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When to Call an Ostomy Professional

By Holly Leonidoff BSN, RN, CWOCN

It has been estimated that over 70% of ostomates will, at some point, have skin breakdown associated with leakage. Many ostomates do not have a medical support system or access to a knowledgeable ostomy nurse to help troubleshoot issues.

The internet has become a resource for many medical solutions and advice; ostomy blogs and YouTube videos can be helpful for minor issues. However, there are still many times an ostomate needs to seek out the professional help of a board-certified ostomy nurse. There are only 9,000 board-certified ostomy nurses in the U.S., and the overwhelming majority (90%) work at an inpatient hospital/facility. There are fewer and fewer outpatient clinic options to schedule an in-person visit. Corstrata can be an invaluable resource for those that can not locate a local ostomy nurse; we provide telehealth access to an ostomy nurse in the convenience of your home. If a picture paints a thousand words, a video/telehealth visit with a knowledgeable ostomy nurse can do so much more to help educate and advise.

Issues that need to be addressed by an ostomy nurse could be related to:

  • Weight gain or loss, causing current pouching systems to leak.

  • Starting on a new medicine for other issues that can cause skin issues related to changes in output and/or yeast infections from taking antibiotics.

Issues that may need to be addressed by the ostomate’s provider (primary care physician, colorectal or urological surgeon, etc.) could include:

  • Infections, while not common, can occur around the peristomal skin that would need prescription-related treatments. An ostomate would need to be seen by their provider in that case.

  • Hernias or other anatomical issues may require surgical revision; ostomates need to be referred to their surgeon.

  • Certain conditions - i.e. pyoderma gangrenosum require a biopsy, and the ostomate should be referred to a dermatologist.

It is often recommended that ostomates see an ostomy nurse yearly for a check-up and as a resource. In the post-COVID world, that is not always an option or a reality, but with the emergence of video/telehealth, it can be attainable.

Costrata virtual ostomy visits are available for individual ostomates or for medical groups as a resource and education for ostomates.

Contact us at or call 1-800-566-1307

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