For patients who have undergone ostomy surgery, daily life may at first be difficult. The right products and support network, however, can help them live comfortable lives.
When Donna Byfield, a certified wound ostomy nurse at Baptist Health, realized there was a lack of support for these patients, referred to as “ostomates,” she began a support group in South Florida.
“There is quite a large community, and a lot of people don’t want to speak about having an ostomy,” she said.
On Friday, the South Florida Ostomy Support Group will host its second ostomy product fair to provide information and offer product samples. Door prizes and complimentary snacks will be offered, and oOstomy care nurses will answer questions.
An ostomy is an artificial opening in the body, called a stoma, usually from which waste is released. Surgery types include colostomy (removal of colon), ileostomy (small intestine) and urostomy (urinary tract).
“An ostomy is a hole that we do in the bowel and we connect it to the abdominal wall,” said Dr. Augusto Whittwell, medical director of wound care at South Miami Hospital.
Throughout the U.S., approximately 30,000 to 60,000 patients have ostomy surgery each year, Whittwell said.
Patients might need an ostomy if they have colorectal cancer, bladder cancer or Crohn’s disease. According to Whittwell, the most common reason patients have ostomy surgery is to treat diverticulitis, which occurs when diverticula — small pouches found in the lower part of the large intestine — become inflamed or infected.
Ostomys are usually temporary and are reversed after about three months but can also be permanent.
If you go
▪ What: Second Annual Ostomy Product Fair
▪ Where: 8900 N. Kendall Dr., Auditorium 3
▪ When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 9
▪ Cost: Free
For information: Call Donna Byfield at 786-596-1642 or Lourdes Placeres at 786-596-6036
Additional meetings: The South Florida Ostomy Support Group meets on the third Wednesday of every month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Baptist Medical Arts Health Resource Center.