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When Your Stoma Makes Noise

OstomyLife Co-Moderator
05/01/19  9:40 AM PST
When Your Stoma Makes Noise

I love my stoma, it is the reason I am able to get up every morning and live my life, but gas noise may be my biggest complaint. If only I could shut this thing up!

In my article about leaks, I opened with: “If there is one thing that makes many people hate their ostomy, it’s leaking.” Well, gas noise is also right up there, at least for me. Noise is one of my biggest sources of anxiety – especially when in meetings, or when I was in school (as if exams aren’t nerve-wracking enough!). In these settings it seems everyone notices even the smallest of noise.

I wish I could give you all a solid solution to stoma gas noise, but the truth is that this is my biggest ostomy battle day in and day out, and I have not cracked the code. Whether I am at work, dinner, or with friends, I am on high alert for stoma noises. The exception is when I am alone or in noisy settings (outdoor festivals are great for this!).

But gas is a part of life for everyone, ostomy or not! However, since acquiring my ostomy, I have developed a few helpful techniques to quiet things down the best I can:

Thick clothing/ layers. I find that a big, baggy sweatshirt, a winter jacket, or even wearing an undershirt can help reduce noise. I also sometimes put my hands in a sweatshirt pocket or jacket pockets and push against my stoma when I feel gas coming to muffle it even more (see below). This helps me probably 70% of the time, but we all know that when your stoma wants to be heard, it will yell through any amount of clothing!

Muffling the sound with your hand. As noted with the sweatshirt pocket, you can put your hand over your stoma when you feel gas coming. I do this often, however sometimes it doesn’t work perfectly. Without a sweatshirt or a pocket to put my hand in, people may wonder why my hand is on my stomach and awkwardly pushing into it. This draws attention to my ostomy, which is likely about to balloon up with gas until the filter can remove it. Also, if I put my hand over my ostomy, and then it is too loud to be muffled this way, I have just made things more obvious! But I’ll take the risk — most of the time placing my hand over my ostomy muffles things enough.

Diet. Avoiding gassy foods can reduce noise by not making you so gassy in the first place. Beans, cheese, cucumbers, milk, whole wheat breads… all gassy, and all a large part of my diet (check out our article Nutrition and Your Ostomy for more information about foods to avoid). For those of you who want to know the types of foods that tend to not cause much gas, try things like meat, fish, eggs, and some fruits and vegetables (if you can eat them) like lettuce, tomatoes, cantaloupe, and grapes. These are foods that are suggested as less likely to produce gas, but your results will vary. I recommend using a food diary to help you figure out what foods are more gas producing for your body. For more information on reducing gas overall, see my article on ballooning.

If any of you have any further tips, I would love to hear them! Please comment below!

Happy Ostomy-ing!

Serving Medicare Ostomates Nationwide
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...


Comments

1 Comment

  1. Susan
    Posted May 7, 2019 at 12:54 pm PDT

    Well I am a mortgage loan officer and most days are spent one on one interviews. Of course gas happens, and without warning or suspect! I simply just say, I apologize for my Ostomy, she just will not be quiet so I named her ‍♀️ Sassy, we all laugh and move on with business! I’ve tried all the things you’ve tried. But the worst is during Church Hey but I’m alive!

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