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how do you take care of a colostomy? I work with a woman who has one and she has a terrible odor. How do I nicely tell her how to take care of herself without embarassing her.

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  • Dr. Chris January 21, 2011

    This is a very sensitive issue. Your colleague may also be aware of this odor and is possibly trying her best to deal with it. You could approach her directly and ask her about her condition, the colostomy and so on. During the course of the conversation, you could advise her that others are also getting this odor so that she can take greater care if that is the issue here.

    If you are not able to approach her directly, then you could possibly speak to another colleague who has a close relationship with her. Alternatively your HR manager, the company nurse or counselor may be able to attend to the matter as they are trained to deal with sensitive issues such as this.

    Your colleague must have been advised by her doctor about the proper procedures. She is therefore fully aware of it and it is unlikely that she needs additional advice. If she does then she should speak to her doctor.

    Try to be gentle in the approach as she may already be quite self-conscious and has obviously gone through significant health problems to be at this point.

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