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Double Barrel Stoma

Updated on February 26, 2015

A stoma is created when a part of the small intestine (ileostomy) or large intestine (colostomy) is brought to the surface of the abdomen. This must be done when bowel walls are severely damaged, and can be either temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of the damage.

In some cases, two bowel openings (both the proximal and distal) are created. One opening of the stoma will secrete feces and the other opening, known as the mucous fistule, secretes mucus. These bowel openings are known as double barrel, or double loop stomas.

A pouch will be placed around the stomas to catch drainage. This pouch will have to be drained periodically, and replaced altogether one to two times a week (or whenever leakage occurs). In the case of double barrel stomas, it may be difficult to hold a seal for the pouch, since much liquid will be draining from the stomas. This can mean that the bag will have to be replaced more often than bags of regular stomas. When this happens, the pouch must be replaced pretty quickly to prevent skin irritation (similar but more severe than diaper rash). When skin irritation occurs, it makes it even more difficult to hold a seal. So it is essential to change the bag as soon as possible. Although this can be frustrating, it is important to note that there are many products that can help hold a seal for a longer period of time. I have learned that with my dad, both stomahesive paste and two part bags are more helpful and will last longer.

With double barrel stomas, the bags that will most likely work best are those that can be cut to fit the stomas rather than ones with an already made hole. The closer the bag fits around the stoma, the better the seal you will get. Not all double barrel stomas will leak often, and those should be replaced one to two times per week. Bags must be drained more often for double barrel stomas, since more drainage will occur.

Please note, however, that it is possible to live a normal and active lifestyle with a stoma, as long as you care for it properly. More people than you know have ostomies. In fact, you really can not tell the pouch is even there under your clothing. So know that there is support and help out there, and that ostomies are quite normal.


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