An ostomy is a difficult procedure to get used to, and frequent pouch leakage can be a nightmare. The constant worry of checking for leaks and changing your clothes and bedding can cause a lot of stress.
What is the best way to make sure that you don’t experience the embarrassment and inconvenience of a leaking pouch? Here are a few tips to follow:
Stoma output could be solid, paste-like, or liquid, and if it comes in contact with the skin around the stoma, it could damage the skin. That is why choosing the right size and fit of the barrier is important.
7 Helpful Tips For Choosing an Ostomy Skin Barrier | HPFY
If the stoma protrudes and is not flat against the skin, using a convex skin barrier will push the skin back and bring the stoma to the surface.
There are many products available which improve the fit of an ostomy appliance, such as the ConvaTec Eakin Cohesive Ostomy Seal. Designed to protect peristomal skin and the ostomy pouch from stomal output by creating a tight seal around the stoma. It can be applied directly or shaped according to stoma size and fills in uneven skin surfaces. It doesn’t sting and is widely used for colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy surgeries.
Another option is Coloplast Brava Elastic Barrier Strips. They are applied after the skin barrier to secure the edges of the barrier. They are extremely flexible and durable.
While output is less acidic in colostomy and ileostomy, this is not the case with urostomy. This is why one type of skin barrier is unsuitable for all three procedures.
If you are looking for a barrier that stays on for a long period of time, Hollister New-Image Standard Wear Flat Cut-to-Fit Ostomy Skin Barrier is what you are looking for. Designed to be worn for over 24 hours, this skin barrier provides excellent adhesion to the skin, which increases wear time. It has an integrated floating flange that reduces the pressure on the abdomen by placing fingers under the flange during pouch attachment. It has a flexible inner membrane that can be cut according to the stoma size. This Hollister Skin Barrier is available with or without a tape border and is compatible with New-Image drainable, closed, or urostomy pouches of the same flange size.
A skin barrier should fit snugly, and to ensure this, you must regularly measure your stoma size as it changes with time. A skin barrier that suits you today might not fit you after a while, which is normal. Skin barriers are available pre-cut and cut-to-fit.
A pre-cut skin barrier is perfect for those whose stoma size has stopped changing. A cut-to-fit skin barrier is ideal for new ostomates or a stoma size that is still evolving.
Apply the skin barrier to clean, dry skin. If you have just taken a bath, come out of the swimming pool, or have been sweating, be sure to wipe your skin with a towel and let it dry. Do not use alcohol-based or oily lotion, cream, or moisturizer near the stoma - If you have hair growth in the peristomal area, shave it with a clean razor before applying the skin barrier.
If the skin around your stoma is irritated, red, or weepy, it will be difficult to apply the ostomy device. Consult with your healthcare provider about ways to reduce this irritation.
There are multiple products available to help with these symptoms, such as ostomy powders, protectants, skin barrier films, and wipes. They create a secure layer so the leakage does not harm the skin, and your device fits properly.
3M Cavilon No Sting Barrier Film forms an alcohol-free, protective coating on the skin to protect it from body fluids, adhesives, and stomal output. Despite forming a thin layer, it keeps skin flexible and does not harden to restrict movement. It is equally effective on intact or damaged skin. This barrier film is fast-drying, non-sticky, and easily removable with an adhesive remover. Its waterproof properties make it long-lasting even if there is a stomal discharge.
An ostomy belt is a great way to support a pouching system discreetly during normal or more strenuous physical activity. It takes away the fear of the pouch being visible or falling.
Many skin barriers have built-in belt tabs, which make them easy to attach to an ostomy belt. These belts connect to the pouch, wrap around the waist, and provide a comfortable and secure fit while running, walking, weight lifting, or yoga.
One of the most popular belts is the Nu-Hope Nu-Form 6 Inches Cool Comfort Elastic Ostomy Support Belt. Along with supporting the ostomy pouch and wafer, this belt protects abdominal hernia repairs, prevents recurrence, and is also used to manage prolapsed stomas. This sturdy belt features an opening reinforced with a durable plastic ring for 360 degrees of support to the pouch and the wafer. The beige coloring blends in with the skin, improving appearance, comfort, and peace of mind.
Carrying a pouch that is 3/4th or full adds excessive weight and causes the pouch to pull the barrier down, dislodging the seal. It is imperative to take regular bathroom breaks to empty or change your pouch.
Never let the bag become full. Make it a rule to empty or change it when it is 1/3rd full. Otherwise, the weight will exert excess pressure on the seal around the stoma and cause leakage.
Also, remember to empty or change your pouch before you go to bed. Be cautious when you roll over so that you do not put pressure on the pouch.
Gases from the stomal output will fill inside the pouch and cause it to balloon. Eventually, the weakest part of the pouch, the drain outlet or the barrier and the pouch connection, will break open.
To avoid this, switch to using ostomy pouches with built-in filters that allow slow release of gases and avoid bad odor. You can also consult your doctor to learn about the foods that reduce gas.
Some people have a thicker stomal output that does not drop in the bag. Instead, it accumulates at the top of the pouch or even near the stoma. This can also cause leakage.
Use a lubricating deodorant to coat the insides of your pouch so that the output slides down, and reapply it once it is empty. Consider drinking more water and other beverages to soften the stool.
A leaking ostomy pouch can be easily managed once you understand what affects the fit of your appliance. Consult with your doctor if you have issues properly attaching your system.
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Akanksha Nigam has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. With a Masters Degree in Finance, she began her Marketing career in the banking industry. However, her interest in human ...
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