Ostomy oopses-yuk! Why for ostomates only? If you don’t need this information, you may want to skip over this blog because it is on the TMI side and a bit gross. When a ostomy has an oops, it isn’t pretty! I wasn’t sure about posting it, but a quick Google search showed I am not the only one experiencing issues, so I decided to go ahead and share in hopes of helping someone or getting some tips myself.
I remember when the ileostomy surgery was explained to me. I was told I was would have an ostomy bag. I would just have to attach it, clip it properly, and all would be well. You know, I could jump in the swimming pool, go rock climbing, ride my horse off into the sunset. Since the surgery was a life-saving one for me, I accepted this pretty readily. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t remember any discussion of the things that can go wrong. It didn’t seem like any big deal. It didn’t even sound like it would change my lifestyle, except for a few minutes here and there for care.
I read somewhere that if your ostomy bag is properly “attached” and clipped no odor or “output,” as my medical care providers so delicately refer to the bag contents would leak. In reality, I am sure that becomes true for long-term ostomates as they learn the little tricks that help keep things in order. But, in the meantime, that quick Google search shows there are a lot of us that struggle, at least at first.
In this post, I plan to share a bit about what I have tried, what I plan to try, and what I have found on the net. The products I have used can all be found on Amazon and linked to from this page. I hope it helps somebody, and if you have tips of your own to share, I hope that you will share them below.
First, the obvious: Pay attention. Watch out for conditions that may cause problems and try to figure what caused any leak you experience so you can correct the situation. I monitor my bag and dressing often. I check to be sure the seal is firm and there are no signs of leakage. I double-check my clip and I am careful not to disturb it when I change positions since I had it slide open on me once. My supplies say to change the bag every 3 to 5 days. I noticed I rarely have problems on days 1 and 2, they usually start on day 3. So, I plan to change every other day. Just simple things like that.
Talk to your physician, surgeon, wound nurse, somebody that knows about this stuff and works with it all the time. I was having trouble with output that was so watery it was going right through the clip. When I had surgery, the surgeon said to use Metamucil to thicken the output and Imodium to get less output. The Metamucil was not working. He said to try the Imodium and that helped a lot. Such a simple solution! I was very glad that I asked.
I also have trouble with “blow-outs” along the side of the flange. I don’t recall this ever happening to me on day 1 or day 2. Perhaps there is something different about my skin and the adhesive just doesn’t hold quite as long as expected? I’m not sure, but will continue to change on day 2 from now on. This usually happens when something crimps the bag and the output can’t flow down to the bottom. It’s helpful to watch your sitting position and make sure that your clothes aren’t too tight over the stoma. I think the latest may have been caused by my seat belt resting below the stoma, so I will watch that next time I drive.
I have ordered this ostomy pouch cover. I am hoping that it will make the pouch a little more comfortable to wear, help absorb any little bit of moisture left after bathing and drying, and muffle some of my intestinal noises. I’ll update this post and let you know how I like it.
I definitely felt that there was an odor to my ostomy bag, especially after the first day of use. I use deodorant drops and I really like this product. It takes care of any smell and is easy to use. One somewhat silly thing, it has a cap that has a nozzle to squirt the deodorant into the bag, but the recommended “dose” is one cap full. Kind of hard to measure while the cap is still on the bottle.
I was using the cheapest one piece ostomy bag that I could find. Since I have had some issues and I wanted to try a pre-cut version, I am trying a different one. Once again, I ‘ll swing back and let you know how it works out.
UPDATE: I am very happy with this product. It has a wider “tail” for emptying. It is much easier to clean after emptying due to the design of the pouch and tail. The tail folds over twice and is fastened with Velcro. You can then tuck it up into a pocket if you like. I really don’t miss a clip banging against my leg and I felt really strange stuffing that thing down my pants leg! Due to the design of the closure, it is not possible to have the leaking problem I had with the cheaper bag. This system also does a better job containing the odor. Not quite perfect, but much better. The adhesive system seems stronger, it is reinforced with a plastic ring. The stoma hole is a perfect fit at 1″- no more cutting! I am happy, happy, happy, that I made the change! It is worth the extra money for the increased comfort and confidence.
Here are some other websites that you may find helpful:
I like that this one is for nurses, always good to have a medical point of view. Check this article if you are having severe issues: http://allnurses.com/wound-ostomy-continence/leaking-ileostomy-any-145898.html
This one is full of great tips: http://www.ostomyguide.com/managing-ostomy-accidents-leaks-sleeping-odors-blowouts/
A personal story of how one ostomate solved her leakage problem: http://ostomyoutdoors.com/2012/10/30/ring-around-the-stoma-my-best-defense-against-leaks/
Disclaimer 1: I am not a medical professional. You should always follow the advice of your medical professional regarding any medical condition.
Disclaimer 2: This page contains affiliate product links.