From Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) Ostomy Outlook Jan 1999:

Does Your Stoma Hurt?

by Victor Alterescu, RN, ET; via Northwest Arkansas Mail Pouch

Quite often people tell me that their stoma hurts. This surprises me a great deal since stomas do not have any sensation.

You could cut, burn, do anything to the stoma and you would not feel a thing. That's hard to believe, but true. Stomas do not have receptors for pain.

Sometimes, the lack of stoma sensation can lead to problems. For example, an incorrectly fitting appliance may cut into the stoma, but no pain will be felt. A stoma can be badly damaged before the problem is noticed. For this reason, it is important not to wear your pouch for long periods of time (more than a week, in my opinion), since it is good to see if the stoma is OK.

Actually, when people talk about stoma pain, they are usually talking about pain from the skin around the stoma. That skin, the peristomal skin, is full of nerve receptors that are sensitive to such things as heat, cold, chemicals and adhesives that can cause pain. It is the skin that is sensing the pain, not the stoma.

If any unusual symptoms or irritations are noticed, do not hesitate to contact your doctor or ET for an evaluation and, if necessary, a prescription for a specific treatment.

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Content last revised 1999-01-16