Having stoma surgery can be an overwhelming and confusing time. Many people leave the hospital feeling a little underprepared and with just a few stoma bags so this post is to help you find out what stoma products are available to help you look after your new pink, crinkly friend.
TYPES OF STOMA BAGS:
Closed bags are exactly how they sound! It is a stoma bag that is closed around the bottom of the bag and are mainly used by those with a colostomy who produce a more formed stool and will change their bag once full rather than empty it. Usually between one and three times a day. They also tend to be slightly more lightweight than a drainable bag.
These bags have an opening on the bottom that allow loose stools to be funnelled down the toilet. These bags are generally used by those with an ileostomy, which produces a liquid output from the small bowel or someone who may have a high output colostomy. Most modern designed drainable bags will have a secure Velcro opening/closing mechanism, some bags may still have a clip that you attach to the bottom to secure it. These bags can be worn for several days (approximately around 3 days before changing) and just emptied when needed.
Urostomy bags have a little tap on the bottom of the bag, which allows urine to be drained for it. They also differ from colostomy or ileostomy bags as instead of a filter they have an ‘anti-reflux’ valve to stop urine from backflowing up to the stoma.
Convex bags are suitable for those who have a retracted stoma and find that wearing a flat wafer causes leaks. The convex opening moulds into the gaps and gently forces the stoma forward. A convex bag should only be worn after a consultation with a stoma nurse.
Concave bags are suitable if you have a hernia or any creases or outward areas around the stoma as the baseplate will mould to fit the shape. Again, it is best to consult with your stoma nurse before changing to this bag type to make sure it’s appropriate for you.
One-piece bags are where the baseplate (sticky disc on the back) and the bag are all all-in-one and are the most common type of stoma bag used. Once the bag becomes full you will need to change the entire bag and attached baseplate. They generally have a lower profile than two-piece bags and sit flatter to the body making them less visible under clothing.
These have a separate base plate and bag. You attach the baseplate around your stoma first and then the separate bag will either clip or stick onto the baseplate depending on which mechanism the bag uses. The advantage of these bags is that if you want to change quickly, you can just unclip the bag and attach a new one without disturbing your baseplate.
PRODUCTS TO HELP YOU LOOK AFTER YOUR PERISTOMAL SKIN:
Adhesive remover sprays
Adhesive remover sprays are a great product to use for removing the sticky baseplate with tearing or causing any soreness to your skin. There are many different types to try including fragranced sprays, which also help to mask odours.
These provide a little extra security to your bag, they come either straight or curved and you just apply them around your baseplate. These are helpful if you suffer from leaks caused by your baseplate lifting.
Stoma barrier paste
This is a paste that you apply, a bit like toothpaste around the edge of your stoma. This will help bridge any gaps between your baseplate and stoma and prevent any output from seeping under your baseplate and causing sore skin.
Stoma barrier rings
The purpose of these is the same as the barrier paste but instead of a messy to apply, it is a usually an elastic mouldable ring that wraps around your stoma.
PRODUCTS TO HELP ELIMINATE ODOURS AND REDUCE LEAKAGE
Stoma odour eliminating drops
These drops have an odour eating agent in them that gets rid of odours rather than masks the smell. Most bags have a filter in them that does this, but they may give you extra security if you’re worried about smells from your bag. There are many fragrances available to choose from.
Stoma gelling agents
These normally come in little sachets that you pour into your bag and they help to absorb little output and firm it up in the bag. These are useful if you suffer from leaks caused by your liquid output and makes it easier to empty your bag.
SUPPORT ACCESSORIES FOR YOUR STOMA
There are two types of belt, one that you attach to your two-piece stoma bag or a belt that wraps around the abdomen and contains a pocket to sit your bag in. These are great for those who need to support a hernia, can be worn for exercise or worn to help prevent a hernia from forming. You are normally allowed one of these items a year on prescription. There are different levels of support available from light to firm.
These are usually in the form of high waisted briefs/boxers with a support panel. There are different colours/designs and levels of support available from light to firm.
These are usually in the form of a vest top with a support panel in the middle. There are different colours/designs and levels of support available from light to firm.
These are like a plastic moulded cup that attaches to a stoma belt and can be placed over your stoma to protect it if you are playing a contact sport and doing an activity that could cause potential injury to your abdomen.
COMPLIMENTARY PRODUCTS YOU MAY RECEIVE WITH YOUR PRESCRIPTION APPLIANCE
As well as your prescription appliance and products from your stoma, your appliance provider may also offer you a range of complimentary items to help to manage your stoma that little bit easier. These items may include but are not limited to…
- Wet wipes
- Dry wipes
- Small refuse bags
- Bed pads
- Ostomy scissors
- Hand sanitizer
- Small mirror
Complimentary items will vary between each supplier so you will need to ask your supplier what they are able to provide.
I hope this gives you an idea as to what products are available to help support you with your stoma journey. You can see which provider offer the best choice and range of products by comparing the reviews on Healthcare Delivery Reviews.