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Choosing The Right Stoma Pouch And Accessories

There are many different pouches for you to choose from. Your stoma nurse will probably help you choose one in the beginning. You may like to try some different pouches to see which type you find the most comfortable and most secure. Bags can be closed, open/drainable, have a flat wafer or a convex wafer, be a one-piece system or two-piece with a separate bag and wafer. There are also a range of accessories to help protect the skin or improve your bag security. Below are some of the common pouch types and accessories that you might use. The Bladder & Bowel Home Delivery Service can offer you expert, impartial advice on all stoma bags and accessories. Contact us and speak to an advisor today for help.

Closed bag

As the name suggests, these bags are sewn at the bottom without an opening and are usually used by those who have a colostomy and produce solid stools. This bag will then be changed when needed between one and three times a day.

Open/ drainable bag

These bags are usually used by those with an ileostomy as the output tends to be more of a liquid state. These bags can be emptied from the bottom as and when it’s needed and can be changed every three or four days. Some people who have colostomies may prefer to use a drainable if they have a high output stoma.

Urostomy bag

These bags have a little tap on the bottom, which can be opened and the urine drained when needed. Again these bags will normally need to be changed every three or four days.

One-piece bags

Both the wafer and the pouch are joined together and will need to be completely changed each time. These tend to lay quite flat to the body.

Two-piece bags

The wafer and the pouch are separate. The baseplate/ wafer attaches around the stoma and the pouch clicks on top of the wafer. This means that you can leave your wafer on and just change your bag. This can be good for avoiding skin irritation. These pouches may be slightly more bulky, however.

Convex wafers/bags

A convex wafer is domed to help push out a stoma that is inverted and sits within the folds of the skin. This can help to prevent leaks around the stoma.

Stoma caps/plugs

If you have a colostomy and perform a process called irrigation you may want to consider changing from a bag to a cap or a plug between irrigations. These caps and plugs are small circular patches with an integrated filter that can be worn over the stoma, they are more discreet and allows you freedom from a bag. These caps may also be worn by those with a mucous fistula.

Adhesive remover sprays/wipes

These can be used to help remove the bag quickly and without damaging your skin. There are various brands and types, some that are scented or unscented depending on what you like.

Barrier rings and paste

Barrier rings or paste can be used to fill in any gaps, cracks or creases around your stoma and prevent any output from seeping under your bag and creating a leak or irritating your skin. Again, there are many types out there for you to try. You should be able to order these via your ostomy supplier.

Ostomy powders and barrier spray

Once you have cleaned and dried your skin some people like to apply a powder or spray to the skin to avoid any adhesive irritation from the wafer or to avoid any further damage to the broken skin. They can also help your pouch stick more effectively if your skin is wet and broken. You should be able to order these via your ostomy supplier.

Fragranced drops and sprays

The filters in the bags should prevent any smell from escaping from the bag whilst you are wearing it. The only time you should notice a smell is when you remove the pouch. For extra confidence, some people like to add scented ostomy drops or a spray inside the bag to neutralise or cover any smell inside the pouch. There are a variety of scents and brands available for you to try. You should be able to order these via your ostomy supplier.

Wafer extenders

These are thin sticky patches that come in a variety of shapes and sizes and overlap around the outside of your bag to create a larger wafer area and create extra bag security. These can be useful if you are going swimming or temporarily extend wear time if you’re out and about. You should be able to order these via your ostomy supplier.

Ostomy belt

These belts are useful if you have a hernia or can be used to help prevent a hernia. They attach to the rings either side of the wafer on a two piece bag and offer extra abdominal support. Your stoma nurse can advise if you would benefit from one of these belts and can measure you for fitting. The belt can also help to keep your pouch in the correct place to avoid leaks, especially if you have a retracted stoma.

Stoma shields

This is a hard, protective, plastic casing that can be worn with an ostomy belt. These are particularly useful if you play contact sports or want to protect your stoma during any activity.

THE INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE IS A GUIDE ONLY. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU SPEAK TO YOUR GP OR A QUALIFIED HEALTH PROFESSIONAL ABOUT YOUR CONDITION.