In our last article I talked about One-Piece vs Two-Piece ostomy bags and now I would like to talk about how those two styles of systems are available in Closed (Disposable) as well as in Drainable (Reusable) varieties.
Closed ostomy bags are sealed all around the bottom and are meant to be used one time, and then discarded. They can not be cleaned out or reused. Closed ostomy bags are best used by people who have less discharge which makes them difficult for ileostomates or urostomates to use because their output is almost constant. Closed ostomy bags are very convenient when you need to change your bag in a public restroom or a friend's house. The steps involved are very quick and easy since there is no draining involved. Simply take off the bag when it is about half full, clean around your stoma, clean the landing pad, reattach a clean bag, and discard the used bag in a small trash bag and discard. There is no chance of seepage, or odors leaking from the bottom of the ostomy pouch because it is completely sealed. The problem with a closed ostomy pouch is that you can only use it once. That means you will go through more pouches, a drainable pouch can be reused for 3 to 7 days before it would have to be thrown away. It is a matter of personal preference whether the positive aspects of a closed ostomy pouch outweighs the negative.
Drainable ostomy bags are reusable and are available in two different varieties. They are made with an integrated clip, or they are made with no closure system, and you would use a separate clip to seal the ostomy bag. Coloplast EasiClose, ConvaTec InvisiClose, and Hollister Lock 'n Roll, are all major brands that have designed ostomy bags with integrated clips. Each brand works a little differently, but they are all similar in that the integrated clip is more discreet because they are less conspicuous under clothing, require very little hand strength or dexterity to seal, and would have no fear of the clip being dropped and/or lost. The negative aspect to integrated clips would be if you like to cuff the tail of your bag before you empty it into the toilet. Cuffing is when you fold the tail up on itself to make it easier to clean after the bag is emptied. Whether or not the clip is integrated or separate, you will have to drain the ostomy pouch.
The best ostomy system, whether it is One-Piece, Two-Piece, disposable, or drainable, is whatever system works best for you. Whichever system offers you the most convenience and the best results should be the system you stick with. However, if you are not totally happy with your current ostomy plan, try out some different styles and systems till you find the one that really works for you. Don't be satisfied with an okay ostomy system. The best time to try out a new ostomy product is when you are healthy and when you can be close to home, that way, if anything was to go wrong or you were not happy with the way the new bag felt or worked, you could easily change it without it disrupting your activities or causing any embarrassment.
Please feel free to let us know what system you prefer and why, or any tips you have for new ostomates!