Ostomy Pancaking | Ask Laura

Laura Cox, LPC
Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
04/21/17  12:25 PM PST
Ostomy Pancaking

Hi Laura, I’m 84 years old and have had a colostomy for three years. For the past few months, I’ve found my stool has been pasty and sticky. This makes it difficult to empty and clean my ostomy bag.  Please tell me what to do to prevent ostomy “pancaking” from sticky stool. I took Benefiber® but it didn’t work. Please tell me any foods or medications that can improve my situation. Thank you!


Hi Troy,

Sorry to hear about your recent issue. The first thing I would suggest is to make sure you’re drinking enough fluids throughout the day. Drinking fluids will help make stool less sticky. Another product that can really help with cleaning the pouch is a lubricating deodorant (there are many different products available, but here is an example). Lubricating deodorant helps stool fall to the bottom of the pouch and makes emptying and cleaning the pouch much easier.

Our OstomyLife Co-Moderator, Kelsey, has written an article about pancaking that you may find helpful as well — she herself is a colostomate.

Please let me know if you have any other questions!

I hope you’re happy and healthy!


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

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My family and I are taking a road trip. I wanted to know what accessories should be used when starting to drive or ride in a car. Should I use something to cover the stoma?
Great question! It all depends on if the seat belt is coming in contact with your stoma.
If the seat belt does not come in contact with your stoma, no additional accessories are needed. If the seat belt does come in contact, you can use a stoma guard or a seat belt cover to protect the stoma

Recent OstomyLife


  1. After reading your suggestions for pan caking, have tried all of that, no results.. Also, my stomach is very very low.. Have tried about 6 different pouches… Any suggestions?? HELP PLEASE

    1. Hello Ada. Thanks for your comment. Well, if our tips aren’t working, let’s turn to one of our favorite ostomate friends, Vegan Ostomy! He has a great video and a thorough post about pancaking. We hope you can find some tips that work for you! Please let us know if you have any other questions. Thanks and good luck! -Aimee, Shield HealthCare

  2. What do you see best results when the stoma powder and the wipes do not get rid of the redness? I don’t mind getting prescription. I have used NY stop, it helps a little but not entirely. I’ve used cream from my doctor, is there anything new?

    1. Hi there. Thank you for your comment. While trying new products can sometimes help with redness, the best idea would be to identify the cause of the redness. If your skin is raw from your appliance leaking, then you have to address that issues first. If you haven’t notices any leaks, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for the redness, you may have become allergic to your pouching system (this happens all the time, where people can be wearing a pouching system for years without a problem, but skin pH changes over time and suddenly the skin becomes irritated by products that used to be fine). You can find more information in our article about Peristomal Skin Complications, which lists different issues and techniques and products to solve them. Best of luck! -Aimee, Shield HealthCare

  3. During a hospital stay several years ago one of the floor nurses showed me a technique he learned in a nursing home to assist with emptying a colostomy pouch. I started using it after I got home and haven’t had a problem with pancaking or partial cleaning since. The technique is to add a small amount of water to the open end of the pouch. Work the water into the stool and it loosens up every time. It only takes about 1/8 cup for a normal load. Don’t use too much since the glue for holding the pouch to you skin is water reactive.

  4. I’ve been using Hollister adapt or Coloplast lubricant. I was on disibility so they were getting costly because I pay out of pocket every month. Would you know of any other lubricant that is less expensive or if I could use a few drops of baby oil in my bag?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Lori. Thanks for your comment. We have heard of people using all sorts of things to lubricate their bag, from baby oil to cooking oil. The problem with these items is that they can sometimes cause the seal on the bag to erode faster than it would without lubricate/with a lubricate that is for this purpose. Here are two less expensive lubricants that our Ostomy Product Manager suggested: Securi-T’s Lubricating Gel Deodorant and Safe n Simple’s Assure C Lubricating Deodorant. Please let us know if you have any other questions, and best of luck! -Aimee, Shield HealthCare

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