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Odor Management with an Ostomy

Laura Cox, LPC
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.


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.


  • 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!


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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Recent OstomyLife


  1. 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. 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 .

  3. Help!!! I was diagnosed with rectal cancer on Nov 9, 2018. I had a colostomy done on Nov. 20, a port put in on Nov 23, and started chemo on Dec 6. Of all the stuff, the colostomy is the worst. I can’t seem to get used to it. I feel it’s ruining my quality of life. I can seem like to manage the smell, the pouches, everything. The smell is the worst. What can I do? I just found out about the Tic Tac trick. Can someone please advise me? My husband tries so hard to help, bless his heart. But he has no idea how to help.

    1. Hi Ginny! Thank you for your comment. Most of our main suggestions for odor are in the article you commented on. We asked our Ostomy Product Manager if they had anything else they could suggest and he mentioned pouches with filters. This question comes up pretty often in our OstomyLife Facebook community. Here are discussions for odor management from this past January, November, and October, each with several comments and suggestions. We hope at least one suggestion in there is helpful to you. Please let us know if you have any other questions, and please know that it can take some time to get used to managing an ostomy, but many people succeed and it becomes second nature. Best of luck! -Aimee, Shield HealthCare

  4. Hi Ginny. I’m also a rectal cancer patient with illeostomy undergoing 2nd line chemo and the extra feeling of nausea and frequent vomiting from the smell certainly doesn’t help. Fortunately I’ve found a crude (which may not be suitable for you) but foolproof way out for dealing with the smell which is by wearing a half piece respirator mask which totally blocks out the smell. Yes, it totally blocks out the smell and no holding your breath/running away from the toilet after you’re done to get away from the smell.
    The mask and filters spec I used is this (https://s.lazada.com.my/s.uQpR). Use the mask and filter spec and find it on Amazon or your local hardware store. Hope this helps.

  5. Ok, so I’ve had My ileostomy for 3 years now. Today
    Is the first time I’ve delt with a horrible smell when
    emptying my pouch. It literally just happened! Is this
    Normal? I mean the smell is like rotten cabbage but
    times that by 100. I’m in my own home by myself, afraid
    Someone will stop by. I just need to know if having a
    Smell this bad is normal?
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi, Mary. Thank you for your question. We asked the OstomyLife community on Facebook what they would recommend. Fellow ostomates advised that it is normal to have smells like that from your pouch and it could be from what you have eaten or new/recently changed medication. If you cannot figure out what is causing the smell it may be a good idea to contact your doctor just to be sure. They also suggested using a deodorizing spray when you empty or change your pouch. To see the rest of the comments follow this link: OstomyLife
      I hope this helps and wish you the best!
      -Sarah at Shield HealthCare

  6. I’ve had an ostomy with an ileo conduit (kidney transplant patient) and the absolute best way to eliminate odor and also to fight bacterial growth is 2000 mg per day VITAMIN “C”. Easy, cheap, no diet restrictions, no meds. Prior to using Vitamin C I would develop e-coli or other bacterial infections and my urine would always look cloudy. Also, I haven’t had a cold in years since using 2000 mg per day. TRUST ME.

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