Importance of World Ostomy Day, Oct 2, for those who undergo continent diversion surgery

By Sheshu Babu*

October 2 this year is  not only observed as the birthday of Gandhi, it is also a World Ostomy Day. Ostomy is an artificial opening during operation in the organ of the body such as a colostomy, ileostomy or gastrostomy, a stoma.

Ostomy surgery is a life saving procedure that allows bodily waste pass through a surgically created stoma on the abdomen into a prosthetic known as a ‘pouch’ or ostomy bag on the outside of the body or an internal surgically created pouch for continent diversion surgeries.(What is an Ostomy, ostomy.org). There are many causes for necessity of ostomy like birth – defects, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, inconvenience or abdominal or pelvic trauma caused by accidents or injuries in military service or other medical conditions. It does not lower life expectancy but it is the start of a ‘new normal’ life. Ostomy or continent diversion surgery can occur at any age.

Common ostomies

There are three common ostomies – colostomy, ileostomy  and urostomy. A colostomy may be performed  due to cancer, diverticulitis, imperforate anus, Hirschsprung’s  disease or trauma to the affected area. An ileostomy might be performed due to ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or familial polyposis. A urostomy may be performed due to bladder cancer, spinal cord injuries, malfunction of the bladder or birth defects such as spina bifida  (medical-dictionary, thefreedictionary.com).  The  life after surgery changes because of change in body and medical-related problems.

Adaptation

It takes a lot of time to adjust to the changed situation. In many people,  side- effects may cause discomfort. Some changes in food habits,  exercises  and daily routine may be necessary in order to maintain ‘pouches’ after surgery. There are number of ‘tips’ that  can help ostomy patients to lead a near-normal life , specially colostomy ( Ostomy: Adapting to life after colostomy,https:www.mayoclinic.org…/colon-cancer/in-depth/ostomy/…) .  Many medical and non-medical information can be obtained from various sources to make life happier and healthier.

Awareness

Ostomy Awareness Day is held usually on the first Saturday of October. This day coincides with World Ostomy Day  a  health observance where the world unites every three years to raise awareness  of ostomy. World Ostomy Day is sponsored by the International Ostomy Association. This October 2, 2021 will be the 10th time this event is taking place. This year’s motto as designated by European Ostomy Association is ‘Ostomates’  Rights are Human Rights – anytime and anywhere!! “(World Ostomy Day  / United Ostomy…ostomy.org). World  Ostomy  Day was established in 1993 by Dr. Gerhard Englert. He  sought to bring international attention to people living with stomas (joinbetter.com/community/blog/ostomy/uoaaa-ostomy a…).  In United States, National Ostomy Awareness  Day was  founded by the  United Ostomy Association of America (UOAA). The slogan ‘Ostomies are life savers’ is the main focus of the campaign. The association works year-round to educate and provide resources to the people with stomas.

Help

The government should come forward and help cancer and people with stoma bags. Treatment of deadly diseases is costly. Maintenance and replacement of bags imposes additional burden on patients. Private companies are cashing in on the helplessness of patients and making huge profits.

With cases of cancer and especially those having stoma bags on the rise, there is a need for urgent action and see that economic condition of patients doesn’t deteriorate  so that they can live comfortably without stress which is a prominent cause of prolongation of deadly disease like cancer.

*The writer is from anywhere and everywhere

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