Background and aims: The impact of a stoma on a patient's life is little discussed and is often underestimated, as well as the contribution of stomatherapy to health-related quality of life (QOL). This present study examined the problems faced by patients with ileostomies or colostomies and the possible contribution of stomatherapy to QOL. Patients and methods: Forty-three selected and well-documented stoma patients who had properly constructed, well functioning end colostomies or ileostomies were analyzed. Further analyses were carried out for the subgroups of patients with irrigating colostomies (n=16), nonirrigating colostomies (n=15), and ileostomies (n=12). The digestive disease QOL questionnaire 15 (DDQ-15) was used to analyze QOL before and 3 months after stomatherapy. A second questionnaire consisting of 11 questions with yes/no answers was also used before and 3 months after stomatherapy to define more specifically the stoma-related problems of each patient as well as the frequency of each issue in a patient group at a given time. Results: Cumulatively the mean QOL score was significantly higher after stomatherapy than before. Before stomatherapy the irrigating colostomy patients had the highest QOL score and the ileostomy group the lowest. QOL scores 3 months after stomatherapy were significantly higher in all groups than before. Again, the irrigating colostomy patients had a significantly higher score than the nonirrigating colostomy and ileostomy patients. Cumulatively all of the items improved significantly after stomatherapy, such as getting dressed, bathing, and participating in sports. Conclusion: These findings confirm that colostomy or ileostomy has a profoundly negative impact on QOL. Specialized counseling of these patients by a dedicated team improves QOL significantly.