How To Change A Stoma Bag
Originally published on: January 23rd, 2018. Last modified on July 5th, 2021
How often should a stoma bag be changed?
You can change your stoma bag as often as you feel you need to. If you have a colostomy and wear a closed bag you will most likely change your pouch after every bowel movement – approximately between 1 to 3 times a day. If you have an ileostomy you will most likely be wearing a drainable pouch, which you can empty throughout the day and change your pouch every 2-3 days or however long you feel your wafer can last.
Changing your stoma bag may seem daunting at first but you will soon get used to the routine of it and over time you will find that a bag change will only take you a few minutes to complete.
Changing your stoma bag
- Check that you have all the accessories handy to complete a bag change. This may include unfragranced wet wipes, dry wipes, adhesive remover spray or wipes, stoma bag, barrier spray/rings or paste and a disposal sack. If you use the Bladder and Bowel Home Delivery Service, all these items can be delivered directly to you
- Cut your stoma bag to the correct size or you can ask your home delivery company to cut the bags to size for you
- Wash your hands thoroughly before beginning
- It can be helpful to tuck some tissues or dry wipes around your waistband to avoid any spillages on your clothes
- Holding the skin around your stoma taut, and starting from the top, peel back the stoma bag slowly and carefully using the adhesive remover spray. It can be helpful to place some tissue or dry wipes over the top of the bag where you have peeled it back to avoid any spillages from the opening. Remove bag and place in the disposal sack
- Gently clean around the peristomal skin using warm water on your dry wipes. If you are out and about, for speed you can use unfragranced wet wipes
- Dry your skin thoroughly using your dry wipes. Pat your skin rather than rub to avoid irritation
- Dispose of any wipes into your disposal sack
- If you use any barrier rings, sprays or paste now is the time to apply them. Make sure they are completely dry before applying your new bag
- To apply your new bag, fold back the wafer in half to line up the hole with your stoma. Starting from the bottom roll the bag over your stoma and smooth the wafer down to remove any creases or gaps. Cover your hand over the the top of the wafer as the warmth from your hand will help the wafer to adhere to your skin better
- Dispose of your sack into your normal refuse and wash your hands
It is essential that the highest standards of hygiene are maintained at all times. You must wash your hands prior to carrying out any aspect of personal hygiene such as changing your stoma bag. Follow our simple 6 step hand-washing guide to make sure you don’t miss any areas.