Ask Dr. Beck

Dr. Beck is board certified in general and colon and rectal surgery and is a Clinical Professor of Surgery at Vanderbilt. Dr. Beck conducts research into colorectal diseases, has authored and edited nine medical textbooks, and written over 350 scientific publications. He was the President of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) from 2010-2011. Dr. Beck is a nationally recognized expert in inflammatory bowel disease, anal, rectal and colon cancer, stomas, adhesions, bowel preparation, sphincter saving surgery for cancer, laparoscopic surgery, and postoperative pain management.

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Stoma Pain

I have had an ileostomy for about ten years. I have daily pain around my stoma (about 1/2”) and it is fairly painful to the touch. Years ago, I saw a pain doctor who eventually prescribed Fentanyl patches with no success. An ostomy nurse switched me to a ConvaTec barrier that ‘turtlenecks’ around the stoma which helped a lot, but the pain still exists. I definitely think it’s not a skin issue. Any ideas on the cause?

If the skin is not hypersensitive, there may be some minor nerve damage in the subcutaneous tissue. Injections of local anesthetics with long-term steroids sometimes help. Other options that may be considered are medications such as Gabapentin (Neurontin) or pregabalin (Lyrica) which act on peripheral nerves or amitriptyline which works more proximal.
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