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Should you name your stoma?

14th March 2018

Stoma patients are quite commonly advised to name their stoma as a lighthearted way to start dealing with life as an ostomate. Many nurses will advise this for postoperative stoma patients and many do find it a useful way to begin coping, sometimes giving their stoma a humorous name by which to refer to it. However, is this the right thing to do? There are arguments for both sides, which we’re going to outline in this post.

Reasons to name your stoma

The argument for naming a stoma is that it helps new ostomates to form a relationship with it and start to develop a bond. Like most relationships, it is a love/hate thing. It’s intended to remind ostomates that their stoma is a life-saving part of their body that for many is a permanent feature. It’s not uncommon for humans to name inanimate objects in order to personify them, cars are a popular example. However, the question is, is a stoma inanimate? And that forms the basis for the counter argument…

Reasons not to name your stoma

Now, by this point, you might be thinking that naming a stoma is just a bit of harmless fun that could genuinely help people come to terms with it. However, there is a counter-argument that stems from modern health psychology, the essence of which states that naming a stoma encourages patients to think of it as a separate person and not part of their body. Many would contend that it’s the same as deciding to call your arm Bob, or your leg Peggy. It’s conceivable that naming a stoma is simply helping people to disassociate themselves from their stoma and not fully accept it as part of their body.

We suspect the answer will depend entirely on the person. After all, it’s your body and you should make the ultimate decision on whether to name your stoma. We just felt that with a lot of people being advised to do so, it was essential to look at both sides of the argument so people could make their own minds up.

If you would like more information on adapting to life with a stoma, you can give us a call on 0800 592 786.

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