A better life with an ostomy

We understand that life after ostomy surgery isn't always easy.  Here you'll find helpful information about life with an ostomy.  We can offer advice on how to keep your skin around the stoma healthy, as well as useful online tools for ensuring you still have the right product and to troubleshoot any problems you might be having.

Keeping the skin around your stoma healthy Keeping the skin around your stoma healthy Taking care of your stoma and the skin around it will ensure that you will get the best results from your ostomy pouching system. This will help you feel confident in any situation. How to keep your skin and stoma healthy
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Keeping the skin around your stoma healthy

Most people living with an ostomy experience irritated skin now and then. However, irritated skin is not normal. In order for your ostomy pouch to be comfortable and worry-free, it is important to prevent skin irritation and maintain healthy skin around your stoma.

 

The cycle of irritation

Leakage leads to contact between output from the stoma and the skin, which causes irritation. Once your skin becomes irritated, the adhesive on the pouch won't attach properly leading to more leakage and continued skin irritation. It is important to prevent leakage and keep the skin around your stoma healthy. A proper fitting pouching system and the appropriate accessories can help prevent leakage.

 

Learn more about Coloplast's ostomy accessories and request free product samples, designed to reduce leakage and care for your skin.


Six steps to healthy skin around your stoma:

  1. Make sure your skin is clean and completely dry before applying the adhesive part of the pouch
  2. Adjust the hole in the adhesive so that it fits exactly the diameter of your stoma. After surgery, it’s normal for your body shape to change. It’s important that you keep checking to see if your template is the right size and shape for your stoma. Check this by positioning your cutting template over your stoma to see if the hole fits perfectly.
  3. Regularly check the size of the stoma, especially if you have a hernia
  4. Ensure full contact between the adhesive and your skin by exerting light pressure with your hand
  5. Change your appliance as soon as you feel any itching or discomfort
  6. Make sure to use the stoma appliance and accessories most appropriate for your body profile

Choose the right type of stoma appliance that fits your body

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Coping with pouch issues, ballooning and pancaking Coping with pouch issues, ballooning and pancaking Ballooning and pancaking are tricky issues that can occur when using a ostomy pouch. But there are things you can do to prevent them from happening. Read more about these issues and how to deal with them. Read more
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Coping with pouch issues, ballooning and pancaking

Ballooning happens when there’s a build-up of gas in the ostomy pouch, making it inflate like a balloon. Pouches have charcoal filters that help handle gas by deodorizing and releasing it from the pouch. But if the filter capacity cannot handle the gas produced, or if it has become moist or blocked by output from the stoma, gas build-up can occur.

What can you do to prevent ballooning?
One of the main ways to prevent ballooning is to minimize the amount of gas your digestive system produces. Chewing food thoroughly really helps, as can avoiding food and drinks that you know make you produce a lot of gas. These could be nuts, beans, fizzy drinks or sparkling wine.

If ballooning does occur, you can release the gas from the pouch in the privacy of a bathroom, if you use an drainable pouch or use a two-piece system. Changing the pouch when needed can also help prevent ballooning. Finally, it may be worth trying another type of ostomy pouch and filter type.

Pancaking happens when there is a vacuum in the ostomy and the ostomy pouch stick together. This stops the output from dropping to the bottom of the pouch and can block the filter. There is then a risk that the pouch will be pushed off the abdomen.

What can you do to prevent pancaking?
Blowing air into the pouch before putting it on will help stop a vacuum from occurring. In addition, a drop of lubricant in the pouch will help the output to get to the bottom of the bag.

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Skin irritation around my stoma Skin irritation around my stoma Skin irritation around your stoma is usually caused by output coming in contact with the skin underneath your ostomy barrier. This can be uncomfortable and can interfere with the adhesion of your pouching system. Read more about what to do if this happens. The skin around your stoma
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Skin irritation around my stoma

The skin around your stoma should look similar to the skin on the rest of your body. Immediately after you take off the adhesive, it may be a little pink, but if this doesn’t fade or if the skin is broken or damaged, your skin may be irritated.

What should I do? 

  • Remove the adhesive and check the back. Is there any sign of feces or urine that could have caused the irritation?
  • Is there any irritation or damage around your stoma that corresponds to what you see on the adhesive?
  • How well does your pouch fit around your stoma? Is your skin exposed to the output from the stoma due to poor fitting? Assess the diameter and shape of your stoma to see if your template has the right size and shape. Use the release liner from the pouch as a guide and if needed, adjust the hole in the adhesive so that it exactly fits the diameter and shape.
  • What is the position of your stoma opening in relation to the surface of your skin? Is it above the skin surface, level with the skin surface or below the skin surface? If the stoma is level with or below the skin surface, or if it is situated in a deep fold, you may need a different type of pouch or accessories for your body profile. Try the Coloplast BodyCheck tool to check fit.
  • Has the adhesive eroded? If so, the pouch may have needed to be changed earlier. Try more frequent changes or consider an erosion-resistant adhesive and/or a moldable ring for extra protection, if you’re not already using one.

If your skin irritation is caused by other reasons, consult your stoma care nurse or doctor.

Choose the right type of ostomy pouching system that fits your body.

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Questions about life with an ostomy? We can help.

Questions about our products or living with a stoma? Please provide the following information and a Coloplast product specialist will contact you and advise on product samples.

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