How many people worldwide have an ostomy?

How many people worldwide have an ostomy?

By ostomy, we are referring to a urostomy, ileostomy or colostomy (or some people can have both a urostomy and ileostomy or urostomy and colostomy).

To find out more about these, visit our blog post on "what are the 3 types of ostomy?"

To summarise:

  • A colostomy is formed from the large bowel (colon). 
  • An ileostomy is formed from the small bowel (small intestine).
  • A urostomy is formed from a small segment of the small intestine and the bladder is removed. Then surgeon then joins the two ureters to one end of the small intestine. 

How many people in the UK have an ostomy?

As of April 2022, there was estimated to be around 205,000 people in the UK with an ostomy (BJN).

Are attitudes and awareness of the British public improving towards stomas?

Bladder & Bowel UK, along with Potter Rees Dolan, explored this in 2020, so although this is a few years old now, it does give us some indication, none the less, of attitudes amongst a study of 518 people. 

Often referred to as "stoma stigma", lack of understanding from the general public towards bladder & bowel conditions and stomas can, understandably, make an experience of getting an ostomy a worrying and apprehensive time, leading to worries about judgement, lack of support and even how freely ostomates can access the medical resources they need. 

The survey revealed that around 66% of people have a good understanding surround stomas, knowing what a stoma is. 68% were also considerably confident that they could indicate why someone might need a stoma and 73% also indicated that bowel cancer could lead to stoma surgery. Also, over 60% of people made a similar link between Crohn's Disease & stoma surgery.

These results come in spite of the fact that only 28% of the people asked actually knew someone with a stoma and only 2% were ostomate themselves, so this shows us that even if someone hasn't been directly exposed to stoma surgery, awareness is increasing.

Interestingly, 86% had also heard of "invisible illnesses" with 42% of those being able to understand the concept fully. 

To keep this growing in the right direction, it is apparent that education and awareness surrounding ostomy surgery is needed to keep encouraging positive attitudes towards the topic. 

How many people worldwide have an ostomy?

There are approximately 13.5 million people worldwide with an ostomy.

Did you know?

  • The global gender split for ostomy patients is roughly 55% male/45% female.
  • The term "ostomate" is often used to refer to someone who has had a stoma formed.
  • "Stoma" comes from a Greek word which means "opening" or "mouth".
  • A colostomy is the most common type of stoma (by a few % - ileostomy is next).
  • Each stoma has its own unique size and shape.

Are there any ostomy facts you'd like to share with us? Comment below!

Disclaimer: As always, this post is from our Social Media & Marketing Specialist, Amy's, experience of living with a permanent ileostomy, Crohn's Disease and from what she has researched. Nothing in our blog posts should be taken as medical advice. It's always best to consult a medical professional if you have queries or concerns. 


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