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Helpful Tips For Everyday Stoma Care

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
11/08/11  8:56 AM PST
Tips for Stoma Care

Tips for Stoma Care

  • Change your ostomy pouch on a routine basis, before it leaks. You will get more comfortable with this after you learn what works best for you.
  • Twice a week changes are considered usual. Seven days is generally recommended as the maximum length of time you should wear a single skin barrier.
  • If your wear time becomes erratic or unpredictable, consult your ostomy nurse.
  • Pouch wear time may decrease during warmer seasons when you are perspiring more or during times of increased activity. This is normal, so anticipate and plan appropriately.
  • When traveling, plan ahead. Some suggestions include: take extra ostomy supplies, pack your ostomy products in your carry-on bag when flying, pre-cut your cut-to-fit skin barriers so you don’t need to carry a scissors on the plane and obtain a travel ID which explains your need for specific medical supplies when traveling.
  • You can shower or bathe with your pouch on. If you use a two-piece pouching system keep your pouch on during the shower. Some find it convenient to switch to a different pouch for the shower so that the pouch you wear stays dry.
  • When emptying your pouch it is not necessary to rinse it out. A lubricating pouch deodorant may make emptying easier.
  • Do not put oils or cooking sprays in your ostomy pouch.
  • Store your unused ostomy supplies in a cool, dry place.

Pouching Tips

  • Prepare your new pouching system before you remove your used pouch.
  • Empty your pouch when 1/3 to 1/2 full of discharge or gas. Do not let the pouch overfill.
  • Empty your pouch before activities and before bedtime.
  • If you notice that you have a lot of gas in your pouch (colostomy or ileostomy) you may want to consider a pouch with a built-in filter.
  • The best time for a routine pouching system change is in the morning when the stoma is less active and before you have had anything to eat or drink.
  • After you apply your skin barrier, press it gently against your skin for about 30-60 seconds. Gentle pressure and warmth help with the initial contact.
  •  If you wear a two-piece pouching system, try placing the skin barrier on your body in a diamond shape for a smoother fit.

Skin Care Tips

  • For most people, water is sufficient for cleaning the skin. Remember to wash your hands after changing or emptying your pouch.
  • If soap is needed, use a mild soap without lotions or creams that may leave a residue or film on your skin. This can interfere with the adhesive.
  • Skin prepping wipes used under extended wear skin barriers may decrease your wear time.
  • If you use an adhesive remover wipe, wash your skin with soap and water. Rinse and dry thoroughly before applying your next skin barrier.
  • Things NOT recommended for routine skin care around your stoma include:
    • soap with lotion
    • creams
    • lotions
    • powders
    • baby wipes
    • isopropyl alcohol
    • steroidal medications or ointments.
  • No skin irritation is “normal.” If you discover you have red, broken or irritated skin, seek the assistance of a qualified healthcare professional like a Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (WOCN).

For more information, see pouch related articles and ostomy resources here:

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Serving Medicare Ostomates Nationwide
My 89-year-old mother loves to swim but she has found that the pouch fills with water when she gets into the pool. What can we do to fix this?
Cathy
We recently had someone reach out to our Facebook community with a similar question, and several of our OstomyLife community members responded with their own advice.
 
Hopefully you and your mother will find their answers helpful ...


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