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How to Keep Your Ostomy Bag from Ballooning

How to Keep Your Ostomy Bag from Ballooning
Kevin Cleary

Key Takeaways: 

  • Gas buildup can be a common occurrence in ostomy apparatuses used in a colostomy or an ileostomy. 
  • A gas blowout can cause your bag to detach from your stoma causing an embarrassing moment or mess. 
  • Your diet can be your best defense against ballooning in your ostomy bag or pouch. 
  • Often an apparatus pouch with an incorporated filter can help dissipate the buildup of digestive gas in your ostomy system. 
  • There are many ostomy bag options with filters at HPFY that can help dissipate the buildup of gas in your pouch. 


Our digestive systems produce gas as a byproduct of eating and digesting food. This can be a bit of a problem for those with an ileostomy or ostomy. Ostomates can choose from either a one-piece or two-piece pouching system depending on their lifestyle and personal preference. Both of these types of systems can incorporate a charcoal filter to allow this gas/wind to be released. 

What Is Ballooning? 

As we produce gas during digestion, we need to pass this gas/wind. For ostomates this is typically through their pouching system filters. When these filters get wet or blocked by stoma output there can be a backup of gas/wind. As you can imagine this can lead to ballooning in the ostomy pouch. How do you keep your ostomy bag from ballooning? Learning what causes ballooning can go a long way in how to deal with this issue as well as help you maintain your confidence. Pouching systems that incorporate charcoal filters can still experience ballooning if excessive amounts of gas are produced. Unfortunately, this is a frequent problem that ostomates need to manage, cope with, and accept. 

How to Prevent Ballooning 

Excessive gas building up gradually in your pouching system can make it seem like you’re wearing a balloon under your clothing. This excessive gas buildup can because by: 

  • Swallowing air 
  • Smoking/chewing tobacco 
  • Drinking carbonated beverages 
  • Eating rapidly 
  • Not chewing properly and swallowing large chunks of food 

Our diet can be the biggest culprit in producing excessive gas passing into an ostomate’s pouching system. We should try to avoid certain foods that can lead to producing more gas/wind. Some of these gas producing foods include: 

  • Cabbage 
  • Beans 
  • Onions/garlic 
  • Asparagus 

How to Manage Ostomy Ballooning 

With ballooning a frequent problem, what’s the best way to keep an ostomy bag from ballooning and causing a blowout? Dealing with ballooning in your ostomy apparatus system can be a multifaceted approach to ensure proper results. Some steps you can take are: 

  • Prevent your filter from getting wet during activities such as swimming by using a filter cover. 
  • If you use pouching systems that can be drained, open them periodically to release any gas buildup, also known as “burping.” 
  • Change your pouch more often if stoma output regularly blocks the charcoal filter built into the pouching system. 
  • Utilize a bag vent. These are a small valve with a “door” that you can allow gas to escape from. These do not prevent odors from escaping so they should be used with a deodorizer or a biologic odor reducing spray

Yes, gas buildup or ballooning is a common occurrence that ostomates need to accept and manage. If you have difficulty managing this condition at home, be sure to consult your doctor or ostomy nurse for assistance. Visit HPFY and view our extensive ostomy supply inventory to help prevent ballooning. 

Products That Can Help!


When to Seek Medical Treatment 

Living with an ostomy can be a delicate balance of maintaining a lifestyle and doing what’s right for your sensitive peristomal skin. While most treatments can be handled at home when you experience issues with your ostomy, there are times you should seek medical attention. These include: 

  • Excessive bleeding around the stoma 
  • No stool output for 4-6 hours 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 



Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed 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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