Editor's note: Last month we printed the article
"Does Your Stoma Hurt?" by Victor
Alterescu, which explains the standard viewpoint that stomas are
insensitive to pain because they have no nerve endings. We received the
following additional information by email from Mike D'Orazio on
While Victor's statements regarding stoma pain are, at one level, essentially correct, there are legitimate situations when one's stoma will feel pain.
In the normal condition of the intestine, of which a stoma is a part, typical pain touch receptors are not present. However when the bowel is stretched, as when obstructed and subsequently swollen, the bowel will "feel" painful. There are stretch receptors within the bowel wall that inform us of an obstructive event. While experiencing an obstructive event other physiological phenomena occur to further inform and distress us. On rare occasions patients with stomas have strongly complained of stomal pain. Physical exams have often not been able to reveal any clear evidence of harm or obstruction to the stoma site. In these unusual situations the phenomenon of psychic pain has been put forth to explain the pain.
Just thought I would add my two cents worth to this oft noted question. My intent is not to discredit any point of view, rather to be more inclusive of explanations relating to this phenomenon.