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.



Certain kinds of cancer, injury or other conditions can affect the function of your urinary tract. If your bladder no longer works correctly, your surgeon may need to create a new way for you to pass your urine.  One way is with a urostomy (also known as ileal conduit).

The surgeon uses a small piece of your intestines to make a passageway which will carry urine from your kidneys to an opening through your abdomen. Once this piece of intestines is separated, the surgeon reconnects the rest of your intestines, so you can still have bowel movements as you normally do.

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Your Stoma

The stoma is the portion of the intestines you see on your abdomen. The stoma looks red, swollen and moist.  It usually protrudes about one-half to one inch above the skin of your abdomen.  The swelling will decrease, and your stoma may become smaller over the six to eight weeks after surgery.  You may notice that your stoma moves slightly.  This movement is normal.  The surface and edges of your stoma may bleed a little when you clean your stoma.  This is normal and usually stops on its own.

There are no nerve endings in your stoma. Any discomfort you may feel is from the skin around the stoma.  Call your WOC nurse if you have any questions or concerns about your stoma or skin.

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Passing urine with an ostomy

Normally, urine flows from your kidneys to your bladder through two tubes called ureters. When your bladder is full, the urinary sphincter muscles relax, and then urine can pass from your body through a tube called the urethra.  When you have an ostomy, this system is diverted and instead urine will pass through the ostomy into a pouching system.

Stents may be placed in each ureter and exit through the ostomy to protect the surgical site. These stents are usually removed within 5 – 14 days.  You may be discharged with stents.  Your WOC nurse will teach you how to take care of the stents until they are removed.

Pouching System

A variety of pouching systems are available for ostomies. All are odor and water proof.  Your WOC nurse will help you decide which type of pouching system is best for you.


Adapting to Life after Colostomy, Ileostomy or Urostomy

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