- What about relationships? More info
One of the biggest concerns for young people is how a stoma will affect them developing relationships or a love life in the future. Telling a new boyfriend/girlfriend that you have a stoma may be difficult but it’s important for you to tell them why you have a stoma and what life was like for you before the stoma. Mention this before you start to get intimate or develop a long-term relationship. If you can’t work out what to tell them, get advice from your stoma care nurse, support group, parents or friends.
You may have been told that your medical and surgical treatment can affect your fertility. This is not always the case, so don't be afraid to ask questions.
- Returning to school More info
Returning to school after any operation can be daunting, but after a major operation that has changed the way your body looks, it can be even more frightening. It is very important to tell at least one member of the teaching staff that you have had surgery so that you can be supported upon your return. The reason you have had the surgery is to reduce your symptoms and to let you have a better quality of life, allowing you to achieve your academic potential.
You do not have to tell all your teachers and classmates that you have had surgery. You can choose who to tell. Ask your teacher to work with the school nurse/SENCO (Special Education Needs Coordinator) to devise an individual healthcare plan to ease you back into school full time.
You will need home tuition for 6-8 weeks after the operation. Return to school part time initially, for example, half days for the first two weeks, and build up the amount of time gradually. After 4 weeks, you should be strong enough to go full time. If you have not returned full time, you should contact your stoma/specialist nurse or doctor for advice.
- Social activities – restrictions More info
A common question asked is: “What can I no longer do, now that I have a stoma?” The only restriction placed on social activities is boxing. This is due to the body taking direct blows.
For further advice on other sports such as rugby, football, netball or martial arts, contact your stoma care nurse so that he/she can advise you on a stoma guard. You can continue to swim. Just ensure that you empty your appliance prior to entering the pool.
- Alcohol More info
The legal drinking age for alcohol is eighteen years old. Excessive alcohol intake can result in severe dehydration.
- When preparing for an evening out, make sure that the stomach is full - this aids absorption
- The appliance will need to be emptied more frequently
- It would be advisable to limit alcohol intake during a night out, to prevent dehydration
- A can of cola (not diet) - wait for fizz to disperse - and ready salted crisps will aid rehydration.
- Alcohol will make the ileostomy output watery
- Beer/lager/cider will also produce wind
- Bullying More info
Anyone can be bullied and it can happen for many reasons. But being different in some way can make young people more of a target for bullies. If you are being bullied, it’s important that you speak out to your parents, your GP, school nurse or social worker – any adult who you feel you can trust. If you are the parent of a child who is being bullied, please discuss this with your child’s school and the team caring for your child in hospital. They will direct you to the best means of support.
- Transition to adult services More info
Your transition to adult services is important, to ensure that your care and support are continuous. Your transition will be coordinated by your IBD team, and starts 6 months after you are diagnosed with IBD. Please see Transition Inflammatory Bowel Disease - Transition to Adult Healthcare - Guidance for Young People. Copies are available from www.ibdtransition.org.uk
- Prescription charges More info
Prescription exemption: when you were in school and college full time, there was no charge for your appliances. However, when you move to the adult services, you need to be aware that if you have a permanent stoma, there will be no charge; but if you have a temporary stoma, the cheapest method of payment is a prepayment certificate (3-monthly or yearly). The prepayment certificate is available on the Internet (on your local health authority website) or you can get a form at your GP's surgery or a large post office.
Other issues - such as contraception, pregnancy, alcohol consumption, drugs and any other issue you would like to bring along - will be discussed on an individual basis during your transition process.
- Teenagers booklet More info