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Beyond the Bag

Kevin Cleary

Introduction     |    Choosing Your Apparatus     |    Ostomy Accessories

Ostimates understand that the center of the ostomy universe is the apparatus bag or appliance that they choose, but there is more to the equation than this. In order to maintain the quality of life that they are accustomed to, colostomy or ileostomy patients have other potential issues that need attention. While there are numerous types of bag systems available to ostimates, it can be the accessories that they choose to determine whether or not their ostomy program is successful. We here at HPFY can give you some vital information that help you be successful no matter what type of bag system you choose.

Choosing Your Apparatus

Okay, you have just learned that you need an ostomy, so what’s next? Deciding what type of apparatus or bag system is right for you can be confusing and maybe a little scary. There are two main types of systems available, so which one is right? These are:

  • One-Piece Ostomy System: These apparatus systems include the bag and adhesive in one. They are often discarded when changed and can be quite convenient. Options, such as the, Coloplast Assura offer one-piece systems that are simple and easy to use. Often these have an adhesive that provide optimal adhesion and security while being skin friendly.
  • Two-Piece Ostomy System: This type of ostomy appliance allows for the skin barrier to remain in place while the bag itself is changed or cleaned. They allow for more flexibility and even a variety of different pouch systems that can be utilized depending upon their activity. Manufacturers such as Hollister or ConvaTec have a plethora of options available to ostimates.

While these two apparatus systems do the same thing, the decision to choose one over the other can be dependent upon the type of ostomy you have had and your current lifestyle. In order to have a successful ostomy program a key focus should be on the skin around the stoma. This is the pivotal and important area of skin that can make or break any ostomy program.


Important Items You Need

Yes, the main part of an ostomy apparatus is the bag itself, but there are some important (dare I say critical) items that will make you far more successful. In order for any ostomy program to be successful every little detail needs to be paid attention to. It is these seemingly minute details that can go a long way in determining whether or not your colostomy or ileostomy program will be successful. This requires items other than your actual apparatus bag. The marriage of your apparatus and your stoma is the most critical. In order to achieve this be sure to find the proper accessories you need. These can include:

Ostomy Pastes

In order for your apparatus or basic system to work properly, there needs to be level area for your bag system to attach to your skin. Try the Hollister Adapt Ostomy Skin Barrier Paste to create a flatter surface by filling in uneven areas around your stoma. These can help prevent leakage between your skin barrier and your skin. Another option to achieve this is the ConvaTec Stomahesive Paste. It is crucial to keep your peristomal skin as pristine as possible.


Adhesives & Removers

Achieving a tight seal around your stoma is critical to success and the use of adhesives help seal your bag opening around your stoma. Oily skin, perspiration, scars, and a poorly located stoma can all benefit from adhesives (either wafer or applicable). As part of your peristomal skin program, removing this adhesive can lead to less irritation around your stoma. These removers, such as the Hollister Adapt Medical No Sting Adhesive Remover Spray, are skin-friendly and easily remove adhesives and skin barriers quickly and gently.


Odor Eliminators

One particular side effect of wearing an ostomy appliance can be odor. This can leave ostimates self-conscious. By adding as little as five drops of odor eliminator to your apparatus pouch can eliminate foul smells for hours. The Hollister M9 Ostomy Odor Eliminator Spray or the M9 Odor Eliminator Drops easily achieve this for users. Since colostomy or ileostomy patients do not have control over the gases associated with digestion, these can allow the user to enjoy their favorite foods or socialize with friends without worrying. Regain your quality of life and confidence.


Appliance Cleaners

No, this has nothing to do with cleaning a toaster or other kitchen appliance. Some ostomy bags have resealable ends that can be cleaned and reused making them an economical choice to ostimates. These can be ideal for everyday use and are safe to use on rubber or plastic appliances. These can help avoid the use of vinegars, bleach, and even toilet bowl cleaners that can harden rubber, latex, or even plastic apparatus bags.

Ostomy Belts

These belts help keep your pouch firmly in place and prevent rolling. This can minimize skin irritation and leakage. These are often made from elastic materials and soft enough to be comfortable. These can be adjustable to fit all sizes and maintain comfort.

Skin Barriers

Acting as a sort of gasket between your apparatus pouch and your skin, skin barriers create a flatter surface and can prevent leakage. Options such as the ConvaTec Eakin Cohesive Ostomy Seal can be cut, molded, or even stacked on top of each other to improve the fit of a pouching system. Another option is the Hollister New Image Flat Cut to Fit Flextend Ostomy Skin Barrier. Some of these can incorporate filters (for odor control) or come precut to your stoma size or even allow you to trim them to the size you need. The Coloplast Ostomy Scissors can accomplish this for you easily.


Attention to details is a recipe for success no matter what you are applying it to. Your ostomy program benefits greatly from this theory. Colostomy or ileostomy accessories are the small details that can determine if an ostomy program succeeds or fails. Your doctor or ostomy nurse are a great source of information and can point you in the right direction to help you succeed. Utilize these accessories wisely and you can regain your independence and quality-of-life while knowing you have the confidence to tackle any social situation.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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