What is a stoma? How colostomy bags worn by Adele Roberts and Louise Thompson work

By Staff 8 Min Read

As Louise Thompson opens up about her life-saving stoma bag, the Mirror takes a look at what the device actually is, and how it works to transform the lives of those who need them

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

Fans and fellow celebs have applauded Louise Thompson and Adele Roberts after they opened up about their life-saving stoma bag.

Former Made in Chelsea star Louise took to Instagram this week to show followers ‘the grey bag that may well save my life’. In a video in which she proudly revealed the bag, the 34-year-old announced: “Isn’t it bizarre that this little grey pouch is the price I pay for good health! I say good riddance to that nasty menacing colon! Please be kind”.

Louise has previously spoken candidly about the health issues she’s had to contend with ever since she nearly lost her life giving birth to son Leo-Hunter in November 2021. Earlier this year, the mum-of-one, who has ulcerative colitis, was hospitalised while enjoying a family holiday. Choosing to omit ‘some of the grittier details’ Louise revealed that she had been ‘losing cup fulls of blood’ during her agonising ordeal.

As brave Louise helps dismantle the stigma surrounding stoma bags, the Mirror takes a look at what this medical marvel actually is, and how it works to keep people alive…

According to the Bladder & Bowel Community, common reasons for requiring a colostomy bag include bowel cancer, bladder cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis), diverticulitis, or an obstruction to a person’s bladder or bowel.

For those, like Lousie, who are living with ulcerative colitis – chronic inflammation of the colon and rectum – may have to undergo surgery to have their entire colon removed should they suffer severe complications such as uncontrolled bleeding or severe inflammation.

In this instance, a surgeon will bring out one end of a person’s large intestine through the abdominal wall, by creating an opening in the skin known as a stoma. A pouch known as a colostomy bag will then be fitted to the opening, collecting faeces.

As per the NHS, a bag may be fitted on a temporary or permanent basis, and may need changing one to three times a day, depending on what sort of bag you have. Drainable bags that need to be replaced every two or three days are also available. With advances in technology, those with stoma bags don’t need to worry about a smell, as air filters with charcoal in them cleverly neutralise any odours.

According to Crohn’s & Colitis UK, approximately 190,000 people across the UK are currently living with a stoma bag. In recent times, a number of famous faces have come forward to share their stories, revealing how their bags have given them a new lease of life.

In 2022, broadcaster Adele Roberts shared that she had a bag fitted while undergoing treatment for bowel cancer. In an Instagram post Adele, who has since been given the all-clear, spoke about some of the daily realities she had to be aware of when living with her bag, which she nicknamed ‘Audrey’.

Adele – whose autobiography, Personal Best, is out today, shared: “Clothes which are a good fit / accessible… sometimes pants nearly drag my stoma bag off before I’ve even got out of the door. How I keep fit & motivated (without prolapsing ) Comfy shoes!! My feet are still BATTERED from chemo. Seriously. Kate pretty much has to put plasters on my soles everyday so I can walk. I would show you but you’d actually vom.

“It might also be good to share how accessible places, events and venues are. These are things I have to be mindful of when I’m out & about. I’m still not confident eating and drinking away from home. So even if I’m lucky enough to be out at night, DJing or at an event I don’t stay long, I don’t eat or drink much and I’ve got a military knowledge of where every toilet is – especially the accessible ones.

“I want to emphasise that’s my experience and how I’m learning to get better looking after Audrey. Everyone is different but I know from experience that if I get too excited or nervous it’s game over!”

Do you have a story to share? Email me at [email protected]. Follow Mirror Celebs and TV on TikTok , Snapchat , Instagram , Twitter , Facebook , YouTube and Threads .

Share This Article
Leave a comment