Pain and Stoma Anxiety After Ostomy Surgery

Past Member

Hi everyone. I am having temporary ostomy surgery on 6/6 and am very nervous about a lot of things. The two things I worry about the most are what will the pain level be when I wake up from surgery and for the first couple of weeks. Also, I am very nervous about just getting used to the visuals of the stoma. I have a very weak stomach and usually get very nauseous and have passed out many times in the past for much less. I'm hoping my anxiety and fear are making me think this will be much worse than it actually will be. Please, any advice or information about my concerns would be VERY much appreciated. Thank you so much in advance. I'm so nervous.


The two things you are worrying about are both hugely individual things and dependent on exactly what you're having done. For me, I was really sore for a week or so. Felt like I did 10,000 sit-ups. No real "pain", just sore. I lived on Tylenol for a while. The key is to use whatever medication for pain they tell you to and to stay ahead of the pain instead of waiting till you're in pain to take your meds. As far as the visual and, of course, the smell of emptying/changing your pouch, I think since you have/must deal with it, you'll adjust just fine since you don't really have a choice in it. You can always Google to get pictures of stomas to help you get an idea of what's coming. Good luck.

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Hi Alundrah, like AlexT said, it is very individual. Just take your pain meds on a regular schedule and you should be fine. The other worry... well, I used to cry every time I had to change it, but never passed out. It is your body, just a bit different, you will get used to it over time. Sending loads of love and positive vibes your way.


Hello Alundrah.

It’s like Alex T says; these things are, or can be, very different for different people.

I was in great pain before my surgery so, I was looking forward to that diminishing once I had the operation. I was not disappointed in that regard. However, the surgeon did say that ‘keyhole’ surgery was less likely to cause problems than when they open people up.

As for the aesthetics of the ‘thing’ – they say that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.

I never perceived my stoma as anything other than a necessary appendage to manage my waste (which I was certainly not managing very well before).  I did not ‘want’ it, but appreciated what it could do for me to make my life and lifestyle more acceptable.

From the tone of your post and the fact that you mention worry, nervousness, anxiety,  fear etc. It encourages me to think that it might be  this psycho-social aspect which may need some work for you to ‘manage’.

We also have different strategies for dealing with potential stress in our lives: I tend to write rhymes so that I can clarify my thinking and it helps me to ‘get a grip’ of those things that might otherwise send my emotions into an uncontrollable spin.

I wrote three short books about life with a stoma, but I will share with you the very first two rhymes on this theme so that you can get a sense of what was going through my mind at the time. I hope this might be of some help and comfort to you.

(If you are a glutton for punishment, or simply enjoy reading rhyming verse, then many of my rhymes on the subject of stomas can be found in the ‘collections’ section under ‘poems by Bill’.

Best wishes



I must admit I had a scare
the first time that I saw it there.
I can’t remember what I said
about this thing so crimson red.

Some thoughts were flashing through my mind
about how fate had been unkind.
Most of all I thought “Why me!”
that had to have this ostomy.

What in the world had I done wrong
that to this thing, I’d now belong?
This thing that stuck out from my tum
replacing my malfunctioning bum. 

Right now I only speak for me
when talking of my ostomy.
They told me I would benefit
but I began to doubt that bit.

To tell the truth, I won’t pretend
I thought that this would be the end.
I thought the active life I’d led
was now gone, forever dead.

There was no way that I could swim
with what looked like an extra limb.
There’s nothing anyone could say
to keep these type of thoughts at bay.

The negatives exaggerated
as my mood degenerated.
It seemed that I had lost control
of my body and my soul.

But now I’ve had this ‘thing’ a while
I can look back and I can smile.
For now I’m doing so much more
and I’m  more active than before.

                                              B. Withers  2012

       (In: My Ostomy World 2013)


‘Twas not an answered prayer for me

to ‘have’ to have an ‘Ostomy’. 

It’s no more easy to adjust

just because something’s a ‘must’.

I could whine and feel quite sad

but now it’s done it’s not so bad.

Bright blood - red as it could be

it’s not unlike a rose to see. 

Rose red colour, shape as well

shame it hasn’t got same smell. 

Bulbous shapes surround a hole

as if formed by mini-mole. 

Shows  sensuous femininity

plus  protruding  masculinity.

There is base beauty to be found. 

in this mucus membrane mound. 

I appreciate it’s feel when warm 

and celebrate its rounded form.

When washing with the water cold

it shrivels like it’s growing old.

Predictably it starts to grow 

once warm internal fluids flow.

I must surmise how I might be

without my mighty Ostomy.

Pre–ostomy I had much pain

that I would not want back again.

Pre-ostomy as I recall

I hardly had a life at all. 

From all that painful past I’m free

now my  stoma’s part of me.

                              Bill Withers  2011

                       (In: My Ostomy World 2013)

Meadow Snow
Reply to Bill

I love these two poems, Bill. I can relate so much, as I'm sure we all can. Thank you.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister
Reply to Meadow Snow

Hello Meadow Snow.

Thank you so much for your appreciative response to these rhymes.

It is always gratifying to  know that people still like and appreciate the rhymes long after they have been written.

Best wishes



Hi Alundrah, I found the first two to three days were the worst, and then my pain diminished quite quickly, but I was, as Alex said, sore for quite a while. I think you might surprise yourself when you actually see your stoma. You have an advantage over some of us, in that you know what is ahead. I had emergency surgery for a ruptured bowel, and was told only an hour or so before my actual surgery, that I would be getting an ostomy. It was quite a shock to wake up to my new reality. Still, the nurses and doctors made things easier for me with their kindness and encouragement. I even had one doctor comment to me that I had a "nice rosebud", which is the term some use for their stomas. Getting used to the maintenance of your ostomy might be more of a challenge, but there is help available, including all of us here, so don't hesitate to ask questions as things come up. It's normal to be anxious, but you will get through it, and remember, you are one of the lucky ones if it's only temporary!



Hello Alundrah. Welcome to the site and please continue to ask any questions you may have. Somebody, or many somebodies, will have the info you need. I can't add a whole lot to what's already been said above. But as a fellow weak-stomached guy, I can assure you that nothing is as bad as you think it's going to be. The pain was minimal on both of mine. Just follow Alex's advice and stay ahead of it with meds for the first few days and it will quickly become a non-issue. As for dealing with the stoma itself, (my biggest concern) you really have no choice so the key thing is to embrace it and jump in with both feet. The visuals are really no big deal either. Even for me and I've passed out from seeing blood more times than I care to remember. You can find stoma pics online, so you can know what to expect and that it won't be as gross as you may think it will be. Also, you have plenty of time to worry and mentally build this into something more than it is. If you can NOT do that, you'll probably be surprised how quickly you are able to adapt to your new circumstances. I choose to look at my situation this way. Yes, I have to squeeze "output" from a bag. But I'll never have to wipe it off my ass again.


Hi Alundrah, welcome to this site. I hope everything goes well for you. Please feel free to ask any questions you have as you go along. I have gotten a lot of information from this site. These folks like to share information on many things that may come up. Best wishes.

ron in mich

Hi Alundrah, welcome to the site. I've had an ileostomy for 30 some years due to UC/Crohn's disease. Depending on how healthy you are at the time of surgery, it will kind of depend on how quickly you bounce back from surgery. Like others said, take the pain meds before any pain is unbearable. After the first week, try to get outside for fresh air and some walking. Eat small meals several times a day and sip your favorite drinks during the day, but no carbonated. Good luck and keep us posted on recovery. We'll answer any questions going forward.

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