The purpose of this study was to describe patients' experiences, with a focus on body image, 6 to 12 weeks after a stoma operation.
Nine patients (8 of whom received preoperative teaching) and who were expected to have their colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy for at least 6 months were interviewed about their feelings, attitudes, and life experiences after undergoing ostomy surgery.
Seven themes were identified: alienation from the body, altered body image, influences on sexual life, uncertainty, influences on social life, influences on sports and leisure activities, and physical problems.
Despite the fact that 8 of the 9 subjects were given comprehensive preoperative teaching, all of the interviewees reported that the stoma influenced their daily life in many unexpected ways, and some expressed severe difficulty in coming to terms with the stoma. With a deeper understanding of patients' experiences, the WOC nurse and other health care staff can more effectively prepare and support patients in adapting to their new situation.