Imperforate anus can come in many forms, high or low and in many cases somewhere varying between, they can be partial connections through to the anus or complete disconnections from it. In most cases a child born with imperforate anus [IA] will require a colostomy operation right after birth so the extent of the IA may be looked at in due course when a course of action is identified. This helps the child to pass bodily waste and create what is in most cases a temporary solution until the IA can be repaired.

A colostomy is the process of diverting the large intestine from it's normal course towards the anus by cutting into it within the abdomen area and re routing it through the abdomen so it protrudes through the stomach to the outside world. The point at which it joins to the abdomen protruding from the stomach is called the stoma. When this is performed the other end of the large intestine which continues towards the anus, is also connected to the abdomen to ensure the operation can be reversed later on if IA repair is successful, this is called the fistula.

The stoma is the main exit for waste from the body, and due to there being no muscle control over this to determine when waste comes out, a bag is normally placed over the stoma to catch any waste so it may be disposed of hygienically.


Due to the nature of exiting waste prematurely from the body, the waste that comes out of a stoma can be very toxic causing significant illness, soreness, rashes and even blisters in extreme cases if hygiene isn't kept up. This can be hazardess to the carer/parent who comes into contact as well as the child.

Not only can the contents cause sickness for people that do not wash thoroughly after changing a stoma bag, the contents can also be very harmful when in contact with the skin. It can be commonplace to see rashes, sores and even blisters in some of the worst cases. This can have an affect on your child’s well being and also prevent further stoma bags from sticking to your child's skin. Be sure to clean all areas thoroughly, and always wash your hands thoroughly with an antibacterial cleaner after handling.


One thing that a lot of people can overlook is the type of clothing warn by the child, whilst girls do not pose too much of an issue, wearing skirts and dresses, boys cloths tend to be more tight fitting and contain strong elasticated waist bands.

During the time a bag is applied to your child, it can fill with gas, just as a child may pass wind so will their stoma directly into the sealed bag. Alternative bags utilising vents can be used to help this issue, but one overlooked piece of advice can be to put them in loose fitting clothes, with a loose elasticated waist bands in. One good alternative to jeans are dungarees. If possible try to ensure the bag is not directly under a tight elasticated waistband, this will cut down on how full the bag can get.

If you child's bag does fill to the extend it can no longer expand, one of two things will happen, either the seal will break and a leakage will occur, or you child will be prevented from passing waste and further wind into the bag, giving them stomach pains and making them very uncomfortable.

Bag types

There are lots of bag types available on the market, in the UK a good place to start is Pelican healthcare, they will happily coordinate prescriptions and deliveries, leaving you free from having to co-ordinate supplies. They will not only supply stoma bags, but also things like cavlon, wipes and cloth for cleaning.

They will talk to you happily and discuss different types of bags form old style, new style, transparent, vented and even decorated ones with teddy bear themes.