After your operation, you'll likely feel weak. This is normal, so don't be alarmed. People experience a range of different emotions, but you won't be alone.
When you wake up, you will have your first Ostomy pouch already attached. It is likely that it will be transparent , so that the nurses can easily check on your stoma. It will be swollen at first, but will reduce in size over a few weeks.
You will also have “drips and drains” going into your body, plus a supporting rod (known as a 'bridge') to help your stoma. These are all completely natural and will be taken out when the time is right with little discomfort.
Your stoma will begin to work. The output will be watery and very smelly since your bowel has not been active for a while. There may even be some blood mixed in with it.
Your output will thicken slightly and a balanced diet will reduce the smell.
The stoma will also make gas noises (or flatus).
Some patients who did not have the lower bowel/rectum/anus removed still feel the need to go to the toilet. This will go away over time.
If you still have your anus, there might be some mucus output. It might help if you sat on a toilet to pass this as normal.
For the first few weeks you may feel overwhelmed about the amount of new information. Things will get easier. Over the first few months you will become more comfortable and you will adjust to life with a stoma.
Eventually you will reach a point where life – not your stoma – is the focus. There's plenty of information on this site about socialising, dieting, exercising, possibly returning to work and other aspects of a healthy, active life after your operation.
If you feel concerned then you can talk to your nurse, doctor or other healthcare professionals who can help answer your questions. We have also collected some Frequently Asked Questions.
We also have a list of helpful Associations that can help support you.