive skin injury. Pouching system without tape borders can also be considered.
  • Consider permanent hair removal for ostomies that are problematic or permanent for persistent folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles).

Peristomal skin complications are not a normal part of life with a stoma. You do not have to accept the pain of peristomal skin complications.  If you have red, broken or irritated skin, seek the assistance of your healthcare professionals.

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