An ostomy is a hole that is surgically created on the abdomen that allows urine or stool to pass through. This hole is known as a stoma and may be needed due to medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, certain types of cancer, or internal obstructions. Some ostomies are temporary, while others are permanent.
An ostomy bag is attached to your stoma and collects urine or stool that your body produces throughout the day and night. There are many different pouching systems available. You can try different styles until you find the best one for your body and lifestyle.
Your ostomy bag should be removed and replaced with a new one every 3-5 days, thought this can vary person to person. Leaving your pouch on too long can cause leaks and skin irritation.
Ostomy supplies are items that collect output from the stoma, prevent leaks, and keep the skin in healthy condition. There are many different types of ostomy pouches and wafers available. You may want to try different styles to figure out which ostomy system is best for you. You also have the option of using ostomy accessories like barrier rings and various skin care items. Although these products are optional, they can make living with an ostomy easier and more convenient.
Ostomy pouches are available in 1-piece and 2-piece styles. A 1-piece ostomy system means that the ostomy wafer and pouch are connected and cannot be detached from one another. If you want to change your bag, you will need to throw away the whole appliance and attach a new bag. A benefit to 1-piece pouches is that there is no worry about your ostomy wafer and the bag coming apart. They are also lower profile as compared to a 2-piece pouch, which can make it less noticeable under clothing.
A 2-piece ostomy system means that the wafer and ostomy pouch are separate and you must attach them to one another. If you choose to use a 2-piece ostomy bag, you are going to purchase your ostomy wafers and ostomy bags separately. You need to be sure that your wafer and pouch are compatible with one another. Hollister uses a color-coding system to ensure compatibility, which makes it easier to pick the correct supplies. If you have an ileostomy, a 2-piece system may be more ideal since you will have to change your bag more frequently. This way, you will only have to replace the bag rather than removing the wafer from your body every time your pouch becomes full.
You will also need to decide whether you want to use a drainable ostomy pouch or a closed-end pouch. Drainable pouches have an opening at the bottom that allows you to empty output from the bottom of the bag when it becomes full. This allows you to wear one pouch for 3 to 7 days before having to discard it. Drainable pouches can be less convenient to use. Closed ostomy bags cannot be emptied and instead must be thrown away when they become halfway full. Once the used pouch is discarded, a new pouch will need to be applied to your body. These disposable pouches tend to be more convenient to use, especially if you need to replace your bag in a public restroom. However, you will go through bags more quickly.
An ostomy bag is one of two parts that make up an ostomy system. The other component is an ostomy barrier, which is the piece that connects the ostomy bag to your body. An ostomy barrier is also referred to as a wafer, baseplate, or flange. Much like ostomy bags, wafers are available in several different styles, such as pre-cut, cut-to-fit, and moldable. A pre-cut ostomy wafer has a hole already cut out of it that fits around your stoma. If you have a round stoma that fits within a size we carry, a pre-cut barrier is a great option since it doesn't require additional cutting. If you have an irregular shaped stoma or are in between sizes, a cut-to-fit style may be better suited for you. It allows you to cut your own hole in any shape and size that you need. Similarly, moldable wafers allow for a custom fit. This type of wafer has a soft, flexible material built into the flange itself. This material can be molded directly around your stoma, helping prevent leaks and skin irritation.
Express Medical Supply carries a wide variety of ostomy accessories that are used in conjunction with your ostomy pouch. Although all of these products are not required, many ostomates find them helpful. Some ostomy accessories include barrier rings, stoma caps, and lubricating deodorant. Barrier rings are placed underneath your ostomy wafer to help fill in any gaps between your body and the flange. These rings are made from a flexible, stretchy material that expand when they come into contact with moisture. This prevents output from touching your stomal skin, which can cause irritation. When you need a more discreet solution to your regular ostomy bag, a stoma cap is a great option. These are very small closed ostomy bags that are ideal for use while swimming, exercising, and during intimacy. Stoma caps are made for short-term use and should not be worn in place of your regular ostomy bag. No matter what type of bag you use, most ostomates are concerned with potential odor from their bag. One way to combat this is by using a ostomy deodorant. These are liquid drops that you put into your pouch before applying it to your body. Not only do these drops prevent odor, but they also lubricate the inside of the pouch to help output flow to the bottom. If output remains at the top near your stoma, it can create irritation. All of these ostomy accessories are great to keep on hand so you're ready whenever you need them.