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Ileostomy vs Colostomy: What Is The Difference?

Ileostomy vs Colostomy: What Is The Difference?
Sailaxmi Chennuru

Both ileostomy and colostomy are bowel diversion surgeries in which a doctor creates an opening in the abdominal skin to allow waste products to leave the body, bypassing the damaged area of the intestine. Both of these procedures are forms of ostomy surgery and may seem similar, but they are quite different. The part of the intestine that is used to divert the passage of stool in each procedure is a major difference.

The digestive system is comprised of the small intestine and the large intestine. While the small intestine absorbs nutrition from food, the large intestine provides a passage to eliminate stools from the body. Any damage or disease of the intestine may require diversion of the passage of stool, which is done using ileostomy and colostomy.

During ostomy surgery, the surgeon brings part of the intestine through the walls of the abdomen and attaches it to the skin creating an opening known as a stoma. As a result, bodily waste exits through the abdominal walls rather than the anus. After this surgery, an ostomy pouch is attached to the stoma to collect the waste.

Ostomy surgeries can be permanent. Sometimes they can also be a temporary measure to give the damaged or diseased intestine time to heal. In other words, surgeons can reverse ostomies in some cases.

While there are many similarities between ileostomies and colostomies, the two procedures are distinct from each other. Learning the difference between these procedures eliminates confusion about treatment. 

What is an Ileostomy?

The ileum is the terminal part of the small intestine, and it helps digest food and absorb nutrients and water. During the ileostomy procedure, the surgeon brings the part of the ileum out through an incision on the right lower abdomen, and it is ewn into position through a stoma. In this case, the stoma usually protrudes out of the abdomen. The feces are in liquid form, and the ostomy bag must be emptied multiple times daily.

Reasons for ileostomy

The reasons for ileostomy may vary; it is often performed due to issues with other sections of the small intestine, such as the duodenum and jejunum. Sometimes, poor functioning of the large intestine (colon) may also require changing the passage of stools by ileostomy.

Ileostomies divert the waste products away from damaged or removed areas of the ileum. Depending on the cause of ileostomy, it can be temporary or permanent. One may need a temporary ileostomy to allow the part of the colon to rest and heal. In other cases, an ileostomy may be permanent.

Health conditions that might warrant an ileostomy include:

What is a Colostomy?

In a colostomy, a part of the large intestine (colon) is surgically cut and attached to the opening constructed through the abdominal wall. This creates a new route (stoma) through the abdominal wall for the stools to be eliminated from the body. The body waste is then collected in the colostomy bag attached to the stoma.

The colon, the last part of the digestive tract, absorbs any remaining water and nutrients from the food from the small intestine. Thus, with a colostomy, you often have fully formed stools. 

Reasons for Colostomy

Colostomy will divert stool away from the colon and through a stoma on the abdominal wall. Like ileostomy, the colostomy can be temporary or permanent. Certain diseases or injuries can necessitate a colostomy.

Conditions that require a colostomy include:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diverticulitis 
  • Colon cancer
  • An injury to the colon or rectum
  • Inflammatory bowel disease 
  • Blockage in the bowel

Ileostomy vs. Colostomy 

Parameters of comparison Ileostomy Colostomy
Location Performed on the ileum Performed on the colon
Stoma location Usually, on the right side Usually, on the left side but can be in other locations
Stool type Liquid or pasty stool Formed stool
Recovery time 1-2 weeks 3-10 days
Flow rate High flow rate Low flow rate
Interest No Yes
Stoma type Protrudes out a bit Flush stoma
Infection rate Lower Higher

Ostomy Care 

After a colostomy or an ileostomy, one cannot control bowel movements and must always wear an ostomy pouch over the stoma. Specially trained wound, ostomy, and continence (WOC) nurses will teach you and your family members how to care for and live with an ostomy. If you have a colostomy or an ileostomy, a pouching system is used to collect stool from the stoma. The pouching system may have 1 or 2 pieces. They can also be closed-end or drainable pouches.

Best Ostomy Bags for Ileostomy and Colostomy 

1. Coloplast SenSura Mio Click 2-Piece Drainable Pouch

FSA Eligible Items FSA Approved

This drainable ostomy pouch has an elastic adhesive that conforms well to unique body shapes and moves with the body to ensure a comfortable fit. The pouch is securely locked to the baseplate through new Click coupling, giving an audible click when firmly closed.

Features of SenSura Mio Click 2-Piece Opaque Drainable Pouch

  • This two-piece system comes with an inspection window.
  • The baseplate with the elastic adhesive and the pouch are two different entities, so the pouch can be changed without changing the baseplate
  • The material is soft and comfortable against the skin
  • The color of SenSura Mio is discrete under all clothing colors          
  • Full-circle filter helps in reducing pouch ballooning
  • New Click coupling offers reassurance and a feeling of security
Coloplast SenSura Mio Click 2-Piece Drainable Pouch



2. Hollister New Image Flat Cut-to-Fit Flextend Ostomy Skin Barrier With Tape Border

FSA Eligible Items FSA Approved

This barrier protects the skin from irritating stoma discharge over an extended wearing time. It is part of a 2-piece pouching system. The Flextend skin barrier is long-lasting with high resistance to erosion. It includes a floating flange that allows fingers to be placed under it to help reduce pressure on the abdomen when attaching the colostomy pouch.

Features of New Image Flat Cut-to-Fit Flextend Skin Barrier

  • The cut-to-Fit barrier allows an ostomate to cut the skin barrier opening to fit the size and shape of the stoma.
  • It helps adhere the pouching system to the skin.
  • The floating flange allows for fingers to be placed underneath the flange for support while attaching the pouch to the barrier.
  • The ostomy skin barrier is designed to be used with any Hollister New Image drainable or closed pouch with the same flange size.
  • Tape borders offer added security to the attachment of the two-piece skin barrier to the skin.
Hollister New Image Flat Cut-to-Fit Flextend Ostomy Skin Barrier With Tape Border



3. Coloplast SenSura Mio Click Two-Piece Maxi Transparent Drainable Pouch

FSA Eligible Items FSA Approved

This ostomy bag is designed with a soft and comfortable textile material that is gentle on the skin and offers maximum discretion. The transparent drainable pouch can fit over scarring, hernias, and skin folds. Its oval shape and flex pattern make the pouch flexible. The Click coupling gives an audible click while attaching the bag to the baseplate for enhanced security. This ostomy pouch is ideal for those with an ileostomy, as one can drain the contents multiple times throughout the day.

Features of SenSura Mio Click Transparent 2-Piece Ostomy Pouch

  • The soft textile material does not irritate the body and prevents friction against clothing, enhancing user comfort.
  • The pouch material feels more like a piece of clothing than a medical device.
  • New Click coupling offers a sense of reassurance and security to the ostomate while going about the day.
  • The pouch can be changed without changing the baseplate.
  • Has a full-circle filter for proven reduction of pouch ballooning.
  • Latex-free -  ideal for those with latex allergies.
Coloplast SenSura Mio Click Two-Piece Maxi Transparent Drainable Pouch



4. Hollister New Image Two-Piece Drainable Pouch

FSA Eligible Items FSA Approved

This drainable ostomy bag is preferred for colostomies or ileostomies. It is a component of the two-piece pouching system. The pouch opens from the bottom to empty contents. The integrated Lock 'n Roll micro seal closure system uses plastic interlocking fasteners to secure the pouch's bottom closure. The AF300TM filter deodorizes and releases gas slowly for ultimate odor control. 

Features of Hollister New Image 2-piece Drainable Ostomy Pouch

  • The Lock' n Roll micro seal closure system utilizes plastic interlocking fasteners for a secure closure at the bottom of the pouch.
  • The Integrated AF300 filter deodorizes and allows for a slow release of gas from the pouch.
  • The Hollister 2-piece ostomy system is designed to be used with any New Image two-piece skin barrier with the same flange size.
  • Soft, beige ComfortWear pouch panels enhance comfort.
  • Latex-free
Hollister New Image Two-Piece Drainable Pouch With Lock n Roll Microseal Closure And Filter



Both ileostomies and colostomies are lifesaving surgeries and improve quality of life. Before undergoing any of these surgeries, be sure to discuss certain issues with your doctors, such as medical history, current medicine regimen, and possible risks and complications of surgery.

Health Products For You carries an extensive range of ostomy supplies, including colostomy bags, ileostomy bags, and many other ostomy products at the best prices.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Sailaxmi Chennuru

Sailaxmi Chennuru

Sailaxmi Chennuru, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2017. A business management graduate, the study of anatomy has always been of interest to her.

After working as a medical transcriptionist for several years, she developed a keen interest ...

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