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Odor Management With an Ostomy

Laura Cox
Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
04/19/15  9:00 PM PST
Odor Management with an Ostomy

Odor management with an ostomy  pouch seems to be a concern in the forefront of many people’s minds. My first year at university was when I became aware of just how potent the odor was when emptying my ostomy pouch. I was living with three roommates at the time, and realized about a week after I moved into the dorm that the bathroom mysteriously became filled with candles and a scented plug in.

I was embarrassed and decided I needed to figure out a way to manage odor when emptying my ostomy pouch. After a lot of research and trial and error I found solutions that worked for me to mask or eliminate the smell.

Diet

I found that certain foods caused worse smelling stool and gas than others. The foods that are known to cause odor are:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Baked beans

This does not mean that you should avoid these foods altogether if you enjoy them. If you do decide to eat odor-causing foods, you can take precautionary measures such as using odor eliminating products.

Products             

  • Odor Eliminating (Deodorizer) Drops– These scentless drops are put right into your drainable ostomy bag after you empty. It is also useful to put the drops in when you are applying a new pouching system. I usually put in 5-8 drops each time I empty my ostomy pouch. This is a quick and easy way to eliminate odor!
  • Odor Eliminator Spray– This deodorizing spray is similar to the deodorizer drops, except you spray it in the air. A few pumps after a bowel movement will successfully eliminate smelly odors.
  • Air Freshener– Unlike the eliminating products, air fresheners bought at local stores mask the odor instead of eliminating it, but mini air fresheners are great to carry around just in case you don’t have your drops or spray with you.
  • Tic Tacs– Like air freshener, Tic Tacs mask odor. Some people with ostomies put one or two Tic Tacs in the bottom of their drainable bags. The mint covers a bit of the smell.
  • Poo-Pourri– Poo-Pourri is newer on the market and is an interesting concept. You spray the product into the toilet before you go to the bathroom. An oily film forms on the top of the water and traps odor-causing particles under the water, which leaves the bathroom smelling clean.

Odor can seem like a big, embarrassing problem with an ostomy, but by limiting odor-producing foods and using products to eliminate or mask smell, odor can be more manageable!

Sources:

UMPC’s Ostomy Nutrition Guide

Poo-Pourri’s Website

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

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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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5 Comments

  1. Jane walker
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 6:49 am PST

    I have had an ileostomy for 63 years. For the last 25 or 30 years I have been taking Devrom. For me, two tablets with breakfast, and two with dinner and there is no door when emptying my pouch. Nothing to take with me, no worry wherever I have to empty.

  2. Posted June 8, 2016 at 11:42 am PST

    I’ve heard Devrom tablets work well! I always just like to make sure that people ask their physicians before adding anything new to their repertoire!

  3. Samantha Silveira
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 11:10 am PST

    Thank you. Red meat is an odor issue for me. I had to cut.down on it. Good information.

  4. Josie
    Posted May 28, 2017 at 6:42 am PST

    I have had an ileo stomy for 17 Years and recently completed a whole 30 which eliminates grains, sugar, alcohol , legumes, soy—- leaving whole.fruits and veggies and lots of protein —- my effluent changed within 24 hours and during this 30 day ostomy output had NO odor even when eating the foods on your list such as eggs onions —- NO ODOR —- upon reitroduction the offensive foods were sugar and gluten.and non gluten grains .

  5. Robert Wilson
    Posted November 21, 2017 at 2:02 pm PST

    I wish everyone woul refer to their POUCH not there bag. Pouch sounds so much better than BAG.

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