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8 Stoma Infection Signs You Shouldn't Ignore

Sailaxmi Chennuru

A stoma is a surgical opening in the abdominal wall created to eliminate body waste (feces or urine) when there is a problem with excretion through the normal route. Body waste is collected in an ostomy pouch which is attached to the stoma. Stomas are commonly created as diverting measures in managing gastrointestinal malignancies, bowel or bladder obstructions, or inflammatory bowel diseases.

The stoma and the surrounding area  (peristomal skin) remain delicate, especially after surgery, and require a special skin care regimen to keep it clean and healthy. After ostomy surgery, skin health is vital in regaining and maintaining a healthy and comfortable lifestyle and avoiding peristomal skin complications (PSCs) and stoma infections.

Infection of the stoma is one of the main worries of an ostomate. Skin infection around the stoma can happen for various reasons, so it is important to check your stoma and peristomal skin with each ostomy pouch change to identify any new issues should they arise.

How should the Peristomal Skin look?

The peristomal skin should look just like the skin on the rest of your abdomen or body. It should be smooth, clean, and dry. There should be no discoloration, redness, itchiness, or lesions of any kind. If you notice any difference in the peristomal skin, contact your doctor immediately. 

8 Stoma Infection Signs 

Changes in the stoma and the surrounding skin often indicate an issue that may require immediate treatment. Contact your surgeon or ostomy nurse if you see the following signs:

  1. Pain, discomfort, or itchiness around the stoma
  2. Swelling and redness around the stoma 
  3. Pus-like discharge from the stoma 
  4. Stoma turns from normal pink or red to dark red, purple, or black.
  5. Frequent leakage from the pouching system 
  6. Excessive bleeding from the stoma; slight bleeding is normal after you wash the stoma, which resolves quickly
  7. Blisters or warts under the skin barrier
  8. Any type of wound, scratch, or rash on the peristomal skin

Causes of Peristomal Skin Complications

  • Ostomy leakage: Using the incorrect size or type of ostomy skin barrier can result in leakage of body waste under the skin barrier. This will cause the skin to become irritated and begin to break down with repeated contact with urine or stool.
  • Contact dermatitis or allergic dermatitis: Allergic reactions with an element in the skin barrier or the adhesive on the barrier can cause rashes and infection.
  • Mechanical trauma: Common causes of peristomal skin trauma are friction or pressure. Ill-fitting appliances, abrasive cleaning, removing skin barrier improperly, and frequent appliance changes may irritate and strip the skin, causing peristomal skin problems.
  • Folliculitis: Inflammation or infection of the hair follicles near the stoma can cause tiny, red, painful bumps. 
  • Fungal infection: Fungal infections like peristomal candidiasis can begin as a red rash accompanied by itching and burning. Perspiration, leakage, and prolonged wear time of ostomy appliances are some of the potential causes of the infection.
  • Poor ostomy hygiene: Proper care and cleaning are crucial for stoma health. Improper cleaning practices can cause rash, redness, or infection.

Treatment for Stoma Infection 

If you see evidence of peristomal skin complications or stoma infection or have concerns regarding your ostomy, speak with your doctor or ostomy nurse. A qualified healthcare professional can diagnose the issue and prescribe medication if necessary.

Tips to avoid Stoma Problems 

You can avoid stoma complications by following these simple suggestions:

  • Keep your stoma and peristomal skin clean
  • Use the right ostomy supplies for your needs. Choose a well-fitted skin barrier to prevent ostomy leakage.
  • Change ostomy appliances at the right frequency 
  • Use proper skincare products
  • For sensitive and moist skin, apply stoma powder to help ease dampness and skin irritations.
  • Ensure the peristomal skin is completely dry before replacing the pouch and skin barrier.
  • Always remove the skin barrier gently and never put excessive pressure or rip or tear it off abruptly.
  • To protect against skin irritation and skin allergies due to adhesives, use barrier wipes that provide a thin barrier of film on the skin.
  • You can also use adhesive removers to gently remove the adhesive residue from the skin to help prevent skin irritation.

Ostomy Supplies to prevent Stoma Infection 

1. Hollister Adapt Ostomy Skin Barrier Paste

Used to fill in gaps or caulk unevenness around the stoma to get a more reliable seal with the ostomy wafer. This latex-free stoma paste is meant to increase the wear time of the skin barrier while protecting the skin from stoma output.

Hollister Adapt Ostomy Barrier Paste features

  • Prevents stoma output getting between skin and skin wafer. 
  • Protects the skin and extends the life of the skin barrier.
  • Improves the fit of the ostomy system by filling uneven skin contours.
  • Does not harm the stoma.
  • Comes in an easy-to-squeeze tube in two convenient sizes.
Hollister Adapt Ostomy Skin Barrier Paste



2. Coloplast SenSura Mio One Piece Maxi Cut To Fit Transparent Drainable Pouch

Fits unique body shapes and follows natural body movements during the day. This ostomy bag bends and stretches with skin while maintaining a secure fit. This drainable pouch is made of a textile material that is soft and comfortable against the skin with low friction against clothes. This is a one-piece ostomy system that improves the user’s confidence since there is absolutely no chance of the bag and flange falling apart.

Coloplast SenSura Mio One Piece Drainable Pouch features

  • Bends and stretches with the body, which provides security for everyday activities.
  • Made of stretchy textile material and looks like a piece of clothing rather than a medical device.
  • Does not irritate the skin.
  • A full-circle filter reduces pouch ballooning.
  • A discreet tone makes it virtually undetectable under clothes of any color. 
Coloplast SenSura Mio One Piece Maxi Cut To Fit Transparent Drainable Pouch



3. Medline Marathon Liquid Skin Protectant

Protects peristomal skin from moisture such as urine, feces, sweat, and other bodily fluids that can cause maceration. This liquid skin protectant reacts with the moisture and skin surface to create a strong film that stays on the skin until dead cells are shed off naturally. It bonds to the skin surface and integrates with the epidermis supporting the natural integrity of the skin.

Medline Marathon Liquid Skin Protectant features

  • Protects from moisture that can cause maceration.
  • Minimizes friction and the risk of developing skin tears.
  • Can be used on intact and damaged skin.
  • Creates a strong physical barrier against abrasive forces.
  • Protects the damaged skin from further breakdown.
  • Contains no solvents or activators.
Medline Marathon Liquid Skin Protectant



4. Hollister New Image Two-Piece Drainable Pouch

 Most suitable for colostomies and ileostomies, this drainable pouch can be changed without changing the wafer, reducing the risk of peristomal skin irritation. This ostomy bag is designed to empty waste from an opening at the bottom. The integrated Lock 'n Roll Microseal closure uses plastic interlocking fasteners to create a secure closure.

Hollister New Image Two-Piece Drainable Pouch features

  • Integrated Lock' n Roll Microseal Closure secures the drainable pouch's bottom.
  • Features AF300 filter for slow release and deodorization of gas from the bag.
  • Compatible with any New Image two-piece skin barrier with the same flange size.
  • ComfortWear pouch panels are soft on the skin
  • Belt tabs help secure the pouch in place.
  • Latex-free.
Hollister New Image Two-Piece Drainable Pouch With Lock n Roll Microseal Closure And Filter



5. Hollister New Image Flat Cut-to-Fit Ostomy Skin Barrier 

Part of a  two-piece pouching system to protect skin from irritating discharge, this long-lasting extended-wear skin barrier has a high resistance to erosion. It incorporates an integrated floating flange that allows fingers to be placed under the pouch while attaching a pouch, minimizing pressure on the abdomen.

Hollister New Image Flat Cut-to-Fit Ostomy Skin Barrier features

  • Allows the user to cut the skin barrier opening to the size and shape of the stoma.
  • The floating flange allows room for fingers underneath the flange for support while attaching the pouch to the barrier.
  • Designed to be used with any New Image closed, drainable, or urostomy pouch with the same flange size.
  • Protects the skin from contact with stoma drainage preventing skin irritation and pain.
  • Tape borders provide additional security for the attachment of the skin barrier to the skin.
Hollister New Image Flat Cut-to-Fit Flextend Ostomy Skin Barrier With Tape Border



6. Coloplast Prep Protective Skin Barrier Wipes

When applied to the skin, barrier wipes protect the skin by creating a barrier against adhesives, stoma output, and friction from daily wear. These wipes are perfect for individuals with colostomies.

Coloplast Prep Protective Wipes Features

  • Helps peristomal skin to stay healthy and 
  • Allows irritated and damaged skin to heal
  • Improves skin barrier adhesion 
  • Prevents breakdown of the epidermis 
  • Does not need to be removed between applications
  • Latex free
Coloplast Prep Protective Skin Barrier Wipes



7. Coloplast Brava Non-Sterile Ostomy Powder

Used for skincare around the stoma, this stoma powder effectively absorbs moisture and reduces skin irritation. Regular use can reduce the occurrence of peristomal skin problems. Before using the ostomy powder, clean and dry the stoma and the surrounding skin.

How to use Brava Ostomy Protective Powder?

  • Wash and dry the peristomal area.
  • Unscrew the cap and aim at the stoma.
  • Gently squeeze the bottle over and spread the powder on the stoma skin.
  • Use toilet paper, a wipe, a finger, or gauze to spread the powder evenly.
  • Dust off the excess powder before applying the ostomy barrier.
  • Close the cap tightly after use and store it in a cool, dry place.


8. Coloplast Brava Elastic Barrier Strips

Designed to secure the edges of the skin barrier and keep it securely positioned in place,  barrier strips fill uneven areas of the skin to reduce or stop leakage completely. They also absorb moisture to make the skin more comfortable and less irritated.

Coloplast Ostomy Barrier Strips Features

  • Offers greater security and longer wear time of the skin wafer.
  • Prevents leakage and barrier roll-ups
  • Absorbs moisture without irritation or breakdown of the skin
  • Elastic material follows the contours of the body, allowing freedom of movement
  • Non-irritating barrier strips are gentle on the skin
  • Latex-free 
Coloplast Brava Elastic Barrier Strips



An infection of the stoma is a serious condition. Make a note of how your peristomal skin looks when it is healthy. Once you know what healthy skin looks like, you can watch for signs of skin infection. Inspect the skin around the stoma with each pouch change. If you see any unusual signs, do not ignore them and notify your doctor or ostomy nurse immediately before the condition worsens.


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 Sailaxmi Chennuru

Sailaxmi Chennuru

Sailaxmi Chennuru, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2017. A business management graduate, the study of anatomy has always been of interest to her.

After working as a medical transcriptionist for several years, she developed a keen interest ...

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