Types of Stoma

A stoma is a surgically created opening that connects a tube like vessel to the outside. It comes from the Greek word meaning mouth or opening. There are many types of stoma, but we will only concentrate on those for the bowel and urinary system.


A colostomy can be made at almost any point along the large bowel (colon). Where the colostomy is created will depend on the medical reason, but generally they are located on the lower left hand side of the abdomen. The output may be almost fully formed stool and wind is common.


An ileostomy is made from the small intestine (ileum); usually it will be located on the lower right hand side of the abdomen. The output is generally liquid to paste-like stool and can often be corrosive due to the presence of digestive enzymes.


A urostomy is a diversion which drains urine and is made using the small bowel. It is generally located on the abdomen on the lower right hand side. The output is urine although you may find some mucous is secreted due to the nature of the surgical operation.

What should my stoma be like?

Your stoma should be red in colour similar to the inside of the mouth; this is due to the rich blood supply to the stoma. If the colour of the stoma changes, turns pale, dusky or dark then please contact your stoma nurse.

You may find that your stoma bleeds when wiped, this is normal and is again due to the rich blood supply very close to the surface.

Your stoma will have no feeling when you touch it as there are no nerves in the bowel tissue. Your stoma should also feel warm to the touch.

An ileostomy will usually be raised above the skin to form a spout and this allows the output to flow into the pouch more easily. A colostomy will usually be flush with the skin.


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