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Ostomy Care at UPMC Wound Healing Services

There are three main types of ostomies: colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy.

When a part of your intestine doesn't work correctly, you may need a stoma. This can be a life-saving surgery for some people.


During colostomy surgery, a surgeon:

  • Makes an opening in your belly (stoma).
  • Brings the longest part of your intestine (the colon) to the surface of your skin.
  • Connects your colon to the stoma, giving waste a new way to leave the body. It now leaves through your stoma instead of your anus.

Since there's no muscle around the stoma, you can't control when stool or gas leaves your body. Your waste will automatically go from the stoma into the colostomy pouch (bag) around the stoma.

The discreet bag — which you can't see through clothes — will block the smell of waste.


An ileostomy surgery differs from a colostomy procedure in that with an ileostomy, the stoma is formed from the small intestine instead of the large intestine.


A urostomy is performed after your bladder has been surgically removed or no longer works. During this procedure, a surgeon creates a stoma in a patient’s belly. A piece of intestine is then used to remove urine through that opening.

How We Can Help Care for Your Ostomy

Whether you have a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy, UPMC Wound Healing Services can help answer questions you may have after surgery.

Our outpatient ostomy and wound care experts can provide:

  • Post-operative education on caring for your ostomy.
    • People with a new stoma often have questions about how to care for it and their pouching system.
    • A review of how to empty and apply your pouching system is frequently needed to provide confidence and peace of mind.
    • Other questions about traveling, exercising, intimacy, and odor are common as well.
  • Assistance with finding the correct products for your abdomen and stoma.
    • The size and shape of your abdomen and stoma may change after an ostomy surgery.
    • The products selected for you in the hospital or shortly after may not fit due to these changes.
    • Finding products that fit your body contours and stoma can ensure a secure fit and a more comfortable solution for everyday life.
    • A correctly fitting pouching system is important to eliminate the chance of leakage.
  • Resolution of skin irritations.
    • The skin under your ostomy barrier (adhesive base plate) should be healthy and resemble the skin on the rest of your abdomen.
    • If you are experiencing leakage, or have in the past, your skin may be red, sore, itchy, or open (weeping).
    • Skin irritation can be caused by a number of reasons, such as a poorly fitting pouching system, a pouch that does not bend or move with your body, or stripping due to adhesives, such as tape.
    • It is important to learn how to properly care for your skin and find products that fit your abdomen and stoma and move with your body.

Where You Can Find Ostomy Care

The following UPMC Wound Healing Services locations offer ostomy care: