Colostomy & Ileostomy Practice Questions with Answers and NCLEX® Review

Ileostomy and colostomy are types of ostomy, a surgical procedure that creates an opening in the abdomen to allow waste to leave the body.

Colostomy & Ileostomy Practice Questions with Answers

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    Introduction to Ileostomies & Colostomies

    An ostomy is a surgery that creates an opening in the body, through which waste can be released. There are two different types of ostomies: ileostomy and colostomy

    An ileostomy involves joining the small intestine to the outside of the body. A colostomy involves a section of the colon that is brought through an opening in the abdominal wall, and attached to a bag outside the body.

    Both surgeries are typically performed as part of a treatment for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, cancer, or injury to the bowel (or other parts of the digestive system).

    Differences Between Ileostomy vs Colostomy

    The main difference between ileostomies and colostomies is the location. An ileostomy involves an ileum (small intestine) opening in the right lower quadrant (RLQ). And a colostomy consists of an opening in the colon.

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    Ileostomy vs Colostomy Care

    Nurses can care for both types of ostomies by providing education about how to manage them at home.

    Ileostomy and Colostomy Nursing Interventions

    • Assess the stoma and peristomal skin area with each pouch change. 
    • Perform application of appropriate skin barrier.
    • Provide education on the pouch system.

    Complications of Ileostomies and Colostomies

    Ileostomies and colostomies cause fluid and electrolyte imbalances because they are surgically created openings in the digestive tract. These openings allow stool to pass through the body, but do not allow for the absorption of nutrients, fluids, and electrolytes from food.

    The body doesn’t absorb as much water from what the client eats, and the fluids in the intestines are not able to be reabsorbed into the body.

    Stoma Infection

    Both ileostomies and colostomies have the same risk of infections from openings for waste to pass through.

    Stoma infections occur when bacteria from stool get into the abdomen, or near a stoma. This can happen if the skin around the stoma isn’t cleaned properly.

    The most common symptoms of stoma infection include: 

    • Bleeding and swelling around the stoma.
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Pain in the abdomen and/or back
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Diarrhea
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