You will learn your own ‘stoma personality’ and slowly you will figure out which products you like and dislike. I am one of those lucky few who have to use every product they make just to make my bag last 1 day leak free. My advice to those who are just dealing with having an ostomy put in, be brave and be strong. It is more than likely you will get upset from time to time as it gets frustrating when for THIRD time you are cleaning your stoma and cutting sticking a brand new bag, applying paste to a ring, using the skin protector spray, drying properly all because your stoma JUST WONT STOP FOR ONE SECOND! :@
But just KEEP ON! Bag changes WILL become easier and it WILL become second nature. I’ve had to do many in the most awkward of places, just before modelling job in a Booths (the Northern Waitrose) disabled toilets, or the time I was on a surf holiday in Devon and I had to change it in my car in the middle of a wheat field, it didn’t go well.
Below are a few tips just to take note as you develop and hopefully perfect your technique;
Products- with the guidance of your stoma nurse, try LOTS of them and eventually you will find the best for your ostomy.
(Other brands are available)
Time- The best time for a bag change I think is before bed. Have a shower, use Adhesive Remover Spray to minimise the pain, ease the bag off, reduce skin damage too. Make sure you DRY PROPERLY. Try not to use toilet paper as it leaves residue on your skin, fluffy bits etc. If you use the protective spray make sure this is DRY TOO.
Heat- Your body’s warmth is the best adhesive for this product, the warmer the appliance is the better it sticks, this is why it’s also a good idea to shower so your skin is extra warm. I also use my hair dryer, especially if I manage to get water on my mouldable ring or bag just as I’m about to fix it to my body, it will dry off and you can go ahead and stick it!
Paste! I have to use lots. My Stoma is high and right next to my now deformed belly button so I have to pack the gap with paste and I need it for extra adhesive. It’s good to use if your stoma isn’t stuck out very much.
The benefits of an alcohol base is that it lasts. I won’t have to change it for at least 2 days but it is harsh on your skin. After 2 applications my skin can be bleeding and sore to the touch. Then changing using the paste again, it’s like squeezing lemon on a sore!
When it gets like this I use the Paste with NO ALCOHOL. It’s a nice paste, good for damaged skin however for me it will only last a day, it’s not very sturdy if your output is generally loose!
Lying down, stood or sat- I would not recommend lying down to change, if you have a small stoma it sinks inwards not allowing it to stick properly, think about how much your skin moves and stretches. Sat on the toilet, side of the bath or stood you might find is best. Get one of these things ->
for storing your products, put it in your bathroom near where you sit to change. Makes everything a lot easier for you.
And remember if there is any change in your stoma, the colour, smell, swelling, excessive bleeding ( a few drops is normal) you MUST get in touch with your stoma nurse or doctor.
Please add your own Tricks & Tips in the ‘Leave a comment’ link at the top!