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Key Ostomy Products You Should Know About

Laura Cox
Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
07/12/19  9:21 AM PST
skin barrier

Key Ostomy Products You Should Know About

Ostomy product technology has improved significantly in the last decade, and there is an ever-expanding range of brands and ostomy products to choose from. Of course, so much choice can be overwhelming. To help you narrow down your options, here is a general overview of key product types to help you understand the uses for different ostomy products.

Skin Barriers

Barrier or Wafers are part of the pouching system that directly goes on your skin and has a pouch attached. Generally, a barrier is composed of a hydrocolloid material. The ingredients in are optimal for ostomy care because they are water-resistant; absorb discharge; protect the skin from irritating output; and are gentle and flexible yet stick to the skin for long periods of time. When warmed to body temperature, the material in the wafer softens and flows onto the skin to create a tight seal. Manufacturers offer many different types of barriers to suit your individual needs. Here are some highlights:

  • Cut-to-fit wafer – This wafer comes with measurements on the backing that allow you to measure and cut the wafer opening to your exact stoma size. This is useful for people who have oblong stomas or stomas continue to change sizes (generally the first 8 weeks after surgery).
  • Precut wafer – This wafer already comes with a hole cut out for your stoma. If your stoma is round and is close enough to one of the precut measurements, this is an easy way to skip a step during your ostomy changes.
  • Flat – Flat wafers are meant to be used on flat abdomens. They are also useful when your stoma protrudes from your skin and the “os” (the opening in your stoma), or lumen, is not near the skin.
  • Convex – Convex wafers are best for people who have recessed stomas, extra skin around the stoma, or have an os close to their skin. A convex wafer helps to gently push your stoma further from your skin to create a more successful seal.
  • Standard Wear – Standard wear barriers are recommended for people who have thicker output. These types of barriers are appropriate for some end ileostomies or colostomies.
  • Long/Extended Wear – Long wear or extended wear barriers are recommended for people who have thinner output, such as people with active ileostomies and urostomies.
  • Tape lined – Some wafers come with tape along the edges of the hydrocolloid wafer. This tape is not there as a seal; it is used to stabilize the skin around the wafer. Inhibiting large skin movements around the stoma can generally increase wear-time.

Pouches

A pouch is a containment device for the ostomy output. Like barriers, there are many types of pouches available. Here are some configurations:

  • One-Piece System – An ostomy pouching system where the pouch is attached to the skin barrier. Generally, a one-piece system is more flexible than a two-piece system and they are more low-profile. Available in closed end or drainable.
  • Two-Piece System – An ostomy system containing a barrier and a separate pouch that’s available in closed end or drainable.
  • Closed End – Designed for one-time use, and it is removed and discarded when about 1/3 – 1/2 full. Not recommended for people with a urostomy or ileostomy.
  • Drainable – A pouch that opens at the bottom to allow the contents to be drained, usually when 1/3 full. Can be rinsed and reused, if necessary.
  • Closure options – There are several different types of systems to close pouches, including:
    • Clamp closure
    • Integrated closure with Velcro
    • Integrated closure with an interlocking end
    • Paper-wrapped wire (similar to a twist tie on a bread bag)

Accessories

  • Stoma Powder – Stoma Powder is used to absorb moisture from the skin. This is important because ostomy wafers adhere to the skin best when it is clean and dry. Apply the stoma powder to any weeping skin, and brush off the excess powder to only allow it to stick to the parts of the skin it is meant to. Bonus: Pair with barrier wipes to crust over damaged skin. HERE we wrote an in depth article about crusting.
  • Antifungal Powder – You may have heard that people with stomas can develop fungal infections underneath their ostomy barriers. This is fairly common and is caused by a wet and warm environment. Generally fungal infections are itchy and can appear as little red bumps on the skin. Apply antifungal powder to the irritated areas and brush off any excess powder.
  • Deodorant Drops – Ostomy deodorant neutralizes odors in ostomy pouches. Adding a few drops of deodorant to the ostomy pouch assists in eliminating odor from stoma output when you empty. You can add drops every time you empty your pouch to continually have odor-free output.
  • Lubricating Deodorant – Similar to deodorant drops, lubricating deodorant eliminates odor from stoma output. As a bonus, the lubricating deodorant coats the inside of the ostomy pouch and makes emptying any sticky output much easier.
  • Ostomy Belt – An ostomy belt hooks to your wafer and helps to bring the wafer tighter to your abdomen. This is helpful if you want added security while you are exercising or being active. Make sure that the belt is comfortable and not too tight.
  • Adhesive Remover – Adhesive remover can come in the form of a spray or a towelette. In either form, this handy product helps ensure a pain-free removal of the ostomy when it is time to change your pouching system. Adhesive remover helps keep the skin healthy and trauma-free.
  • Paste – Contrary to the name, paste is not an adhesive. It is a semi-solid substance that’s used to fill or caulk uneven skin contours near the stoma to create a flatter surface. Patients with liquid output often use past on top of the skin barrier around the stoma for an increased seal.
  • Barrier Strips/Rings – A bendable, stretchable, sting-free alternative to paste. Use to fill in or caulk uneven skin contours. Strips and rings come with a putty-like consistency and are malleable. You can also break off pieces of strips or rings to fill any divots in your skin to allow your pouching system to sit more flatly on your abdomen. People with chronic leakage and fitting problems may find it beneficial to use these accessories.
  • Skin Barrier Wipes – Barrier wipes form a protective “second” skin that helps protect the skin from output. These wipes deposit a thin wet film that dries as a clear protective layer over the skin. Pair this product with stoma powder to “crust.” This product is fantastic for protecting further damage to skin. It is not needed if skin is healthy.

Seeing this list of products for the first time may be overwhelming, but rest assured that over time and through exploration and collaboration with your WOCN, you will find the right ostomy products and care regimen that works for you! This is a general guide that may not be all inclusive. Please consult with your doctor or WOCN before trying new products.

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Dear Laura, I wear a two piece ostomy bag. I need help with concealing an ostomy bag. When I move around my shirt hikes up and the tip of the bag peeks out from under my shirt.
Tom
Hi Tom, I have a few suggestions that may help!
 
First, I'm wondering if a stealth belt would be a good option for you. This is a black belt that you can conveniently tuck your pouch...


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