Ostomy Terms Explained | Ostomy Glossary

Laura Cox, LPC
Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
04/10/17  4:02 PM PST
Ostomy Terms

Before or right after ostomy surgery, all of the new terminology can feel overwhelming! See the alphabetic glossary below for a brief explanation of these new ostomy terms.

Ostomy Terms

Adhesive Remover Wipes/Spray – assists in breaking down the adhesive and easily removing the barrier from your skin when changing your system

Barrier – also known as a wafer, is the part of the pouching system that is backed with adhesive and sticks to the skin around the stoma

Barrier Strips/Paste/Rings – fills in uneven skin and protect the peristomal skin from damage

Barrier Wipe/Film/Spray – forms a thin film on the skin to help protect it from damaging output and adhesive

Closed Pouch – the user must replace the pouch every time he or she chooses to empty his or her pouching system

Convex Barrier – a barrier that is shaped to be used if the stoma does not stick out more than an inch from the abdomen or the stomach is not flat around the stoma

Cut-to-fit Barrier – does not have a precut hole for the stoma. The user cuts the barrier to fit the specific size and shape of his or her stoma. If the stoma is not round or is still changing sizes (following creation of the stoma), a cut-to-fit flange is the best option

Deodorant – a product that assists in eliminating odor by putting a couple drops in your pouch. You can learn more about odor management with an ostomy here.

Distal – means “far away from the place of attachment” – used when referring to the “downstream” part of the small or large intestine, or as a “distal stoma” meaning a stoma that passes mucus (as opposed to stool/output, which is what the “proximal stoma” does)

Drainable Pouch – allows the user to empty the pouch without changing it

Effluent– the output from the stoma – generally gas, stool and mucus

Electrolytes – body fluid is made up mainly of water and electrolytes, which are ions that are vital for cellular fuction. You lose electrolytes when you sweat and when your stoma outputs

Filter – a filter can be built in to some pouches and help reduce ballooning by releasing gas

Flange – the plastic ring or adhesive coupling on the barrier of a two piece system that is used to connect the pouch to the barrier

Hernia – a bulge underneath or around the stoma created by the intestines pushing through the abdominal muscles due to weakness

Hernia Belt – a specialized belt used to prevent hernias or prevent an existing hernia from getting worse

Ileum– the terminal section of the small intestine (where it transitions to the large intestine)

Lubricating Deodorant – eliminates odor while also having the added benefit of lubricating the inside of the ostomy bag and preventing stool from pancaking

One Piece System – the barrier and pouch permanently attached to each other

Pancaking – when stool sits around the top of the stoma appliance instead of falling down into the pouch. Find more info here.

Peristalsis – the naturally occurring contraction-like movement in the intestines to move feces through the GI track

Peristomal Skin– the skin surrounding the stoma, covered by the wafer

Pre-sized/Pre-cut Barrier – a barrier that is already cut to a round, specific size

Proximal – close to the place of attachment – used when referring to the “upstream” part of the small or large intestine, or as a “proximal stoma” meaning a stoma that passes stool/output (as opposed to mucus, which is what the “distal stoma” does)

Rectus Abdominis – the section of the abdomen the stoma should be placed on (the “six pack” area)

Stoma – the part of the small intestine or large intestine pulled through the abdominal wall, which eliminates waste from the body

Stoma Belt – secures the pouching system by either fitting around the flange or attaching to hooks on either side of the flange

Stoma/Ostomy Powder – a product that protects skin, absorbs moisture to ensure a better seal, and helps damaged skin heal by sticking to the damaged area and forming a layer in between the damaged skin and the adhesive from the barrier

Terminal – Where something ends

Two-Piece System – the barrier and pouch are separated. The two can be pieced together with a press-and-lock or adhesive connection.

WOCN – An acronym for a nurse who is trained to specialize in the care of wound, ostomy, and continence

For more information, see related ostomy product articles and ostomy resources here:

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