Stoma Stories, Episode 16: The Hole Truth (GRAPHIC PHOTOS)

In an unwelcome development, after months of smooth sailing, an issue has developed on the skin surrounding my stoma.  More specifically, a hole has suddenly appeared.  About a week ago, I noticed some minor skin irritation and a slight divot to the left of my stoma when I was changing my appliance.  Not thinking much of it, I applied additional stoma powder and barrier spray and went on with life.  Yesterday, when I took off my appliance to take a shower, what was once a small divot was now a small (and fairly deep) hole.  Ugh.  

Having become all too familiar with wound care after my last surgery, I didn’t freak out.  I dried the inside of the hole as best I could, and my amazing wife helped me to pack it with a combination of stoma powder, silver nitrate (to prevent infection), calcium alginate, and stoma paste.  No big deal.  Until this morning.

I stepped out of the shower to find some milky white liquid oozing under the left side of my appliance.  It wasn’t stool, though I’m not sure what it was (alginate? liquefied paste? pus?).  I took off the appliance to find that the hole was now quite a bit bigger than yesterday.  Not good.  This time we packed it with powder and paste, leaving out the alginate, and I’m hoping for the best.  I’m going to contact my nurse tomorrow to get her thoughts.  Never a dull amount around here.

For those interested (or suffering from similar issues), I’ve posted several GRAPHIC photos after the break…

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19 Responses to Stoma Stories, Episode 16: The Hole Truth (GRAPHIC PHOTOS)

  1. Pingback: J-Pouch Normal; Skin Around Stoma, Not So Much | Know Guts

  2. Pingback: Stoma Stories, Episode 17: I Told You So | Know Guts

  3. Pingback: Decisions, Decisions | Know Guts

  4. CP says:

    My husband is having some problems with tiny holes on the skin near his stoma.Can someone tell me why and what i can do to heal/prevent them?

    • Ben says:

      I never had a problem with tiny holes in my skin. I had trouble with big ones, and we used a bunch of different techniques to cure it — calcium alginate, silver nitrate, debriding agent cream (worked wonders). You can search this site for “wound” or “hole” and find my posts. But if it’s a persistent problem, he should definitely see his surgeon, GI, or a wound specialist. Good luck!

  5. Oh, your condition is same as my 18 years daughter. She is also suffering from with tiny holes near stoma on the skin. We used various techniques to care it, but we were unsuccessful. Finally, I found your post. Dear it is absolutely beneficial for those people, who are discomfort with stoma like my daughter. you defined clearly every stoma problem with its care options. Its surely helpful for everyone.

    • Ben says:

      Glad you found the site — hope your daughter finds something that works. The good news is I haven’t had a significant skin problem for more than a year. It does get better.

  6. Elisha Nicholls says:

    Hi Hope you guys can help me? My mum is in hospital at the moment as she has had 6 or more of these holes appear and everyone is scratching their heads as they haven’t seen it before, the problem is the longer its taking for them to come back with a cure as such, the bigger they are becoming – is there a name for this condition? Her holes are exactly the same as the ones above? Please can someone give me some advise as I am really not sure on what to look for when googling this?

    Thank you for any answers in advance

    • Ben says:

      Hi Elisha,

      Unfortunately, I don’t know of a name for the condition and don’t have much advice beyond what I described on the blog. As I recall, we packed it with calcium alginate and silver nitrate (to prevent infection) at first, and then a debriding gel (which removes dead skin). It took a long time, but eventually closed over. If she hasn’t already, she may want to consult with a wound specialist. Sorry to hear she’s having to deal with this — hope she gets better soon.

  7. I just googled holes next to stoma, and this came up. I had 3 appear 2 weeks post surgery, my surgeon said that maybe one of the stitches was too tight. They increased in size and got to 30mm in diameter. I am now seeing the stoma nurses, we are applying powder aquacel and duoderm and most of it has healed, however i noticed today i have a hole on the other side, and other holes near the big one. Just want to know what it is.

    • Ben says:

      Sorry you’re dealing with this. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what it is or what causes it. I had problems with holes developing after my surgery, which lasted for several weeks, but eventually went away. As I recall, some combo of calcium alginate, silver nitrate, and debriding gel worked for me. But you can search this site to confirm. After the holes close, the key is to keep the skin around the stoma clean and dry. If you don’t already, I’d recommend changing your appliance in the shower and using a shower nozzle to clean the area really well and then use a hair dryer to dry everything really well before applying the new appliance. Hope that helps. Good luck!

  8. We think it is Pyoderma gangrenosum, I’ve been told to get a prescription for kenacomb ointment I think. Fingers crossed.

  9. Danielle says:

    I am currently having this problem. I have about three of these kind of holes around my stoma. What happened with this? What did the doctor say?

    • Danielle says:

      Can these holes become infected or get into your blood stream? I feel feverish and really tired and wore out.

      • Ben says:

        It eventually healed. You can search the blog for all of the posts about it (try searching for “hole”), but the keys were keeping the skin clean and dry under the appliance (use a hair dryer during changes and stoma powder), along with calcium alginate and debriding agent on the wound to remove dead skin and promote healing. It took a long time to finally heal, but I haven’t had the problem in the more than 3 years since. Good luck!

      • Ben says:

        Definitely possible for it to become infected. I used silver nitrate to help prevent infection. If you have a fever, you should call your doctor. Is your stoma pink and functioning normally?

  10. Abby says:

    I have the same problem, although I have about 5-6 holes, they keep appearing. What was yours diagnosed as?

    • Ben says:

      It’s been a few years, but as I recall it was never really diagnosed as anything in particular — we just focused on getting it healed. The keys were keeping the skin clean and dry under the appliance (use a hair dryer during changes and stoma powder), along with calcium alginate, silver nitrate, and debriding agent on the wound to remove dead skin and promote healing. It took a long time to finally heal, but I haven’t had the problem in the more than 4 years since. You should be able to search my site for “hole” to find all the posts about my issues. Good luck – hope it heals soon!

      • Raimie says:

        I have this same problem. I will be going to a wound clinic tomorrow to get it treated.
        From what I have found online, it could be one of three things: pyoderma gangrenousum, an infection ( yeast or bacterial), or an abscess inside the abdominal cavity.
        I have a post on healingwell.Com about it under “sore skin around stoma” in the ostomies thread. I’ll be posting updates about my experiences with it to try and help anyone else who is in this situation.
        So far, on my own, I have been using betadyne swabs and medihoney to disinfect the area, then I “cake” it (layers of stoma powder and barrier spray), then I use a barrier ring, then duoderm patch, then the regular wafer and bag.
        I hope I can help someone else in this situation, I know how frustrating this can be when you expect the ostomy to help get the crohns/u.c. under control.

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