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.