Ostomy Products: Finding What Works Best For You

OstomyLife Co-Moderator
10/17/18  12:00 PM PST

Ostomy Products: Finding What Works Best For You

Heading into surgery I didn’t have many worries. I went into surgery eager to get to the other side because I was desperate to feel better. I was so focused on the surgery and outcome, I didn’t even consider what ostomy pouching system to wear.

After Surgery

I woke up with your standard two-piece system with a clear, drainable pouch and a flat skin barrier. Once I was home, this system started to leak. My ostomy nurse helped me find new products. She set me up with a convex wafer because my stoma was not sticking out very far, and the stool was pushing directly behind the wafer. The skin around my stoma was sore, so it would also help with that. Convex wafers are helpful for these two issues because they put pressure on the abdomen around the stoma directing the stoma and the stool out and into the pouch.

I was also concerned about having to cut my wafers every time I changed my skin barrier. Thankfully, the nurse told me I could order wafers with precut holes, and I was able to change to precut wafers a few weeks after my surgery. While the stoma changes in size in the first few months for many people, the precut wafers I was originally received still work for me now.

My New System

My nurse also set me up with opaque, disposable, and closed pouches. This prevented from seeing what was inside and I could just throw it away instead of emptying it when it was full. These things were music to my ears. I suddenly felt confident with my ostomy. I remember that night showing my boyfriend (now fiancé) my new getup, I was so excited!

Since finding the system that works for me, I have not had to try much else. With these changes, my leaks have stopped. I have had just two leaks in three years since finding these products, and that was because of a bad batch of wafers and a sweaty exercise routine.

Today, I wear a Hollister convex wafer and a closed opaque bag. I also have mini bags, but I mostly only wear them when swimming.  Also, I love the charcoal filter! When I swim, I don’t put a sticker over the filter, I just wear the bags like normal and then get a new bag after swimming since they’re disposable.  I also have some small square stoma cap pouch and but those filters do allow water into the pouch. I mostly just wear them when I’m sun tanning.

In addition to the two-piece ostomy system, some accessories I have used:

  • Conforming Seal – At first, I used this but now I just use a barrier wipe and paste.
  • Powder – Recently I stopped using powder, as I did not have any open skin areas to necessitate its use and it was undermining my seal.
  • Adhesive Remover – In the beginning I used an adhesive remover that was helpful while getting used to removing my pouch. But I don’t need it anymore because my bag comes off easily and painlessly now. I also didn’t like having to wash it all off before putting on a new wafer and was always afraid that I would miss some.

When it comes to changing my ostomy system, I plan my bag changes around showers. I take my wafer off, take a shower without it, and put a new one on after. I find that this much easier than having to clean everything with gauze. After I shower I just make sure the area is dry and then I slap on a new wafer and pouch.

All of the above products and techniques work great for me, but I still make changes when I need to. Just because these work for me, it doesn’t mean they will work for you and your ostomy—it is all unique to your situation. If you have any concerns with your current pouching system or pouch changing technique, talk to your CWOCN (Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse).

Find more articles and videos about ostomy products:

Serving Medicare Ostomates Nationwide
How can I keep my ostomy pouch dry while showering?
Karen H.
It’s not necessary to keep your pouch dry while showering if you have a waterproof barrier.
But, if having a wet system bothers you ...

Recent OstomyLife


  1. I am 4 months in with my ostomy I have constipation and my appliance is two peice Hollister with convect ring I’ve also tryed the o ring paste nuthing be is working g it leaks and is constantly raw with cuts around stoma and close to it I e teyed everything I go through at least 3 a day of my appliances any suggestions would be greatly appreciated if you feel like this is the worst thing I have ever had to deal with

    1. Hi Charlene. Thank you for your comment. I spoke with our Ostomy Product Manager about the issues you are experiencing. There are two issues here, as I’m sure you know. You need to stop the leaks and fix the peristomal skin. Our product manager recommended switching from a regular wafer paired with a convex ring to a convex wafer with Ceraplus. Hollister makes these. He recommends that because sometimes the rings are more rigid than the wafers and that can allow for leaks. Additionally, we can recommend one of our recorded webinars with Joy Hooper, who is an ostomy nurse. She talks about getting a better seal at this point in the video: https://youtu.be/IKuFCfXDqX0?t=1822 and here is where she talks about crusting, which is a technique you can use to help your skin heal once you get the leaks under control: https://youtu.be/IKuFCfXDqX0?t=682 Our product manager also mentioned that looking into barrier film might help with a better seal, along with barrier tape. I posted your comment on our Facebook page, and I can see that you’ve already seen the responses and responded to them! So glad our community is able to help. Please let us know if you have any other questions. We hope Joy’s webinar has some useful tips for you. Best of luck! -Aimee, Shield HealthCare

  2. I just found this site in researching how to better deal with my skin problems. I am 3 weeks post-surgery and still trying to find the correct product mix for my ileostomy. Thank you for a great resource. I came away with some great tips that I hope will lead to healthy peristomal skin soon.

  3. A friend sent me this website. So much good information.
    My surgery was on March 24th and I’m still learning.
    Taking a car trip end of May with my husband. Nervous.

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