stoma problems

Stoma skin problems – WARNING Graphic images 

I have had some issues with my Stoma post surgery. The stitches came away from the skin leaving me with a large hole into my stomach.

It was bloody awful to look at, it was really nasty and made me queasy. I documented the healing process though as in the beginning I couldn’t imagine it getting any better.

Be warned that the images in this post are really quite graphic.  If you don’t like images of open wounds and stomas, I really wouldn’t bother with the rest of this post!

The reason for this post is not to shock but to teach and comfort anyone who has had this happen to them, when it first happened to me, I panicked and was really upset and terrified.  I could see into my body!! I spoke to my stoma nurse (and I 100% recommend that you speak to a medical professional if you are having any issues!!!) and she told me that it wasn’t that rare, that I needn’t be too concerned and that with treatment, it would soon be sorted.

I used a paste to fill in the hole, it was the Convatec Stomahesive paste that does really sting for the first few seconds when you apply it, but it does the job.  It fills the hole so poo can’t get in and then heals it from the inside out.

Apart from the obvious need to heal the hole, what is important is that when you have a would like this, it stops your bags from sticking properly and when you don’t have a well fitting bag, you get extremely sore, wet skin which in turn, further stops your bag from fitting… It is a vicious circle that is miserable as if you don’t have a well fitting bag, you get leaks and leaks stop you from living a normal life.

I feel I have given enough warnings now, the photographs below could be upsetting if you don’t like seeing inside a body!! So scroll down if you want to see the healing process and I really hope it helps.








































stoma problems my stoma has come away from the skin

Day 1 – 15th January –  the stoma has come away from the skin.  You can see the stitches still surrounding my skin.
stoma problems my stoma has come away from the skin

Day 3 – 17th January – you can see it has got worse here, this is before any treatment.  You can see right inside here!



stoma problems my stoma has come away from the skin

Day 5 – 19th January – I had been using the Convatec Powder but it wasn’t really helping.



stoma problems my stoma has come away from the skin

Day 7 – 20th January – it was really bad here, though the wound is starting to heal from the inside, you can see how my bags haven’t been sealing properly and therefore the skin around my stoma is blistering and burning.  This is from my very acidic poo getting on my skin and burning away at it.



stoma problems my stoma has come away from the skin

Day 8 – 21st January – still really bad! Those open burns and blisters are extremely painful.  I saw my stoma nurse on this day and she wasn’t happy with the powder treatment and started me on the paste.
stoma problems my stoma has come away from the skin

Day 11 – 24th January- after just three days using the paste, you can see the VAST improvement.  The wound is healing and you can see that my skin is healing too.  The paste goes around the stoma and fills in the hole, it means no poo can get on my skin.  You can also see that the last of my stitches have dissolved or come out.



stoma problems my stoma has come away from the skin

Day 14 – 27th January – my skin is almost completely healed after 6 days using the paste and you can see that the wound is almost completely closed.



stoma problems my stoma has come away from the skin

Day 21 – 3rd Feb – after another week using the paste, my skin is healed and the wound is well on it’s way to being filled and healed!



stoma problems my stoma has come away from the skin
Day 23 – 5th Feb – another two days and it is pretty much there!



stoma problems my stoma has come away from the skin

Day 29 – 11th Feb – the wound is completely healed though my skin is still slightly discoloured.  You can see how well healed the rest of my skin is as my bag is fitting perfectly and so I am having no seepage or leaks.



So there we go, that was my process from wound opening to healing.  As I said, I have shared these photos and this post to help anyone going through skin problems and so I hope this has been of use.  It can be extremely scary when things go wrong and I think it is good to see other people’s experiences so you can see there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Don’t forget that your stoma nurse is the best port of call for any stoma issues, they have seen it all before and will have treatments and solutions.  My first treatment didn’t work for me but the second was brilliant, my stoma nurse told me there were more things to try if it didn’t work though.

I hope my openness helps everyone with a stoma to not worry, not be embarrassed and to speak out and get help if you have any issues.  And for all you who just wanted a gawk, I hope you enjoyed it!!!


Sam xx

33 replies
  1. Dave Pawson
    Dave Pawson says:

    Sam, I ‘complained’ to my surgeon about the ‘too big’ size of my stoma. Over an inch sticking out (at largest). Certainly much bigger than yours. He was adamant that it was ‘about right’.
    (Assuming he was right) – my logic goes that a small one (yours) can hide inside the bag and get crap more easily onto the skin?
    Does that make sense?
    Are there any guidelines?
    Just curious..

    Glad your ‘wound’ is healing nicely. Keep on the mend!

    • sam
      sam says:

      My stoma nurse says she would like to see inch long stomas as standard as they are far better behaved and you have less leaks. She said mine is very flat, I am hoping that as the swelling goes down, it will stick out a bit more!

  2. Paula
    Paula says:

    I use Cavillon barrier wipes to protect my skin from the poo. Mine was very bad and nothing would stick since all it did was bleed and weep. It looks so much better now and feels better. I am glad you are getting better.

  3. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    Wow Sam, I’ve only had my Ileostomy for nine months I don’t think I’ll complain about the sensitive skin issues around my stoma ever again! It looks so painful. My stoma (named Twango-like Rango, but Twango because he stinks) hurt just looking at it 😉 I’m glad its getting better! 🙂
    PS-You’re awesome! xo

  4. Jasmine Stacey
    Jasmine Stacey says:

    This post is great and honesty shows the struggles with peristomal skin! It’s a nightmare. I also used that paste and found it help heal everything! I still use it now even on little cuts and things. Seems to work wonders. Hope having your bag back again is all going okay xx

  5. Bec
    Bec says:

    You’re totally right (and awesome) for posting this and I hope anyone struggling with their recovery sees this and it helps them feel better. As always, you are doing such a great job of educating your readers and providing people with IBD and stomas valuable support. Glad to see you are on the mend and continuing to be so bad ass!

  6. jhendrix
    jhendrix says:

    I am so happy to have seen your horrible photos. It has helped to give me hope. My stoma looks like your Day 3, January 17 except that there are two spots like that. I’ve been using powder but will definitely try the paste. I honestly was thinking there was something very very wrong with this stoma. It feels good to have hope rather than fear. Thanks to all the people out there who share!

  7. Annie Heta
    Annie Heta says:

    Hi out there, my partner has been given an option either to have this operation or wait and see as one of his polyps was 4.5 cancerous. He is to have MRI and a Pet CT Scan and from there we will be deciding which way he will go as it is his decision. I would like to hear from people who chose not to have the operation also please and also those that did go ahead with the operation. Mainly I would like to know how couples coped throughout this chapter in their lives. Have a blessed day.

  8. Clare Pomfrett
    Clare Pomfrett says:

    I collapsed and when I eventually woke up my husband told me my bowel had burst. I’d been very ill
    he said the doctors had said that nature would have to take it’s course unfortunately I woke up. I wish I hadn’t.

    The stoma is disgusting and it makes me even more disgusting looking. I wish I’d died. No-one would care. or even know as we have no friends.

    • sam
      sam says:

      Oh Clare, I am so sorry you feel like this. Has this been very recent? I hope you can get some help and support to deal with what is going on, are you in the UK? Can you see your GP about how you are feeling? I would care and I have never met you Clare, it is sometimes hard to see the light when we feel so down but you are worthy of life and I beg you to seek help.

      You can call and speak to the Samaritans if you ever feel suicidal, if you ever feel you are in immediate risk of self harm, then please do go to A&E.

      You aren’t disgusting Clare, you are a survivor xxxx

  9. Bobbi Vee
    Bobbi Vee says:

    My sister recently had surgery to remove tumor from colon & now has to use colostomy bag. She does not habe protruding stoma. She has what looks like a knife stab slit about one inch in length. The slit opening is placed in the inner fold of a roll of fat. Bags do not stay attached! The feces leaks out of slit directly on to her skin. Her skin is beet red and she is in constant pain. Her surgeon says it is fine. The home nurses say they have never seen anything like this no-stoma opening. My sister has been treated so many times in emergency room for skin infections & pain. She has started chemo treatment so surgery to re-do stoma is not being considered. Hoping someone can give me suggestions.

    • Beverly
      Beverly says:

      We are facing the same problem! My friend has what looks like a knife wound with her stoma “inverted” to the inside. She can’t keep bags on, her skin is blistered, and she’s in terrible pain!

  10. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    I had rectal cancer , after chemotadiotherathy together it dissapeared so had a choice sit and wait it’s called . Scans every 3 months . I decided to “sit and wait “ . The year after it spread to my lymph nodes in right groin so had the row taken out and was left with lympodema and more chemo .The year after it decided to make an appearance again in my bottom so had no choice but to have an APR to remove bottom stitch it all up then stoma it took 8 and half hours to do the op then more chemo . Phew it’s taken almost 4 years but now had the all clear . My stoma ( beryl lol ) has been fantastic and had no problems I guess I’m teally lucky as it’s been 20 months now altho I’m seem to be getting a lumpy fleshy thing growing actually on the stoma side and it’s growing ! So going to ring stoma nurse ( for the first time ) I’ll let you guys now how I go on . Reading some of these stories sucks keep positive and I wish you well ? xx

  11. dana
    dana says:

    My stoma is now 30 years old. Ostomies are not given out as often as they used to be, and I’m treated like a rarity. Where I live (Florida) the medical knowledge is deplorable. I now have black, shiny, “non” skin around my stoma, from stoma to about one inch in a complete circle. The best medical advice I’ve gotten is “I’ve never SEEN anything like that!” All I know for sure is it’s not fungal, bacterial and looks like black saran wrap. I’m thinking it’s more of a “bed sore”, pressure wound from wearing a convex wafer for 30 years,. I do not use anything on my skin except for the wafer, and since nothing wants to stick to the shiny skin, I get 3 days wear time.

  12. Omar Villarreal
    Omar Villarreal says:

    I’ve had mine for 4 yrs. Real bad placement of the stoma. Right the fold of the stomach. Mine became inverted within the first 2 days. Has changed shape from 1 1/4 in to 2 3/4 in. It’s ALWAYS saturated with blood doesn’t let the bag stick to my skin. Chunks of flesh come off with the tape I use. Wish I could upload pictures.

  13. Donna
    Donna says:

    Hello… I have had a colostomy for 2 1/2 years. I have gone through the bloody stoma surround. I found out I was sensitive to the adhesive and through trial and error finally went with holister’s cera pur and it is much better. (I have a very flat stoma)
    Now I have a problem with a very protruding area around the stoma. It looks like the size of a small beach ball and I can only get very few clothes on. I’m getting afraid to eat and wonder if anyone else has this?

    • Ralph
      Ralph says:

      I have had my stoma for 2 years now, I use Appeal Hydrosolve adhesive removal wipes when I’ve cleaned the soma with lukewarm water after cleaning around it after my bag removal, I clean with Non Woven Fabric swabs. Touch wood no problems so far.

  14. Mary Singleterry
    Mary Singleterry says:

    I’ve enjoyed your post.hoping they will help me .my ostamy is very sore raw.bleeding.tiny blisters.i need a ostamy nurse.?how do I achieve this .thank you each and every one .mary

    KISHOR THAKUR.(From INDIA) says:

    I operate in 2015 now around the stoma somany poo is there.i am useing coloplast Ostomy powder.But no relief onstoma.which cream can I used ?

  16. Cathy
    Cathy says:

    Hi I’ve just purchased a tube of this stoma paste ( convatec paste ) how do you apply it to the wound of my stoma after having a infection which has caused to holes the tube I have received is all in Spanish instructions.

  17. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    My ileostomy is 10 years old. I have the same problem that you all have. Sores seepage etc. my nurse took a swab of my sores and wrote a prescription for
    Keflex. It helped with the healings but unfortunately it comes back about twice a year At first i was very bitter about my body. I had my vagina removed too due to cancer. Now I’m very thankful that i made it through. I now have a great grandson that I would never have known had I had my wishes granted after surgery. God is good

  18. KAREN
    KAREN says:

    March 5, 2019 5 hour colon/colostomy surgery, ugly long scar, in hospital 24 days, transferred to nursing home for rehab and recovery for 2 months. Developed hernia soon at the nursing home. Trouble for incisional healing, 4 transfusions in hospital. Now after many months I feel something went wrong during surgery. To this day, I do not feel even half-way recovered, legs weak, requiring daily naps. Yesterday my caregiver, LVN noticed a teensy hole next to the stoma, after all these months. Have appointment today with primary care doc. Thank you for listening.

  19. Patricia Reid
    Patricia Reid says:

    I have the same problem but min e did not heal I have a permanent gap between my skin and my stoma .I have a loop ileostomy now my stoma has shifted now part of my stoma is In the gap and it empties into the hole spots always burning g and causing leaks I am at the point were I change my bag on average 7 times a day I have had my stoma for over a year now thanks for letting me vent

  20. Sue Mac
    Sue Mac says:

    I noticed a small slit under my soma that was leaking poo, not too serious…yet I know it is of concern as skin around stoma is irritated. That goes with the territory. Thanks for your help I appreciate your photos & advise have helped many including me.😊

  21. Gary
    Gary says:

    I have an ileostomy my stoma sits down below the skin about a half an inch. I always have problems with skin irritation. And leaks are a problem. I have skin crease on both sides of the stoma. Have to use stick paste to fill in. Then I have an ekin ring over that.. and then a convex ring on that then the pouch. Maybe if I had surgery to bring the stoma up above the skin it may be better. Any thoughts anyone?

    • sam
      sam says:

      Im not sure how likely it is that a surgeon would agree to resite your stoma without strong medical reasons but you could ask their opinion? Are you in contact with your stoma nurse? Do they have any other suggestions? Best of luck to you x


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