Every 39 minutes in the UK someone has stoma surgery
Each year between 50,000 to 100,000 women worldwide are affected by obstetric fistula. Since 2006, approximately 4,000 women in Kenya suffering from VVF (Vasico-Vaginal Fistula) have undergone successful surgeries
One woman dies from pregnancy-related complications every minute worldwide; 95 percent of them live in Africa and Asia
6% women experience severe childbirth injuries, But incidents are likely to be higher as “a third to a half are not detected until women later present with anal incontinence”* MASIC
30,000 women every year experience a traumatic birth*
*Birth Trauma Association
Approximately 1:500 people have a stoma in the UK
A Stoma is an opening on the abdomen where a section of the bowel is pulled through a hole approximately the size of a 50p coin – this part of the bowel which protrudes out is called the stoma. Waste (either poo or urine) comes out of the bowel/stoma and is collected in a bag which is firmly stuck to the abdomen with adhesive. This is called a stoma bag. A stoma is sometimes referred to as an ostomy. The word “stoma” comes from the Greek word “opening”
Yes, there are three main types of stoma – the colostomy, the ileostomy and the urostomy. The colostomy is formed when the large section of bowel is diverted onto the stomach, with all colostomies being placed on the left hand side of the body. The ileostomy is formed when the small section of the bowel is diverted onto the stomach, and they can be on either side of the abdomen. A urostomy is created by diverting the bladder.
It is important to be aware that everyone who has a stoma has it as a result of some form of trauma. Some are created in the aftermath of cancer (usually the bowel, but sometimes cervical and other cancers), others as a result of bowel diseases such as Crohn’s, colitis or diverticulits. The latter three diseases are extremely painful bowel inflammatory diseases, which people can suffer from for many years before a stoma is fitted. Sudden trauma, including childbirth, car accidents, twisted bowels or severe intestinal blockages, can result in stomas.
Not all of them. Some stomas are reversed – where the bowel in put back into the body and reconnected to the intestine. This would happen if a stoma were fitted as a temporary measure while waiting for the repair of a rectal injury, for example. Other stomas are permanent, depending on why you have got the stoma. Some people with bowel cancer have too much bowel removed to be able to go to the toilet through their rectum.
It can be very difficult to adjust to living with a stoma, particularly if the stoma is as a result of an unexpected event. Often people can feel isolated and unable to talk to their friends, family and employers about their new ostomy. It is important that stomas are normalised so that ostomates (people with a stoma) can reach out if they are struggling.
A fistula is an opening in the body where there shouldn’t be one – for example, a hole between the rectum and the vagina, causing faeces to come out the vagina. This is called a recto-vaginal fistula (RVF) and is most commonly found after obstructed childbirth. A fistula is sometimes referred to as an abnormal connection in the body – in fact, a stoma is a fistula!
The stoma support group is open to both men and women.
The childbirth support group is restricted to women only, however, the Charity is more than happy to be contacted for advice on where to seek additional support for men affected by childbirth trauma.
We currently have a surplus amount of stoma supplies and will not be requiring any donations until 2024, you’re welcome to email us at
We appreciate all donations, please click the icon to be redirected to our Just Giving page.
We need help with itemising the stoma supplies, making the sanitary towels and running our fundraising events. Please email us if you think you can help.