Person confidently managing their ostomy

Living with an ostomy can present unique challenges, and one of the most common issues faced by individuals with an abdominal stoma is peristomal skin complications (PSCs).

Understanding and Preventing Peristomal Skin Complications


Living with an ostomy can present unique challenges, and one of the most common issues faced by individuals with an abdominal stoma is peristomal skin complications (PSCs). PSCs include inflammation, injury, or damage to the skin surrounding the stoma, and they can significantly impact the quality of life for ostomy patients. In this article, we will explore the importance of ostomy education, risk assessment, and prevention strategies to manage and prevent PSCs effectively. As an experienced SEO and copywriter, I aim to provide you with valuable insights and actionable advice to help you navigate ostomy management with confidence.

Understanding Peristomal Skin Complications

What Are Peristomal Skin Complications?

Peristomal skin complications refer to the various skin issues that can occur around an abdominal stoma. When an ostomy is created, the intestine is brought to the surface of the abdomen, forming a stoma. The skin around the stoma is exposed to moisture, digestive enzymes, and the adhesive properties of ostomy products. This constant exposure can lead to skin problems such as irritation, redness, itching, and even open wounds. It is crucial to understand the causes and risk factors associated with PSCs to effectively manage and prevent them.

Factors Contributing to Peristomal Skin Complications

To better address peristomal skin complications, it is essential to identify the factors that contribute to their development. Several key factors play a role in PSCs, including:

1. Ostomy Type: Studies have shown that individuals with an ileostomy, where the stoma is created from the small intestine, are at a higher risk of developing PSCs compared to those with a colostomy.

2. Skin Sensitivity: Some individuals may have naturally sensitive skin, which can make them more prone to developing skin complications.

3. Poor Fitting or Improper Application of Ostomy Products: Incorrectly fitted or applied ostomy appliances can lead to leakage, skin irritation, and damage.

4. Allergic Reactions: Certain individuals may experience allergic reactions to the adhesive, pouch material, or other components of the ostomy products.

Impact of Peristomal Skin Complications

The presence of peristomal skin complications can significantly impact the daily lives of ostomy patients. These complications can cause physical discomfort, reduce adherence to ostomy care routines, and lead to emotional distress. Some common challenges faced by individuals with PSCs include:

1. Pain and Discomfort: Skin irritation, inflammation, and open wounds can cause pain and discomfort around the stoma site, making it difficult to perform routine activities.

2. Reduced Wear Time: Skin complications may require more frequent appliance changes, resulting in increased time, effort, and expenses for individuals managing their ostomies.

3. Psychosocial Impact: PSCs can affect body image, self-esteem, and overall emotional well-being. It may lead to social withdrawal and feelings of embarrassment or shame.

Ostomy Education and Risk Assessment

The Importance of Ostomy Education

Ostomy education plays a pivotal role in empowering individuals to effectively manage their ostomies and prevent complications. When seeking information or resources, it is crucial to rely on trustworthy and authoritative sources that provide accurate and up-to-date information. A comprehensive understanding of ostomy care, proper appliance selection and application, and early recognition of potential issues can greatly contribute to minimizing the risk of PSCs.

Conducting a Risk Assessment

A risk assessment is an essential step in identifying potential factors that may increase the likelihood of peristomal skin complications. Working with healthcare professionals specializing in ostomy care, individuals can assess their risk by considering the following factors:

1. Skin Condition: Evaluating the overall health and condition of the skin around the stoma, including any existing irritation, inflammation, or wounds.

2. Ostomy Product Selection: Ensuring the use of appropriate ostomy appliances that fit well, provide adequate protection, and suit individual needs.

3. Lifestyle Factors: Considering factors such as physical activity, climate, and the potential impact of daily activities on the ostomy site.

Prevention Strategies for Peristomal Skin Complications

Maintaining Proper Skin Care

Proper skin care is vital to prevent peristomal skin complications. The following practices can help maintain healthy skin around the stoma:

1. Gentle Cleansing: Cleanse the skin with mild, non-irritating cleansers specifically designed for ostomy care. Avoid harsh soaps or cleansers that can strip away natural oils.

2. Thorough Drying: After cleansing, ensure the skin is completely dry before applying a new ostomy appliance. Moisture can contribute to skin breakdown and increase the risk of PSCs.

3. Protecting the Skin Barrier: Applying protective barriers, such as skin prep wipes or barrier creams, can create a barrier between the skin and ostomy products, reducing the risk of irritation and damage.

Optimal Ostomy Product Selection and Application

Choosing the right ostomy products and applying them correctly are crucial in preventing PSCs. Consider the following tips:

1. Work with a Stoma Care Nurse: A stoma care nurse can provide guidance on selecting the most suitable ostomy products based on individual needs and preferences.

2. Ensuring Proper Fit: Properly fitting ostomy appliances can minimize leakage, prevent skin irritation, and promote longer wear time. Consult a healthcare professional for assistance if needed.

3. Regular Appliance Checks: Routinely inspect the ostomy appliance for signs of leakage, skin irritation, or damage. Address any issues promptly to prevent complications.

Building Trust and Expertise in Ostomy Management

Seeking Trustworthy Sources

When it comes to ostomy management, trust is of utmost importance. Look for reputable sources of information, such as established ostomy associations, certified healthcare professionals, and reliable medical websites. These sources have the necessary expertise and authority to provide accurate and reliable guidance on ostomy care and PSC prevention.

Building Your Expertise

Empowering yourself with knowledge about ostomy management can significantly enhance your ability to prevent and address peristomal skin complications. Attend educational sessions, join support groups, and engage with healthcare professionals who specialize in ostomy care. By continuously expanding your expertise, you can become a confident advocate for your own health and well-being.


Peristomal skin complications are common challenges faced by individuals living with an ostomy. However, with proper ostomy education, risk assessment, and preventive strategies, these complications can be effectively managed and minimized. By prioritizing skin care, selecting appropriate ostomy products, and seeking reliable sources of information, individuals can enhance their overall quality of life and confidently navigate their ostomy journey.

Remember, building trust, both in yourself and the resources you rely on, is essential for successful ostomy management. By combining experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trust, you can overcome the challenges associated with PSCs and embrace a fulfilling life with an ostomy.

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