Ostomy Help

Living with an Ostomy Bag

An ostomy is an artificial opening created via surgery that’s often required when your bowel or bladder doesn’t work correctly. The surgery allows for waste to leave the body through a stoma, which is a bag that’s attached to the abdominal wall. These are either temporary actions, or permanent.

If it is a temporary procedure, usually, you’ll get a colostomy bag that collects your bodily waste through something called a stoma.  For most people, the stool is usually firm, so they give a closed pouch for this. The stoma might be liquid in form, which makes drainable pouches a more preferential option.

There are many bag care accessories you can get too, from deodorizers to skin protecting accessories, which will help make you feel more comfortable, and of course more secure.

The Lifestyle changes

The biggest thing to learn, is that there will be lifestyle changes.  These are pretty discreet bags, so you can still do a lot even after having colostomy surgery.

These usually go undetected and most don’t realize that you have one until you tell them. You should be able to wear the same clothes as you did before, since they lay flat against your abdomen. There is also an ostomy belt to help you feel more comfortable, and offer extra support. If you still feel awkward, talk to your doctor or nurse about the concerns that you have.

How about Traveling?

You can travel, but you should make sure that you do plan this. You should make sure that you eliminate the appliance charges and the supplies that you need, and pack these extra supplies, and also be aware of the food intake.  You should be careful of where seatbelts are put, since that’s usually where these bags are located.

When it comes to flying, you should have them either in your checked bag, or carry-on luggage. You should ensure that you’re prepared, and in the event the luggage gets lost, or you have concerns about it, you should check the TSA’s website for any information about assisting travelers with disabilities, or even medical conditions as well.

What about Going Back to Work

If you’re someone who took off work, going back can be rough, but depending on the recovery, it could take several months before you’re ready to return.

You may not be able to handle heavy working hours for a long time, so make sure you’re not overdoing it, and only gradually improve them, and you should inform your employer that you won’t’ be able to lift heavy or a bit, or you may need more bathroom breaks.  You don’t have to even tell the people you work with about this, it can be a personal thing for you.

Colostomy and Intimacy

Some people get a bit nervous because they think colostomy bags get in the way of sex and physical activities. But, you should try to avoid positions that place weight there. It can cause erectile dysfunction in some men, but Viagra can help with it. But, you should talk to your doctor before you choose to get it.

It can affect your self-confidence and your sex life, and it may take months to rebuild this, but, you can always talk to your partner.  Sexual activity shouldn’t affect the stoma, or loosen the pouch.  You can also get special ostomy underwear, or even a support belt, and even changing the appliance or using a small stoma cap may be the better option for you.

Living with this can be awkward, but it is possible.

Ostomy Help

Preventing Skin Irritation

For an ostomy pouch to adhere properly, the skin around the stoma should be healthy and dry. Anything less than that can result in peristomal skin problems, which may include breakdown and irritation in the skin around the stoma. These skin problems are common, but it doesn’t make them less comfortable. They can have a significant impact on the quality of life, which may lead to slow rehabilitation and overall poor ostomy management.

In this article, we will talk about the types of skin barriers, locating leakages, and cleaning the skin around the stoma. These are the most fundamental things that you need to consider to avoid peristomal skin complications.

Types of skin barriers

There are two common types of skin barriers: one-piece and two-piece systems. In a two-piece system, the pouch attaches to the skin barrier. To attach the pouch, you are going to need to snap the pouch on the lid.

In a one-piece system, the skin barrier and the pouch integrate to form a single unit, which means that if you would want to change the pouch, you are going to have to remove the skin barrier too.

Removing the skin barrier and locating leakages

To remove the skin barrier, gently press the skin away from the skin barrier. In the same instance, pull the skin barrier using your fingers of the other hand. You can locate a leak by looking at the adhesive side of the used skin barrier.

Cleaning the skin around the stoma

You don’t need any specific products to clean the skin around your stoma. All you need is plain water. The fact of the matter is that routine use of soaps and baby wipes can end up harming your skin. They leave a residue that can compromise the skin’s ability to offer adequate to the adhesive side of the skin barrier. If you must use soap, avoid soaps that contain oils and perfumes, and rinse your skin thoroughly with water after using the soap.

You can consider shaving if the skin around the stoma is hairy. Hairy skin makes the skin barrier removal quite painful. You can shave off the hair from the peristomal skin using an electric shaver instead of a safety razor. If you want to use a safety razor, make sure that you are using the razor away from the stoma. Having a cut on the stoma is the last thing you would want.

Be careful about the peristomal skin complications

Complications can occur in the peristomal skin area, and those can be quite painful. In most cases, complications arise as a result of the stomal output coming in contact with that part of the skin. More specifically, an ileostomy can result in more frequent and severer skin infections due to the presence of digestive enzymes and other corrosive materials in the stomal output. The best way to prevent all this is to make sure that you are using quality Hollister ostomy supplies and your skin barrier adheres tightly to the peristomal skin, avoiding any room for the leakage.

If you have got redness, itching, or irritation in the peristomal skin, it is best to refer to an ostomy care nurse as soon as you can.

Ostomy Help

Cleaning Your Stoma

It’s a common question to ask how you clean your body, your teeth, your skin, and even your wounds. Cleaning care is essential when you consider your health in different aspects of life, as you want to make sure no bacteria enters your system when it could’ve been avoided in the first place. In fact, that’s what cleaning is all about: avoiding bacteria.

So when it comes to your stoma, cleaning care is essential to avoid any unwanted contaminants that are coming from outside your body or from within (i.e., stool). Read on for some quick and dirty tips on doing the best you can for keeping your stoma clean when removing your Hollister ostomy supplies (or other brands!) for basic cleaning care.

The first thing to remember is that you need to consider sanitation at all times. Whether that’s before or after, wash your hands thoroughly. Don’t skip this step unless you want to compromise your own health needlessly.

Keep in mind that warm water and a washcloth is the best for cleaning your stoma, as warm water is the most comfortable while doing basic cleaning and also is gentle enough on your skin. You don’t necessarily need gauze or gloves, though if you feel that you want to, go for it. Another thing most people think is essential is using soap to clean around their stoma, but it’s not needed at all. If you do choose to use soap, make sure it’s odorless and doesn’t have any oils in it lest you develop unwanted skin problems.

Sometimes paste is a part of your pouching system, so just remember to remove it from your skin by taking a dry paper towel to it before you end up cleansing. If it’s left on your skin, don’t worry. It’s not harmful and won’t keep the new pouching system from properly adhering to your skin.

At times, blood may be present when you’re cleaning your stoma, and that’s because it has small blood vessels that may bleed at times when cleaning is happening. It’s not cause for concern, though if it doesn’t stop, you should definitely tell your doctor.

Another thing to keep in mind when removing your Hollister ostomy supplies and cleaning your stoma is that you need to be gentle and you shouldn’t use any alcohol-based cleaner at all. This will irritate your skin and is simply not needed. Just as well, don’t use any powder or cream unless you’re instructed to do so by a professional. Again, a simple washcloth and warm water is all that’s needed (as much as it may surprise you).

Last of all, make sure you dry your skin thoroughly when you’ve properly cleansed your stoma, and the new pouching system is ready to go!

Ostomy Help

How to Choose an Ostomy Bag

Choosing the right ostomy supplies can be hard, with a lot of bags varying in types, styles, and even sizes, and while it does ultimately come down to what you want, you should know the pros and cons of the types of bags.  Here, we’ll discuss how you can choose an ostomy bag that works for you.

Ostomy bags are a small, waterproof bag that collects digestive and urinary waste, and after ostomy surgery, the bodily waste will pass through the abdomen in order to fill up the ostomy pouch. These are typically outside of the body, and hidden underneath clothing. This prevents stool, gas, and urine from leaking out.

Why do I need These?

These pouches are necessary for people that suffer from bowel injuries, chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and even pelvic and abdominal cancers. The diversion of waste through this will help with treating conditions that affect the large intestine too.

This bag attaches to your stoma, and from there is designed to collect your bodily waste. Since this doesn’t have a muscle, you’ll want to have a bad, since it can’t control the release of gas and stool.

The design is really dependent on the type of ostomy that you’ve had.

The Different Types of Bags

First, you’ve got the colostomy bags, which is created from a part of your  large intestine, and is typically on the lower left side of your abdomen. This is usually form, formed stool, and that’s why people opt for a closed-end bag on this one. This can be replaced a few times a day, but the output is mostly liquid.  You may have this for a temporary measure after surgery, but if it’s more permanent, the pouch will become an artificial outlet for your bowels in the process.

You also have the urostomy bags, which is where a part of the small intestine will divert the urine from your ureters to the stoma, and from there the bladder is removed or completely bypassed.  Excretion released from this stoma is urine and is present usually on the right side of the abdomen. Since it’s in liquid form, you’ll need to pipe it out and even an overnight bag for some people.

Finally, you’ve got ileostomy bags, which is used when you have the small intestine diverted through a stoma within your abdomen. This is placed on the righthand side, and usually, this is in loose or liquid form, and this is discarded as well. Most who have these will want the drainable bags for everyday actions.

How to Choose the right one?

The best way to choose the right one is to figure out what your everyday lifestyle is, and the different types of activities. You might get a larger one that’s used during nighttime since they help avoid leakage.  If you’re worried about odors coming from this, you’ll want to use a deodorizing product.

They also have different variants, the one-piece and the two piece.  The one piece has a skin barrier and a pouch, but the wafer and the pouch are separate in the two piece ones.

Usually, one piece is a lot more discrete, and are good who participate in sports, or wear clothes that are tight fitting. The two piece is for those have sensitive skin, and they don’t need to be changed as much.  Sometimes, you might have smaller bags for some activities, but larger bags for sleeping.

Whatever you get is ultimately determined by what you want, and the different lifestyle aspects which work for you, and the type of ostomy you had as well.